WE SPOKE WITH CLAIRE FROM SIXTEEN92 ABOUT THE BRAND’S EARLY BEGINNINGS, INSPIRATIONS, AND SUCCESSES.
Tell us about your brand’s backstory
I launched Sixteen92 in 2014 after a decade in advertising where a majority of my clients were luxury fashion and retail brands. While that was fun and I worked with some pretty cool clients, I didn’t find myself particularly fulfilled on a creative level. Way back, many years ago, I experimented with candle making and very nearly launched a candle line in the early 2000s. Over the years, when I felt creatively blocked, I would pick up my candle supplies and tinker with fragrance as a sort of cathartic release of creative energy. Sixteen92 in its extremely early incarnation was originally meant to be a line of home fragrances and candles, but somewhere along the way I realized that the types of fragrances I wanted to create were more complex than anything that would easily lend itself to home fragrance and wax (especially at a reasonable production cost and price point). So, I started experimenting with fragrance, independent of medium, and suddenly found myself with a collection of really weird fragrances, several of which eventually became the original general catalogue.
What is your brand best known for?
If I had to guess, I’d say conceptual atmospheric fragrances. These are also my favorites to create, so I might be biased there 🙂
What inspires you?
This is always difficult to answer! It changes with the seasons. On a broader level, most of my inspiration comes from history, literature/folklore and music, but I’ve found inspiration in all kinds of places and memories – Eternal Return from 2015 was inspired by my grandmother’s garden, and Only Children Weep from Summer 2018 smells like my childhood Summers.
What are your 3 favourite products that you’ve created, and why?
Another tough one to answer, because I have favorites from each collection. The fragrances I find myself wearing most often are Bruise Violet, Black Tourmaline and probably Hellebore…or maybe Supercell. I’m also quite fond of The Bottling Room from Summer 2018 – I spent more than two years thinking about that one, and waffling back and forth on whether I wanted to finish and release it, and it’s one of my personal favorites.
What are your 3 best sellers?
This is largely seasonal and cyclical. Overall, Bruise Violet is probably the top seller, and the others are dependent on the season. From the current general catalogue, New Radio, Paper Moon, and Mercy Lewis are popular in the warmer months, and Baba Yaga, Cotton Mather, and Last Exit For The Lost are usually quite popular in cooler weather.
Favourite part of your job?
Planning upcoming seasonal releases is probably my favorite part – researching, brainstorming, writing preliminary fragrance briefs, and watching a cohesive theme come together is always a fun challenge.
How do you want you/your brand to be remembered?
I guess it would have to be as a brand that never stopped evolving and trying new things. On a personal level, that’s harder. I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave back as much as possible, and didn’t compromise or take the easy path.
AND NOW, THE FUN BITS…
What was your dream job growing up?
I was all over the place. One recurring theme that started when I was very young was some sort of amalgamation of fashion designer and journalist; I used to write, illustrate, and lay out weird little magazines. When I was old enough to operate a camera the illustrations switched to photographs and I would dress my poor friends/neighbors/stuffed animals up in weird outfits and make fashion moodboards. This was pre-internet, but I was basically a weird 10 year-old fashion blogger. It was weird.
If you could time travel, would you go to the past or future?
If it was only as an observer and I couldn’t interact and cause a butterfly effect I would definitely choose past. There’s so much history I’d want to experience. The future is scary.
Would you rather fight one horse-size duck, or 100 duck-size horses?
I’m low key terrified of birds, and ducks and geese are extra mean and will bite you (Summer 1988 never forget), so I’d probably pick the duck-sized horses. I could maybe have a chance of running away from them, or at least let my dogs have fun chasing them around the yard as a distraction while I escaped.