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Mackenzie Reilly, NYC Based Perfumer

Posted on 23 March 2021

This week's Tastemaker Tuesday features Mackenzie Reilly, a perfumer based out of New York City. Mackenzie debuted the Flora Mini Dress on a getaway to St. Barth's!

Introduce yourself!

My name is Mackenzie Reilly and I am a perfumer (or a ‘nose’) based in New York City.  I have a home in the South of France where I spend a lot of time as well.  When I am not working or traveling, I am either doing yoga, or outside enjoying nature with my dog, Luna.  I also love to cook & experiment with interesting ingredients and flavors, which I find inspires my work.  In another life, I like to believe I would be a jewelry designer!

What characteristics (cultural, personality, etc) make you unique?

At this point I have lived in many different countries across Europe and Asia, which has given me a lot of diverse inspiration culturally speaking.  I am always daydreaming, which can get me into trouble sometimes, but I find informs my creativity.  Getting lost in thought often produces the best seeds for manifesting new ideas.

Mackenzie debuted the Flora Mini Dress the last time it came into stock on a pre-covid getaway to St. Barth's. 

What motivated you to become a perfumer?

I fell in love with the idea of perfumery once I discovered the storytelling aspect of the craft.  I didn’t grow up knowing a lot about perfumery, as it wasn’t spoken about so much in the US at the time.  However, when I discovered niche fragrance brands, and read their beautiful descriptions of the scent inspirations, I realized that perfumery was an invisible art and could be extremely cinematic in it’s ability to create a scene, inspire a feeling, or trigger a memory.  From then on, I was smitten.

What is the most rewarding aspect about what you do?

For me the reward is in the day-to-day creativity.  I am happy to have learned this gratitude early in my career, as I think living in the present is the secret to being truly happy.  It takes a long time to develop a fragrance, and after it’s completed it can take 1-2 years before the brand launches it.  This ends up being a little anti-climactic, and by the time the launch happens, you are already focused on many other new projects.  We also have a very high failure rate in our industry, which is highly competitive.  If you only feel rewarded when you win a project, you will spend most of your time feeling unhappy or disappointed.  I truly enjoy the process of creating and believe this mindset will result in more success in the long-term.  As they say, it’s the journey, not the destination.

How do you interpret “invest in yourself?” and what are they types of things you do to invest in / empower yourself?

I think a big part of investing in yourself is simply believing in yourself.  If you believe you can achieve your goals, the rest will fall into place.  With confidence and conviction, you will make the right choices for your path to success more intuitively.  This could be an investment of your time, money, contacts, or other resources.  A good way to feel empowered is to look back at a younger version of yourself and ask what they would think if they could see you now.  Most of the time you will realize that you have accomplished much more than you give yourself credit for.  We are so often focused on the next goal or achievement, that we forget to celebrate how far we have already come.

Why is it important to you to empower women?

I think it’s important to collectively work to empower any group who has felt marginalized.  This is an exciting time for women’s empowerment, and I am definitely proud to be a woman successfully competing in a historically male-dominated industry.  We still have work to do as a society, but I think momentum is building and we can give thanks to the generations of women before us who have sacrificed so much to get us to where we are.  It is our responsibility to keep moving forward, and also to lift up other groups who are still fighting for their own rightful opportunities. 

How did you like your Flora Mini Dress?!  Any details on how it fit or made you feel?

I love the Flora Mini Dress precisely because of its unique fit.  The style is very 60s with the bell sleeves and the short swinging hemline.  It felt fresh, fun & flirtatious; a good balance between elegant and effervescent!

What are your favorite ways to style your Mestiza pieces?

Mestiza dresses have so much character and style that I like to pair them with a classic stiletto & some fun earrings to reinforce that holiday cocktail vibe.  A simple clutch is perfect to tie the look together.

What draws you back to the Mestiza brand?

I love that Mestiza is female-founded and authentic in its design inspiration of Filipino heritage.  Their clothing is sustainably and ethically produced which is important to me and should always be a consideration when investing in clothing today.  Finally, the dresses are simply beautiful & always have a unique touch.  It’s a go-to brand for any event or occasion where I need to look elegant and pulled together!

Please share an inspirational tip to someone looking to follow your footsteps.

Spend time to reflect on what you are passionate about, and what you could also be good at doing.  Remember that just because you like something, doesn’t necessarily mean you want to do it as a career.  Some things are actually better left as hobbies!  If you feel you know what you love, and it is also something you could see yourself succeeding at on a professional level, then fully commit to the idea, as best you can.  Be prepared to make major sacrifices, postpone other goals, feel unglued sometimes and uncertain about the future.  This is all part of it.  No one has ever succeeded without taking some pretty big risks.  Finally, work hard, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

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