SCRANTON — Abington Heights graduate Danielle Fleming, 38, of Dunmore, is on mission to change the world – one fragrance at a time.
And as the founder and CEO of Note Fragrances, she is earning a reputation for doing just that.
Fleming recently received some national recognition as an expert in fragrance and perfumery, when she was interviewed for an article on the topic, published June 6 in the Cosmopolitan magazine, and another, published May 25 in Elle Magazine.
Science of smell
Fleming, who has a BA in psychology at Moravian College and two master’s degrees from Marywood University (one in mental health counselling and the other in education and instructional leadership), has been studying the psychology of scent since grad school. She believes a person’s sense of smell has the ability to change his or her entire day.
“If I could make change in the world, it would be to really have people engage in their sense of smell more,” she said, adding people often go through their days simply breathing, without paying attention to the smells around them.
In a world driven by technology and instant gratification, she said engaging in one’s sense of smell helps “connect you more to who you are as a person. It makes you more present in your day.”
“If you just take a moment to step back and smell, it brings you back to the present moment,” she said. “And I think that’s good for your soul. I think we need that.”
Not only do smells bring a person back to the present, they also connect to memories of the past. Fleming explained the sense of smell is connected with the limbic system in the brain, which controls memory and emotion. This is why one person might interpret or react to a given scent in an entirely different way than someone else, who has different life experiences connected to that particular smell.
Dollars and scents
She first began to research the topic during her counselling internship at The University of Scranton.
“I saw that the students I was seeing as a therapist needed something in addition to talk therapy that wasn’t medication,” she said. “So I was looking for an alternative type of therapy and I wasn’t sure what that was. Was it journaling, was it yoga, was it meditation? And I came across research articles talking about the powerful effects of aroma and how different aromas can enhance or change our moods and behaviors.”
She began creating her own scented products, and soon found herself facing a major life decision: Should she continue down the path to becoming a psychologist, or turn down the road to entrepreneurship?
It was her fascination for the world of aromas that eventually won out.
She opened her first shop, Danielle and Company, in 2004 on State Street in Clarks Summit, moving the business to Scranton in 2008. Then at the end of November 2013, she opened Note Fragrances at 401 Spruce St., Scranton. She said while she lost a lot of customers in the move from the Abingtons to Scranton, she was excited to see how the business took off in the city/metropolitan area.
“In the future, you may see a Note Fragrances in Clarks Summit,” she said. “That is on the radar.”
The Scranton business is unique from her previous shops, in that its focus is on the psychology of scent. Its unique draw is the custom perfume studio, which she said allows customers to create their own fragrances based on “what speaks to them.”
When he or she comes in, each person is seated at a “fragrance organ,” which is a collection of small bottles of scents from various color-coded “scent families.” He or she then dips test strips into the bottles, smelling and combining the scents until arriving at a combination of three to seven total, which the staff then combines into the desired final product.
Reservations aren’t necessary, but recommended, as the process takes an average of 45 minutes.
The business also offers private parties after hours for events such as bridal parties and birthdays. It even hosts Girl Scouts, who come in to earn their chemistry badges.
Fleming said the best aspect of working with her customers is seeing their reactions to the final product they are able to craft for themselves.
“It’s a pure sense of happiness and joy to see,” she said. “That makes it all worth it.”