The best way to describe Libertine’s popup store at the Vignettes Brick & Mortar Festival is minimal and purposeful.
“I wanted to really comment on the ethereal nature of perfume,” says Joshua Smith, owner and director of Libertine Fragrance. “There’s hanging drapery and a lot of soft fabric. I wanted to make it feel very dreamy and let all the stories inside the scents really speak for themselves.”
Smith started Libertine in 2014 when he was at the University of Alberta for forestry before switching to industrial design. He discovered his interest for fragrance while studying design and learning how people interact with objects through their senses and how certain scents trigger emotions.
After experimenting with essential oil mixtures, Smith started selling his fragrances at a popup market at the University of Alberta, and decided to stick with it after the products were well received. Now, Libertine Fragrance is available online and in stockists across Canada. The Libertine popup at the Vignettes Brick & Mortar Festival is the brand’s first physical retail space and it’s a different way of doing business than Smith is used to.
“Fragrance is very sense-based,” says Smith. “It’s very subjective and an in-person sort of experience, but most of my business is done online, so, there’s a bit of a disconnect there. For the few weeks that we’ve been open and running the space, it’s been really, really great to see the people react and see how they’re experiencing the scents and the brand overall.”
For each fragrance in the store, there’s a table surrounded by netting hanging from the ceiling. The netting forms a sort of atmosphere, allowing you to test the fragrances in a bubble. All of the fragrances are unisex and made in Edmonton by Smith. The design of the entire popup space was done by Edmonton-based interior designer Taabish Zaver.
Shop Libertine Fragrance at its popup retail space, part of the Vignettes Brick & Mortar Festival, until July 31 at 10035 108 St.