The moment you walk into Wendy Nichol’s Soho studio, you’re met with an enticing blend of warmth, creativity, and a bit of mystery. Every aspect of the space is a manifestation of Nichol herself, whose sophisticated spin on goth has given her a cult following since she launched her namesake label nearly a decade ago. “Over the years, people would comment on the smell and feel of this space and urge me to bottle it so that I could send people home with that specific feeling,” she explains of her decision to finally launch a fragrance.
Nichol spent a year working with experts in the industry to perfectly capture the unique scent of her studio—some aspects more specific and some abstract. “We had meetings where I’d bring visuals and aroma therapy that I was drawn to. It was all very organic,” she says of the process. “I’d bring a thistle, eucalyptus, and my copy of the Witches Almanac. To me, it was kind of like a spell. It was about formulating what happens in my space.” She describes the resulting unisex fragrance as,”sexy, strange, and timeless.”
Below, she invites us into her world and reveals how she extracted certain elements to create her newly launched debut fragrance, Potion No. 1 Eau De Parfum.
“I am very inspired by the Victorian period. Everything was constructed by hand using what was available, so there was a lot of improvising. I love to see how things are made. Since we aren’t a factory but more of an art studio, where everything is made in-house, the way that we put things together is reminiscent of the Victorian era. We don’t work with a factory—this is it. It requires a keen eye and ability. Everything here has a soul to it in a way.”
“I call this studio the Church of Leather. We worship leather here. I don’t know what it is that draws me to it as a material—it often feels like a connection from a past life. It’s a material that I am good at manipulating, and in terms of putting it together by hand, it’s an interesting sculptural material to work with. It’s always unique and beautiful.”
“The whole witch vibe I’m drawn to has to do with making magic. Witches are often depicted as a little bit negative or evil, but I think that they’re interesting and powerful female figures that have been repressed in history by the patriarchy. I love the idea of making magic and using intuition to drive yourself into the future. It’s not a hat and a broomstick—it’s about being in control and being yourself.”
“All these elements lead to the fragrance itself. The top notes are eucalyptus and thyme, and they really give a sense of freshness. In the middle, there’s pepper, which give it masculinity and spiciness, and the base note is sandalwood and leather. There’s also a cannabis vibe throughout. I feel like my studio always has this subtle weed smell, which I feel like is true of a lot of old buildings in the city.”
“I love New York and think about it all the time. I get so much inspiration here, even just from the people on the street. New York is so badass and so rich. I know it’s changed a lot, but it’s still here. It’s a petri dish of interesting people, music, and art. It’s modern day Rome. I just hope we can maintain it.”