Anderson Township resident Joan Patel was traveling through South France with her husband and daughter when she discovered Galimard, France’s oldest perfumery.

Just six months later she was trading in her 35-year career in health care administration to open a Galimard dealership in Oakley. At Le Studio des Parfums Galimard, she helps customers create their own scents using Galimard’s “natural essences.” Their custom scents are then registered and can be remade into a variety of products, such as shower and bath gels, candles and linen sprays.
Patel recently celebrated the studio’s first year in business and credits much of its success to its up-and-coming location in Oakley’s “Design District,” next to several upscale boutiques and restaurants.

The businesses promote one another and together were instrumental in starting Oakley After Hours, a series of Friday evening events in Oakley’s business district on Madison Road featuring extended store hours, discounts, live music and food.The boutique has also been able to generate and retain business through its website, which allows out-of-town holiday visitors or relocating customers to keep purchasing their custom scents.

Patel hopes to continue to attract customers with a unique experience that begins as soon as the customer enters the boutique. Inspired by both rural and urban French styles, the decor features soft yellow paint, a fountain mounted on a stone wall, antique furniture, and chandeliers hanging over the many displays of fragrances bottles.

French music plays in the background.

“I loved every minute of planning and designing this store,” Patel says.

Although the studio is open to anyone interested in creating their own French perfume, the boutique also caters to groups. Groups are scheduled to use the studio privately and may enjoy a meal before they create their scents. Brides and grooms have scheduled events at the studio for wedding party gifts, and for $5, a bride or groom can purchase a special white wedding bag with their names for their perfumes.

Patel also hosts parties, such as one for Bastille Day in July, to allow people to have fun and be social in the studio.

“I think the best thing for us is word of mouth,” she says.

Creating a custom scent at Le Studio des Parfums Galimard takes approximately two hours, which includes an explanation of scents and an evaluation of your olfactory sensitivities. The $85 cost includes a personalized bottle of your creation. Refills of the custom scents are $60, and other Galimard fragrances for men and women are available at the studio for $65.