in conversation – with Frances Shoemack
25 April 2021
We chat with our founder and mother Frances Shoemack about simultaneously nurturing a business and young family. Founded in Amsterdam and now based in Wellington, New Zealand, Abel Odor is on a mission to create the world’s best 100% natural perfume without compromising on ethics or aesthetics.
They say never pick a favourite child, does the same go for your perfumes? if so what’s your favourite scent?
FS: While I can honestly say I do not have a favourite child, I can’t make the same claim with our scents!
I love, am proud of, and enjoy wearing our whole collection, but scent is so personal and there’s really something truly special about finding your soulmate scent…Green Cedar is mine – it makes my heart sing in a way not much else does.
Abel was your first baby, how do you juggle building a business and motherhood?
FS: I think you have to let go of work-life division and just make sure that work and life can coexist in harmony. One of the most gratifying things as a mother is seeing how proud my children are of my business! My youngest son Arthur wants to be a perfumer (a plant-potions-maker as he calls it), and my eldest son Rufus wants to “make movies that tell people about Abel, and the environment”! Having a healthy business to hand over to them one day should they want it, is a pretty awesome thing to aim for and a mission I don’t take lightly.
What lessons did you learn by being a mother that can be applied to building your business and vice versa?
FS: So many. I firmly believe being a Mother (father, guardian…) makes you a better business person too. The ability to roll with the punches, let go of control where necessary, think long term, pick your battles, keep perspective… the parallels are endless.
Where do you see Abel in the next 5 years?
FS: We have some very exciting plans for the next phase in Abel’s life, plans that include our product, our people and our place. Plans I’m very excited about sharing in due course. Do I know exactly where we will be in 5 years time? Absolutely not, but I really take heart in knowing that the heart of what we do will not change. We have had a very clear mission for a decade now, and while our plans are constantly evolving, the mission has stayed steadfast. We are a plant-derived fragrance house, fixated on a better future and everything we do must pay homage to that.