For this week’s segment of Made in Arkansas, AY About You sits down with Arkansas botanicals and fragrance company Aromatique.
The concept for Aromatique started with an open house. In 1982, Patricia “Patti” Upton decided to help a friend with her open house. Her friend requested something that would sell and attract attention.
Patti went home and went to the backyard to think, and came up with the idea to gather pieces of nature, such as pine cones and wood chips, and soak them in oils and spices.
She packaged these fragrant goods, and they flew off the shelf at her friend’s open house. Patti then took some to a local gift market and received hundreds of orders. Her husband, Mr. Richard “Dick” Upton, concluded that this was an excellent sign, and Aromatique was born, expanding across time from the gift shop realm to retailers all across the South.
Jordan and June Upton, the granddaughters of founder Patti Upton, are involved in the company today. Jordan is the marketing and sales director, and June is the creative director. Both Jordan and June sat down to discuss how far the company has come since that fateful open house in the early 1980s.
“Aromatique consists of objects from nature soaked in oils and spices: decorative fragrance, candles, room sprays and oil diffusers to start,” June Upton says. “From a home fragrance standpoint, our Decorative Fragrance has stayed true to its original form – botanicals, such as wood chips, pine needles and cones are still naturally source from Arkansas”
Customers have still designated certain smells as their favorites. “Our best selling item to this day is our Decorative Fragrance bag in addition to our textured glass candles and our room sprays,” Jordan Upton says.
Jordan shares some of the new products that you can expect to see from Aromatique. “We just started releasing aroma cards that you can hang up in your car or your closet,” Jordan says. Additionally Aromatique is releasing a new fragrance, Gingerbread Brûlée.
Jordan and June both outline the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We launched a new website in the middle of July to satisfy the customer used to shopping in the store. We had to adapt to how customers were reacting,” June explains.
“We also had to figure out how to help our wholesale customers during this difficult time, whether that meant making things easier for the customer, or outlining safety measures in our offices,” Jordan adds.
But for Jordan and June, one of the greatest parts of their job is being surrounded by employees who have become like family.
“Jordan and I came in four years ago. People from the 80s and 90s are still here,” June says. “And how loyal they are to our company is an extreme blessing.”
Jordan, nodding, supplements this statement. “Being able to learn things about our grandmother that we never knew from the employees we work with has helped us grow as well.”