Today we’d like to introduce you to Lacey Walker.
Lacey, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As the owner of Frenchy’s Beauty Parlor (one of Magnolia Park’s businesses), I spent a lot of my day around different products aimed at beauty and personal care, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what products I wanted to offer my clients.
The problem was, nobody was offering the kinds of fragrances and scents that I was excited about. I felt the market was over-saturated with sweet, cloying kinds of products that didn’t have a strong identity.
As the saying goes, if you want a job right, do it yourself. I had bought the salon (after working as a stylist at that salon for several years) to follow my entrepreneurial spirit, and I was really excited by the idea of starting a second business that would provide another outlet for my creativity. I started small, by formulating some non-traditional, earthier kinds of aromas and selling them out of the salon. After I got a lot of positive feedback about the scents, I really sat down and thought things through. What kind of brand would I get excited by? What of my life could I put into a fragrance line?
Inspiration came pretty quickly! I always had a very big fondness for the Victorian period. I was greatly influenced by how close their culture was to the idea of death and mourning—not in a hokey or nihilistic way, but in how they were respectful of the process of dying, and how their death-related keepsakes and mementos came out of sincere love for others and the pain of loss. Their aesthetic was completely sincere and absolutely unique.
I’ve also always been naturally intuitive and interested in the supernatural, which made it a good fit for the brand I wanted to build. The Victorian séance to me was really a convergence of their intellectual curiosity and their desire to fearlessly seek out new knowledge and experience in unexpected places, so I try to honor that in crafting every fragrance as a way to connect people to a different time and mood. I think that resonates with people.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think the most important thing I would want to tell people is how much hard work goes into this business. Starting a second enterprise doesn’t mean going into autopilot in business number one: you need to deliver the same standard of quality and service and presence people are used to seeing from you (and frankly, they deserve), then go home at the end of the day and wear every hat it takes to do job number two.
Some of that can be fun, like experimenting with different essential oils and binding agents like it’s a big chemistry set. Other days, it’s a lot of shipping, printing and applying labels, and triple-checking to make sure everyone’s order goes out right. Especially in the beginning, I think it’s hard for self-financed businesses to find the funds to hire additional help, so there’s a lot of hours that go into the necessary labor of making inventory, ordering supplies, and getting the product in the customer’s hands.
Seance’s origins also coincide with something very special: the birth of my daughter, Meadow. (Both she and the business are three years old!) When I was pregnant, then later nursing a newborn and getting only a few hours of sleep a day, and then doing whatever I could to nurture the inquisitiveness and natural wonder of a two-year-old, it would have been easy just to put the project on hold. There were several times that I felt strained as a wife, mother, and human being. I firmly believe that nobody is successful alone: it takes a village to raise a child and to provide the support for any woman starting her own business.
In a larger sense, I wanted Meadow to see from a very early age what a hard-working, successful woman looked like—to have that be a foundation for her entire life as the kind of potential that will always be inside of her. If you want something, you push, you put in the work to find renewed faith in yourself and your ability to succeed, and you see things through from the big projects to the little ones. We are strong enough to persevere at our dreams and see them unfold!
Please tell us about Seance or Seance Perfumes.
I wanted to make sure that Seance did business in a way that would allow me to hold my head high. Even as a relatively small perfumery and boutique, I make sure that all of what we sell is vegan-friendly. I have always been bothered by the amount of harsh chemicals and laboratory-created scents, and our product line reflects that concern. In all of our perfumes, we only use coconut oils, essential oils, and US made high-quality fragrance oils. Our candles are made from natural soy wax. There’s nothing you won’t recognize when you read our labels and nothing that you’d feel weird about putting on your skin.
I also try to go the extra mile for our customers and to get new people excited about what we do. I’m constantly answering emails, providing recommendations, going to awesome events like the Oddities flea market, and promoting Seance through Instagram. (On that subject, I think Instagram especially is a wonderful tool for female entrepreneurs.)
In general, I always scale and grow in a way that feels cohesive and natural to my principles and the feel of what we’re all about. With every scent, we try to tell a new story and surprise people. Our success is almost entirely through word of mouth, which is a great thing! Being able to scale a business due to enthusiasm and positive feedback is a gift I never take for granted.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think working through the pain points of the first few months. I remember working into the late hours of the night and feeling exhausted after boxing the last order but thinking, “I’m doing this. This is actually a business, and I did it, and people like this!” I’m proud that I trusted myself, my idea of what people wanted to see in the market, and my ideas of what kinds of moods and visuals I think would make for a cool brand. Fighting self-doubt is no small battle, but here we are. I’m proud Seance exists.
Voyage LA readers have a special discount code: voyage15. This code can be used once per new customer for 15% off as our way of saying thank you for being interested in our story and our product line!
- Fragrance oils – $22
- Room and body Sprays – $29
- Body lotion oils – $32
- Website: www.seanceperfumes.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @seanceperfumes
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seanceperfumes
Photos by: Roses and Rue antiques, Scientific Woman, and Mysterious Planchette