Tell us a bit about your Whiskey and Woof?
Whiskey & Woof celebrates human’s greatest companions through scent. I was a member of the British Bourbon Society and, as you know from past collaborations, my Frenchie Elle (@grrlgenius) has done dog modeling. People kept asking me when Elle would bring out her fashion line and knowing you and other artisans in London, I knew that was the way we were going to go if there was an eventual product line.
Candles gave me a way of bringing these inspirations together. Using scent to tell a story has been a wonderful gift to me. I come from a digital marketing career where your work for years can be deleted. For me, being able to have a brand that is a physical object clients bring into their home to elevate their mood and celebrate their lifestyle on a different level has been exciting, challenging and reinvigorated my need to learn and create.
What inspires your work?
I’m inspired by my dog Elle and the cinematic version of that life. For instance her scent (which is a candle, room spray, reed diffuser and fragrance - yes, I love my French bulldog), was inspired by walks on the beach with her, the waves gently lapping on one side, following her paw prints in the sand as rose scents floated over and driftwood in the distance.
Every product has been inspired by different life situations and personalities. For instance, No. 4 Confidante is an maple bourbon and musk scent, that, for me, conjures up my friend Chet. An ad man, who makes you feel like you are his best friend and will help you here and back again - comforting, but also enigmatic. There’s an element a little hard to place.
There are also a lot of clients now requesting memorial scents for their dogs and uncovering their life stories and habits to create a candle that helps keep their memory alive. That trust, there are no words to exactly express how seriously I take that to create a scent for them and their comfort.
What’s your first memory of dogs being in your life?
We had a cocker spaniel growing up and I remember going to get her, shockingly from the mall a place called Puppy Palace. There was some debate about a puppy or a guinea pig. We went to see guinea pigs and my mother said puppy. She was so sweet with beautiful floppy ears. I got to name her and I chose Linda as the name so I guess my brain has never seen dogs as merely a dog, but as a family member.
Tell us about Elle and how she came into your life?
I was at a birthday party for one of my colleagues at Vh1. My friend Jen’s husband Greg was showing me photos for their Frenchie, Gerrard in a costume they had made for Halloween. They are so creative that way. And Greg had a camera roll full of Gerrard. This was 12 years ago and the breed was not well known. He thought he might be boring me, but I said “no, when I’m ready I’m coming to you for advice.” Six months later I read Jennifer Weiner’s book “Good in Bed,” about a writer who goes through a traumatic experience and her dog renews her spirit to help her come into her own for where she was in life. And I got a decent tax return. I reached out to Jen and Greg and said I’m ready and they connected me to their breeder, who happened to have a few puppies. I took one look at Elle and knew. I went through a proper breeder’s application, got approved, drove five hours to pick her up in Pennsylvania and she had me from the first look.
Elle is a wonderful companion. She has an adventurous spirit and likes to go on trips. I think my favorite of which was Scotland for the two of us, but also we had a lot of fun meeting different friends in Paris and doing a photoshoot there. She loves the camera. She will walk see someone with a large camera lens and assume they are to take her photo. Pre-covid one of the areas we walk in is a popular spot for wedding photos and I can’t tell you how many of those shoots got a guest star at the request of the wedding party. It’s sweet.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
Elle gets me up at 5:30 - 6 A.M. to get the day started and go outside. She likes to snooze on the rug under my desk so mornings I do administrative work. We talk a daily walk from 1-2 P.M. which now tires her out so I can concentrate on packing orders in the afternoon.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out with the dog?
Oh, love to go see my family. She loves to run around my mom’s yard and also my sister now has a puggle named Nugget. It took almost six months for Elle to give Nugget her approval and now they play together quite well. Elle loves going to see any flower installations and posing. We will take the ferry across to Wall Street to see friends at South Street Seaport or over to Williamsburg. She tries to go on the ferry any time we go into that area.
What adventures do you have planned with Elle for later this year?
I would like to take her again to the Lavender Fields and possibly LA or London again. She really misses London and would love to see her again exploring Hyde Park. We make every day count no matter where we are the most important part is that it’s together.