Rochester native Kelly Jones will tell you she has everything but common scents.
On her 16th birthday, Jones walked into Rochester Adams High School and was greeted by her gal pals who presented her with a gift of Lou Lou perfume by Cacharel.
“It came in such a pretty bottle,” says Jones, who now lives in New York and is the Founder of Kelly + Jones, a fragrance company that combines one’s love for wine tasting with the aromatic experience of perfume. “Now when I smell it, it takes me back to the halls of Adams High School, apple picking at the Yates Cider Mill and your first date.”
Jones looks back on her days at Adams High and the rage perfumes of the time – like Drakkar Noir, Dior Dune and YSL Paris. There was even a fresh cut grass fragrance from the Gap.
“It was so yummy, it smelled like a lawnmower,” she recalls fondly. “We had a 1931 Model A Ford growing up, and the smell of that car made me just really appreciate what fragrance does to your memory.”
Recently, on a return trip home to visit her parents, Jim, a retired electrical engineer, and Pat Jones –“The best English teacher ever at Adams” – they took a road trip to the Stahls Automotive Museum in New Baltimore to check out its vintage car collection.
“You start smelling the cars and it totally reminds you of home. Fragrance always has a way of taking you back to Michigan,” says the self-professed ‘gearhead,’ who graduated with an International Relations degree from the James Madison College at Michigan State University and has an International MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.
She landed a dream job that took her to Mexico to help launch Toyota. She was the only female executive by day, and at night she experimented with fragrances.
“I’d be in my super-creative, sensorial magical world. I wanted to make a scent bar where people could make their own custom fragrances,” Jones said.
So she left Toyota after 10 years and realized her second dream when she opened her scent bar, Salude, on the campus of the University of Arizona in 2006. When the recession hit two years later, she had to close Salude.
Ultimately, she was lured permanently away from the auto industry and became a marketing consultant and communications director for various fragrance houses until she had an epiphany.
“I want to be the next Jo Malone,” she declared about the highly successful British perfumer.
So she quit her job, sold her Toyota Forerunner and all her possessions, sublet her Harlem apartment and started Kelly + Jones last year. Her company’s pure perfume oil blends are inspired by wine aromas that can be worn singularly or combined and are beautifully packaged in bottles with a convenient roll-on applicator.
“You can create your own vintner’s blend,” Jones says. “In our original RESERVE collection, each fragrance – sensual spice, luscious fruits, fresh citrus, oak and florals – enhances the nuances of your favorite wine in the glass with the scent on your skin.”
The RESERVE collection has perfumes based on Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and the recently released Rosé 2017 Vintage, including a new Rosé body oil.
In late September, Kelly + Jones’ released two new vintages – a Pumpkin Prosecco candle and its first tequila-inspired scent for men, based on mezcal.
“My mantra is ‘crushed with love.’”
Photo: Wonderment and Co.