DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?
My name is Arielle Weinberg. I’m the founder of Arielle Shoshana, D.C.’s first niche fragrance boutique! That means unique, artisan fragrances you don’t find in department stores. (DCF: You’ve definitely succeeded with unique scents like burning leaves, a new personal favorite – don’t knock it to you smell it – and Lady Vengence).
DCF: What does being funemployed mean to you & what was your path to funemployment?
AW: “Funemployed” is a job that’s so fulfilling that it doesn’t feel like work. I’m currently very lucky to find myself funemployed at Arielle Shoshana!
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
AW: My dad was the first person who encouraged me to open a perfume shop. I wasn’t convinced at first. I’d just clawed my way through a Natural Sciences degree at Johns Hopkins University, so I was hoping to work on the chemical side of the perfume industry.
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
AW: I had the enormous privilege of working at two different perfumeries in New York. I paid close attention to what they were doing well, and what could be done differently. That information was absolutely invaluable when opening our own shop later on. One of my dad’s favorite sayings is, “A wise man is one who learns from everyone.” Every single person has something important to teach you.
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
AW: The perfumes themselves. Their stories and their beauty. Perfume is wearable art; I think of the shop as my own little art museum.
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
AW: I don’t think I have a good answer for this question yet! I’m in the shop 6 days a week, so I don’t think I’m particularly balanced. My cat is probably the main source of any balance that I have. Who knows what time I would get home at night if I didn’t have to feed her?
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
AW: I miss New York sometimes. NoVa is a very different pace! But you have to go where the demand is. New York definitely didn’t need another perfume shop! And now I’m only 20 minutes away from my family, which I absolutely cherish.
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
AW: Perfumery has been a male-dominated industry for the vast majority of its history. In the last two decades, the perfume industry has been shamed into becoming a little more diverse, but it’s still very difficult for anyone other than a white French male to become a perfumer. I consider it my responsibility as a shop owner to push the pendulum forward by actively seeking out female perfumers and brand owners.
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
AW: Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. The most polished, the most gracious, and the most competent. Don’t be self-deprecating in professional settings.
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
AW: After making it to the final round of applications, I was rejected from perfumery school. It was crushing, but it was an important moment of truth. I was trying so hard to become a perfumer, but I just wasn’t a very good scientist. It’s very painful when your goals and your skill set don’t line up. It’s important to push yourself, not to play it too safe, but it’s also important to acknowledge and value your natural skill set.
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
AW: It would have to be the Arielle Shoshana launch party. We made our rent in one evening, and everyone went home smelling amazing!
DCF: What’s next?
AW: We’ve just passed the 8 month mark since opening, so we’re coming up on Arielle Shoshana’s first birthday! One year of making D.C. smell a little better.
We would love to see you on our website (arielleshoshana.com), Instagram (@arielleshoshana), Facebook (/arielleshoshana), or Twitter (@thescentsofself)!