New fragrances are typically carefully managed, big-budget affairs. But 32-year-old Jessica Dunne has created old-fashioned hit perfumes with old-fashioned determination and hard work, the New York Times reports. A smart call to an iconic New York perfume shop, $100,000 of her savings, and a little help from friends helped Dunne corner a nostalgic niche market with Ellie, a scent inspired by her grandmother.
“A brand is always a story well told,” one perfume exec says, and the scrappy story behind Dunne’s scent has helped sell hundreds of the $180 bottles. With Ellie a minor hit, Dunne has introduced offshoot Ellie Nuit, and now devotes herself full-time to her perfume. “I had made it as a personal project, and now it is out there in the world,” she says.