Perfumery started by BYU student

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Abby Kirkwood prepares to ship an order from her online store Smelly Yeti Perfumery. (Bret Mortimer)
Abby Kirkwood prepares to ship an order from her online store, Smelly Yeti Perfumery. She personalizes each order, drawing a yeti on each invoice. (Bret Mortimer)

“Hey, McFly” exudes the smell of Pepsi, while candied honey and hints of citrus are key ingredients for “Not the Bees.”

The indie perfume company Smelly Yeti Perfumery specializes in novelty perfumes inspired by pop culture. BYU student and English language major Abby Kirkwood founded the company.

Kirkwood decided to try her hand at making perfume oils to remind herself of her time spent abroad.

“You know how they say that smell is the sense most connected with memory? Well, I went on a study abroad last year to the UK, and there are just so many memories that you can’t capture in a photograph but that you can at least attempt to capture in a perfume bottle,” Kirkwood said.

“Back to the Future” and the general phenomenon that is Nicholas Cage inspired Kirkwood’s “Hey, McFly” and “Not the Bees.” Kirkwood has also dedicated an entire collection to the cast of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

All of the products are vegan and are suspended in Rice Bran and Jojoba oils, which help eliminate the initial powerful smell most perfumes give off.

Amanda Chronister, a blogger from Philadelphia who has reviewed each Smelly Yeti perfume, had positive things to say. “I’m really happy with everything about my initial experience with this brand, from the inspiration to the cute and thoughtful packaging to the hilarious and easy-to-navigate website to the scents themselves, and I can’t wait to see what Abby cooks up in the future,” Chronister wrote on her blog.

Kirkwood said she has taken classes at BYU that helped her start her business, such as art and web publishing courses, which have made her more prepared to handle both the artistic and technical side of marketing her products. She also learned about friendliness outside of the classroom.

“The general culture of BYU is all about friendliness. When I first got to BYU I was kind of astounded at how open and approachable people were,” Kirkwood said. “It forced me to become much more friendly myself … it’s excellent training for customer relations, where it really is important to go that extra mile. I draw a yeti on every single invoice and include little freebies with every order.”

Her friendliness and witty marketing tactics have paid off. Kirkwood comes home to an apartment full of perfume bottles and bubble mailers. She looks forward to the future of Smelly Yeti and offers advice to others pursuing similar goals.

“Be prepared for abject failure and unforeseeable success. I initially had very modest goals as far as how many people would actually buy anything, and so I had to scramble a bit once I realized that I was running out of a lot of supplies after the first week,” she said.

More information about Kirkwood’s perfume oils can be found here.

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