35 Years of Quirky, Custom Scent Making

By Carina Livoti



  Sarah Latham and her staff create custom fragrances that can be used as perfumes or added to soaps, lotions, body mists and more.

Sarah Latham and her staff create custom fragrances that can be used as perfumes or added to soaps, lotions, body mists and more.

While you may not expect to be able to buy a fragrance called “Dog’s Breath” at an ordinary shop, Scentsational of Huntington is no ordinary shop, and owner Sarah Latham said it may not be the funniest name she’s seen in her 35 years making custom fragrances for the Huntington community.

Naming is part of the fun of buying a custom fragrance at Scentsational, where customers can choose from a wide array of fragrances created in the store or create their own, which they then name.

Latham said a man created “Dog’s Breath” for his girlfriend; the name was part of an inside joke.

Among the other colorful names for the shop’s creations was “Dude Magnet,” later renamed to “Athena,” which an employee created.

“She cataloged all the fragrances that men liked and put them together; we had to change it because men didn’t want their girlfriends wearing ‘Dude Magnet,’” the owner said.

 Latham opened the shop in 1980 after years in the cosmetics industry in Michigan and Los Angeles. She said she and a partner had been talking about opening a shop with an assortment of fragrance oils for custom scent creation.

“When I was in high school I worked at an upscale drugstore and then I worked for Saks Fifth Avenue in LA and they would always put me in cosmetics…I discovered that I really loved cosmetics and that I had a good nose,” she said.

Latham made the move to Huntington after making a trip to visit her then-partner’s family.

“It’s a great shopping, walking town and people come here, and they walk around and I loved that. I just felt so at home that we said, ‘Let’s do it here,’ and we stayed,” she said.

Many of the fragrances in the shop are blends that Latham and her staff have already created, but there are also people who come in looking to blend their own. Latham said the most successful of those customers are the ones who come in with a vision.

“You have to have an idea in your head; you have to know what you like, because there are so many different fragrances and categories of fragrances,” she said.

Latham said that people often come in looking for gifts. While the store also sells some accessories, home fragrances, and other types of jewelry and trinkets, custom scents seem to be the fan favorite when it comes to gift giving.

“I think people love to be involved in the prep of something—it’s fun. It’s a very personal, beautiful gift, and you see that they put a lot of love into it,” she said.

For more information, visit escentsational.com or stop in at 259 Main St #1 in Huntington village.