When Nile and I sojourned to Portland last summer, we biked around to a bunch of great shops, but none so sweet (and sweet smelling!) as Nationale. May Barruel, the proprietress there, was kind enough to show us through everything and tell us about all the artists involved with the space, which runs partly as a gallery and partly as a shop, with a particular focus on local work. It was all super inspiring.
The one item in there that neither Nile nor I could imagine leaving without was a very special perfume called Nationale 6/7 that May developed along with Heather Sielaff of OLO Fragrance. Now, though Nile and I often dress, speak, and think identically, scent is a place we have historically diverged. She is almost exclusively a straight Vanilla gal, with a special occasion alternative smelling of cupcake batter that is called, I think, Third Birthday. I on the other hand, contrary to expectation, dig the really girly and citrusy stuff. Ylang Ylang, that stuff. But sitting right there on the counter of Nationale was a perfume we both could wholeheartedly embrace. Lemon, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, musk, ahhh…..
When we brought our little bottles home to San Francisco, we found to our mild surprise that this Nationale 6/7 was also embraced by our Third, Lisa. Which means, of course, that it was perfect for the shop. But how to have a Nationale exclusive item in our place? Well, we took our conundrum to May, who generously proposed a shop swap wherein she would sell a couple of our favorite products, and in exchange, we could carry Nationale 6/7. Bingo!
So off to Nationale went our beloved gold Mimi wallets and Nile’s record Be Yourelf, and to our entire community came a new era of olfactory middle school wherein me, you, and everyone we know all smell exactly the same. We all smell off OLO!
Many thanks to May and Heather for making this fortuitous swap happen!