Think of what you know about perfume. Now, forget it all. Josh Lobb, the man behind Slumberhouse, has a unique approach to fragrance that is unlike any other that we’ve come across before. Slumberhouse is a boutique cologne label based here in Portland, but don’t mistake boutique for “stuffy”or “overpriced”. Josh’s lack of formal training works in his favor, as he has found alternative methods and rare materials to create strange and alluring scents. He pushes boundaries and doesn’t always necessarily worry about wearability or popularity. Ironically, this irreverence for the mainstream has resulted in his garnering quite the loyal following of customers all over the world. Even if you’re a bit fragrance-phobic, as Josh believes some Portlanders can be, we insist that you give Slumberhouse a shot. These are not scents that you’ll find at department stores, with glaringly strong top notes; they’re subtle and blend with ease into the skin
We were lucky enough to try some samples sent from Josh, and we each had our personal favorites (Pear + Olive for Holly and Delia, Norne for Lauren). You can find Slumberhouse fragrances at Alder and Co and Eden, or on the website.
E+E: How did you get involved in the fragrance business?
Josh Lobb: There never was a lightbulb moment, and starting a business was never the goal, to be honest. My initial hope was to create a small library of strange fragrances, not necessarily to wear but simply to have. I was captivated by the process and quickly realized this was now my life.
E+E: You mention “city life, hip hop, and street style” as your sources of inspiration. Care to elaborate?
JL: For real life inspiration, the city is ideal. I walk around Old Town and the Pearl on weekend nights with my nose on high alert, it’s like a circus of scents. All the beautiful women smelling to the nines, the smells drifting out of restaurants and sidewalk cafes, cigars and clove cigarettes, etc. It’s a kaleidoscope of scents that I delight in analyzing.
E+E: Do you have a more popular scent? Or a favorite one?
JL: My newest release, Pear + Olive, is easily the most popular scent I’ve authored thus far. The response has truly overwhelmed me. Personally I’m most fond of Norne, which I created using nothing but rich forest absolutes from Canada and Scandinavia. It’s a very dark perfume of fog, lichen, black hemlock and moss. It’s the scent I always wanted to make.
E+E: What is your favorite thing about Portland?
JL: I like that all I need is a bicycle to get to wherever I need to go. The proximity to the coast is another great thing about Portland. Something about the sea resonates strongly in me. As my sense of smell becomes further refined, I also notice my sense of taste following suit. Give me a strong coffee and some curry from a food cart and I’m set.
Written by: Lauren Kodiak