Alexandra Balahoutis of Strange Invisible Perfumes met Fabrice Penot over a cup of coffee and realized that although their perfumes were very different, their philosophies were not. So why not share a space dedicated to the concept of a perfume commune? 1138 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California now is home to them both (seems to me like an example of the type of intelligent collaboration that is certainly lacking in the industry). Both companies place the primary importance on the perfume itself, and both hand-blend and customize each bottle in-house. They reject the concept of mass-produced perfume and always prioritize quality ingredients and esthetic standards over cost.
"The personalities of the brands are different; the approach, the esthetic, and of course the perfumes themselves. If our brands were the same, this wouldn’t make sense. At the end of the day, however, the intention behind our work is the same: to make life more beautiful through the art of perfumery. It is at this level that we connect deeply with Alexandra… and it is a way to support one another in our common quest to deal with the difficult balance of art and commerce."– Fabrice Penot
"Le Labo’s creations are different from mine, yet the two perfumeries are somehow complementary. Suddenly, the art of perfumery seems so relevant on Abbot Kinney with Le Labo and Strange Invisible side by side. Anyway, being a perfumer can be a lonely business. Very few understand the art itself. If nothing else, it’s nice to have people next door that know what the hell you’re talking about. After all, the visceral art of perfumery is nothing if not a provocative topic of conversation."– Alexandra Balahoutis
–Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief