For two hours Tuesday, Jake Rix helped a man and woman sample and blend essential oils until they had come up with the perfect colognes for one another.
Rix and his mother, Susan, are hoping that the idea of creating customized scents catches on, having opened a new shop in Lincoln Heights built around that concept.
"It's fun to have something nobody else has," Susan Rix said.
Fragrance Fusion is owned by John Higgins, a businessman and former Wichitan who lives in Kansas City. He and Susan Rix have been friends since their high school days at Kapaun Mount Carmel. Rix is serving as the store's consultant, while her son manages the shop.
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Rix owned a similar fragrance store in Overland Park for 20 years. Higgins became "intrigued" by the idea of owning one himself after buying bath salts there for use in homes he operates for Alzheimer patients. The mineral-rich salts, which Rix mixes herself, helped sooth the patients.
When Higgins found a storefront open in Lincoln Heights, Rix agreed to help him start Fragrance Fusion, although she now lives near Austin, Texas. She is making the seven-hour drive here frequently.
"John and I grew up in this neighborhood," Rix said, adding that her son "grew up in my store" in Overland Park.
The shop carries more than 100 essential oils from which customers can craft their own scents. Each is said to evoke a certain response, where it's relaxation (lavender), muscle relaxation (rosemary and peppermint) or respiratory relief (eucalyptus).
In addition to perfume, the store sells unscented lotions and sprays that customers can add essential oils to, or use as is if they have allergies to fragrances. The lotions come in different densities "because not everybody likes the same weight," Rix said.
There are also soaps made by a religious order in Missouri – each bar containing a few drops of holy water – soy candles, effusion lamps, shower steamers and balls, and some bath and kitchen accessories. A small men's section features "offensively large" sticks of lip balm and other humorously named products.
The store opened in mid-July. A grand opening is planned for Sept. 9.
When it comes to customers creating their own scents, Rix said the usual approach is to use no more than three oils. Because the oils contain no alcohol that evaporates, as many perfumes do, they tend to last longer, as long as eight to 12 hours. Her current favorite: rain with vanilla bean and a touch of patchouli. But that's subject to change, Rix said.
“When we women switch out our summer wardrobe, we often want a new fragrance as well.”
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4719 E. Douglas, 316-272-9259
Owner: John Higgins