Staff Report for The Island Connection
Palmetto Scent Studio, the Sea Islands’ custom home fragrance headquarters, is preparing to celebrate their one-year anniversary; a perfect opportunity to check in with owner Glenda La Rue to discuss her first year in business, and learn about what she has in store for 2019.
La Rue, a civil engineer by education, originally came to the Lowcountry in 2012 for a position at the Citadel. She has always had a creative side, and enjoyed expressing it as a pianist and a painter. She opened the studio with her husband, Jeff, last April after spending several years testing their concept as a pop-up at area businesses and markets.
“We spent almost four years doing pop-ups on weekends and custom, private label fragrance. It started out as a hobby business, but once we started to develop a following, we realized our concept could work as a fulltime venture,” said La Rue.
La Rue is quick to espouse her perspective on fragrance, pointing out that no other sense is more closely connected to memories or emotion. “We’ve all experienced a smell that transports you to childhood experiences. Just think about how much effort people put into selecting paint or textiles when decorating. If you want to set a mood, make an impression or help build a memorable visit, you should give fragrance at least as much attention as the wall of paint options at the hardware store,” she said. “You can choose the perfect scent for your home or office and even change the feeling of a room with your moods or seasons, and you don’t even need to pick up a paintbrush or touch a ladder.”
The studio, which overlooks the lake in Freshfields’ newest addition near the Andell Inn, resembles something between a bar and an event space with neatly lined shelves of candles. La Rue and her staff help guests explore what seems to be an endless variety of scents.
“Some people choose to purchase our candles right off our shelves, but we’re really about the experience of crafting your own custom fragrance. Once you smell the fragrance wall and decide on favorites, we invite you to sit at our fragrance bar to incorporate your blend into linen and body sprays, diffuser oils, wax melts and other products,” said La Rue. The studio hosts walk-ins as well as group and party reservations.
One of La Rue’s favorite things about the studio is the chance to chat with guests. “I love helping them create one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones, or souvenirs to remind themselves of their visit to the Lowcountry, and seeing how delighted they are with their creations,” she said.
As far as what is in store for 2019, La Rue explained, “We are excited announce a new dimension to the studio. In then next few weeks we will introduce a line of custom scented body products.”
The store has a myriad of fragrances to please almost any palate. They are always happy to entertain and it can be fun to drop in just to “sniff around.”
Palmetto Scent Studio is located at 211 Farm Lake View, Kiawah Island. Hours through February are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For more information visit PalmettoScentStudio.com.