Biz Buzz: Nature in a Bottle
Maison Fleurette brings garden-sourced scents to Montana Avenue
By Stephanie Case
Ever since she opened her store on Montana Avenue last week, herbalist Shalimar Luciano hears the same phrase from pedestrians who stop in: “I had to follow my nose.”
Through the open door of Maison Fleurette (French for “house of little flower”) wafts scents of lemon peel, mint leaves and rose petals. Inside, bright white shelves are lined with lotions, potpourris, linen sprays and bath scrubs — some packed with coffee and cardamom, others with orange peel or lavender.
“I love when you can capture the scent of nature and put it in a crème, or a hair product, or a face mist,” Luciano says. “It’s fascinating to me.”
Luciano has been capturing nature in a bottle for decades. Before opening Maison Fleurette, she spent 20 years operating a natural boutique in Montecito and most recently owned Shalimar Apothecary of Scent in West Hollywood.
Maison Fleurette is Luciano’s first venture exclusively selling her own botanical brand, which is sourced almost entirely from her home garden, then whipped up at her Beverly Hills apothecary. There, she boils roses, extracts herbs with different solvents, and crafts candles from beeswax and essential oils.
As the daughter of a landscape architect and an avid gardener living in New Jersey — the Garden State, no less — Luciano spent her childhood immersed in plants.
“I understood there was a healing value to flowers,” she says — that certain blooms could relax, refresh and nourish the body.
Later, as a California mother, she made botanical remedies for her four daughters, wary of store-bought items that boasted the same natural benefits.
“I’ve watched the trend through the years, how people have jumped on the bandwagon of ‘natural,’” Luciano says. “It can mean almost anything.”
In the past, manufacturing companies pushed for Luciano to inject chemical scents into her products, but she held strong to her natural roots.
“It’s absolutely the antithesis of anything I create,” Luciano says. “You can make anything smell good with fragrance molecules, but those are chemicals. If I have a fragrance — rose or bergamot or mint or cinnamon — it was extracted from the plant itself.”
Only a select few of Luciano’s ingredients come from outside of her garden — most notably her rose oil, which she buys straight from the world-famous Bulgarian Rose Valley.
Despite the European infusion, Maison Fleurette’s core is unquestionably homegrown. Luciano’s four daughters all aid the growing business. Her grandchildren lend a hand too, watering plants and plucking tiny jasmine petals from her backyard, all with the same youthful enthusiasm Luciano had as a Garden State girl.
“It’s a family business in every sense of the word,” she says.
Maison Fleurette opened on June 26 and at 912 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Call (424) 325-8456 or visit maisonfleurette.com.
Compiled by Max Rothschild
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Thursday, July 7: The Venice Chamber of Commerce hosts a Chamber Happy Hour from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Alexis Bittar showroom, 1612 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. $5 suggested donation. (310) 452-6901; venicechamber.net
Tuesday, July 12: The Venice Chamber hosts a Venice Tech, Media and Entertainment Mixer from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Venice Whaler, 10 Washington Blvd., Venice. $5 suggested donation. (310) 822-5425; venicechamber.net
Wednesday, July 13: Grant Redmond of New York Life discusses strategies for managing the financial aspects of a career transition following a brief networking gathering at the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce office, 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.; email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com
Thursday, July 14: The Venice Chamber’s Young Professionals are holding a mixer for members and prospective members from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Hal’s Bar and Grill, 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Free. (310) 822-5425; venicechamber.net
Thursday, July 14: LifeStyle, a women’s networking and business development forum of the LAX Coastal Chamber, hosts a mixer with local hospitality professionals discussing local recreational opportunities and staycation ideas. $5, or free for chamber members. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com
Wednesday, July 20: The LAX Coastal Chamber’s Marina Affairs Committee discusses issues that are relevant to water- and land-side projects, from 8 to 9 a.m. at Fantasea Yachts, 4215 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. $5, or free for members. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com
Thursday, July 21: The Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce hosts its monthly Coffee Connect networking event from 9 to 10 a.m. at Coffee Connection, 3838 S. Centinela Ave., Mar Vista. marvistachamber.com
Wednesday, July 27: The Venice Chamber’s Venice Connect, a networking event for active and engaged professionals seeking to increase their involvement in the local business community, happens from 6 to 8 p.m. at a location to be announced. $10 to $20. (310) 822-5425; venicechamber.net
Saturday, July 30: The LAX Coastal Chamber’s Young Professionals host a beach cleanup from 10 a.m. to noon at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey. The group assembles where the city lot (6200 Pacific Ave.) meets the sand. The cleanup is followed by a networking brunch. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com
Friday, Aug. 5: The LAX Coastal Chamber hosts Cruise N Brews, a beer-tasting party featuring more than 40 craft breweries, aboard a Hornblower yacht. The cruise is from 6 to 10 p.m. and departs from Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. $65. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com