Abel Odor is heaven-scent
Follow your nose to Wellington’s chicest perfumery, Abel
Aro Valley is home to a range of brewers, bakers, and makers. But head down a little lane on Aro Street and it’s not beer, bread, or coffee beans you’ll sniff out, but perfume. Natural perfume, to be exact.
Abel Odor’s (pronounced "ah-bell") spot in the valley is part factory, part shop. It’s known as the “fabriek" – the Dutch word for factory – and is the new home base for the natural perfumery.
The shop’s Dutch name is a nod to the brand’s origins. Started in Amsterdam in 2011 by Kiwi ex-winemaker Frances Shoemack, Abel was born from Frances’ quest for a natural perfume that was as equally modern and chic as it was sustainable and ethical.
It's only natural
“While there was this cool emerging world of niche perfume, no one was doing it in a socially, ethically responsible kind of way and working with natural ingredients.” So, Frances set off on making her own. Ten years and massive international success later, she’s returned to her Kiwi roots, creating Abel’s delicious scents in the heart of Wellington’s creative scene.
Pop your head into Abel’s Aro Street shop, and you’ll likely find Frances herself, brewing up batches of natural scents to be enjoyed across the world. The transparency of showing the making process as part of the in-store experience reflects the brand’s ethos of sustainability and transparency in everything they do. All their ingredients are 100% natural and plant derived and, unlike most perfume brands, are all listed online – including where each of them came from.
Wellington was the perfect place to build this kind of little micro perfumery – where else in the world but the home of microbreweries?
The heart of Wellington
As is the Abel way, the decision to open a space in Aro was a conscious one. Attracted by the creative spirit of the area, Frances snapped up the lease for what was formerly the Aro Bake bakery. After a dramatic transformation, visitors are now welcomed into a relaxed environment where they can peek behind the scenes at Abel’s latest creations, and experience their scents in an engaging, personal way with the people who brought them to life.
Each of Frances’ fragrances are unisex and thoughtfully considered, having gone through extensive trials with her Kiwi master perfumer to exactly capture the concept behind each smell – often inspired by a specific moment, feeling, or scene. One of the newest scents, Cyan Nori, is a sweet and salty perfume inspired by the vivid blue waters and seaweed-laden beach of Owhiro Bay where Frances and her family live.
Frances is thrilled to be in Wellington, surrounded by a community of like-minded creators. “Wellington was the perfect place to build this kind of little micro perfumery – where else in the world but the home of microbreweries?” Look around the fabriek, and there are nods to their creative neighbours everywhere you turn – from their stainless-steel fitout made in Petone, to their bespoke vases from Berhampore ceramicist Salad Days.
As Abel continues on a journey of sustainable creativity, there’s talks of a perfume refillery, workshops, and local collaborations. After a lifetime of following her nose, Frances is happy to see where it takes her next.
Abel's Fabriek is open Wednesday to Friday, 11am – 2pm, and Saturday 10am – 2pm.