At Blend Custom Parfum Studio in Buckhead, residents can meet with Susan Sexton, its owner and master blending artist, to make their own perfume.
“I am custom, so my concept is individual men, women and teens would come in to design their own fragrance with me, pretty much like a celebrity would design their own fragrance,” she said. “Individual sessions start at $200 and that includes a one-hour session about the mysterious art of fragrance. Then they would take [home] a 50 ml bottle.”
Sexton said she also sells vintage bottles and ready-to-wear fragrances for $50 and up. Refills for the custom perfumes are $125 and can be extended to an entire line of fragrances such as men’s aftershave. She decided to start the business in 2002 while traveling in the south of France, in Grasse.
“One of the things that is really interesting about it is scent is primal, so it has the ability to transport someone to a different place and time,” said Sexton, who started the business in 2006 in Virginia-Highland. “We use that as a key in designing someone’s fragrance, as well as their overall style and fashion scene. It’s a system I import from the oldest perfumery in France [which started] in 1747. There’s not any places in the United States where you can do this. I’m one of the only ones representing this company. … I have 137 different essences that I import from France.”
Also in Buckhead, bakery Darden’s Delights sells pies in two sizes: six inches, costing $10 to $11, and nine inches, costing $20 to $22, and gives back to the community. Each one is packaged with a flyer showing Darden Glass, owners David and Betsy Glass’ 8-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome. Based on revenues each year, the company donates a percentage of sales to nonprofits aiding those with developmental disabilities, and it has increased in recent years. It has given $8,000 since it opened in 2009, David Glass said.
“Our daughter Darden attended Peachtree Presbyterian [Church’s] preschool through the Adaptive Learning Center, which partners with area preschools for children,” Betsy Glass said. “It started with a bake sale and fundraiser for the school. I just made four or six of the fudge pies and put Darden’s picture on it and [called it] Darden’s Desserts and put a cute bow on it. People raved about it and my husband thought, ‘We might have something here.’ We thought we would have a for-profit [business] model but give back a portion of the money to charity.”
The Glasses, who have another daughter, Anna, 6, are happy to pay it forward.
“Having a child with a disability, you’re introduced to a whole new world. … Everything in the disability world is extremely expensive, and we just thought it would be nice to start a business with the face of disability on it,” Betsy Glass said. “It would bring awareness but also give back to organizations that help those with disabilities. When you think of disability, you think of nonprofits, fundraisers, whatnot, but we wanted to give a different take and see if private enterprise would work.”
At Foot Solutions in Sandy Springs, residents can buy specialized shoes, socks and gift certificates of any price. The store is giving those who buy a $100 gift certificate an extra $25.
“As Christmas gifts it’s mostly gift certificates, socks, house shoes, athletic shoes,” said Marsha Riggs, who co-owns the business with her husband Mike and their son Brian. “It’s such a personalized service and we do custom fitting that usually people come in for themselves. But it’s the accessories kind of thing.”
The store prides itself on the customer’s experience.
“We are really unique and the people who come to us say that all the time,” Marsha Riggs said. “It’s a fun experience and the customer service is unparalleled. We spend every amount of effort to make people feel comfortable but also make sure they feel they have comfortable shoes. People think of us as ugly shoes but if they haven’t been in here in the last year, they haven’t seen anything. We help people. I hear that all the time, whether it’s getting people to exercise again or finding them comfortable shoes they can work in.”
o Blend Custom Parfum Studio: 2971 N. Fulton Drive, Buckhead; (404) 202-5503, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.blendcustomparfum.com
o Darden’s Delights: 241 W. Wieuca Road, Suite 100, Buckhead; (404) 973-8760 or www.dardensdelights.com
o Foot Solutions: 6307B Roswell Road, Sandy Springs; (404) 252-8001 or www.footsolutions.com/sandysprings