Christen Cottam can describe scents on an atomic level, although she prefers to discuss the emotional, memory-based side of fragrance with her clients at Knows Perfume. According to the West Seattle Herald, Cottam taught high-school science and worked as a biotech sales rep, explaining complex, ethereal concepts to laypeople. Now, she helps clients discover their favorite fragrances and find words to interpret their sensory experiences. Cottam backs up her methods with hard facts: She eschews paper test strips because scents evolve when they mingle with chemicals on the skin, and explains that citrus seems fresher and lighter than musk because of its lower molecular weight and the deodorant it wears.
Cottam opened the boutique in 2010 to showcase uncommon fragrance lines such as Smell Bent and Aroma M, which are not necessarily distributed at department stores. Under a high, wood ceiling that maximizes ventilation, Cottam cultivates an indie fragrance community through perfume classes, scent "tastings," and an art gallery she curates and opens for the monthly West Seattle Art Walk. Cakes from Baked Seattle grace every Knows event, as do patrons' keen-nosed, four-legged companions, who are also welcome to sojourn from the gossip at the fire hydrant into the shop's aromatic yet apolitical atmosphere.
Horseradish vodka and salty pops of red caviar mingle with cigar smoke, baked apples, and freshly plucked orchids. One of Sweet Anthem’ signature fragrances, Anton’s scent is as heady as the concept behind it. Meredith Smith derived the musky fragrance from her honeymoon in Russia, and each note recalls a specific place and time from her trip. “Fragrance is evoking an idea—it’s creating something out of nothing,” explains Meredith. “Fragrance leaves, evaporates, and I want those fleeting moments to be evocative of the inspiration behind it.”
This olfactory philosophy inspired all of her signature scents, which she compounds and bottles by hand in her atelier. Her fragrances shirk the stereotypical floral notes, instead incorporating unusual notes such as tobacco, tomato leaf, and sarsaparilla.
Meredith’s meticulous attention to detail extends to her apothecary itself: tiny glass vials occupy wooden nooks, and long metal tables serve as workspace for her perfume-making classes. In addition to classes, Meredith empowers customers to concoct their own scents with DIY kits and private appointments that teach the fundamentals of perfumery, such as figuring out ingredient volatility and determining which nostril regulates the ability to love.
When it comes to running a successful salon, the staff at Oneida believes you can’t go wrong if you have three essentials in place: great products, new technologies, and the best beauty professionals. With those goals in mind, they work hard to exceed client expectations during each service, be it a relaxing sugar massage, a foot massage, or an eyelash-extension treatment. Nail services, including Shellac mani-pedis and gel or acrylic overlays, are one of the shop's specialties and can be made extra indulgent with add-ons such as foot massages or dips in paraffin wax––all designed to leave appendages feeling as extravagant as a diamond-encrusted filet mignon.
The old slough-and-buff technique has no place at Pediworx, where licensed nail technicians trained in European methods and tools treat clients to the latest in foot- and nailcare. The spa, which doubles as both a nail salon and podiatry office, infuses modern technology with custom care to not only primp nails, but also to solve common ailments, such as ingrown nails, athlete’s foot, and Nixon-shaped calluses. Guests can relax at any of the two locations—including spots inside the Harbor Square Athletic Club and Seattle Athletic Club—as the team also treats both hands and feet to spa-like treatments topped off with shiny polish.
The owners of the Loft Salon and Gallery set the bar high, describing their mission as an attempt to provide top-quality services and products in a truly unique atmosphere. The out-of-the-ordinary setting is the gallery side of the business, photos and paintings are not only on display around the salon, but they’re for sale. Selections rotate regularly, but the focus is always on dramatic, inspiring images. On the salon side of things, creative ‘dos and a cutting-edge color technique called balayage are only part of what’s on offer. Pros hand out thoughtful guidance and provide customized approaches to facials and waxing. Wedding consultations will calm any nerves before the big day because, of course, there’s an art to creating a special look. Thankfully, the stylists at The Loft are up to the task.
Mode Organic Salon's multitalented staff transforms visitors into beacons for compliments with its beauty-boosting expertise and arsenal of organic products enriched with natural ingredients. The salon?s hairstylists refresh locks with Davines nourishing conditioner, which is empowered by vitamins, amino acids, and essential oils. The team also resurrects graying hairs with coloring products free of commonly used harsh substances, such as ammonia, resorcinol, and lead-based house paint. The facility?s aestheticians keep skin in fine fettle with ?minence Organic Skin Care salves, and unwanted hair is kept at bay with organic waxing.
Mode Organic Salon's commitment to organic practices extends beyond its services: even its complimentary beverages and business practices are eco-friendly. Mode Organic Salon?s strong emphasis on organic standards also helped earn it a spot on Seattle magazine's Best of the Decade list.