Four years ago, Stanford-educated chemist Robert Gagne and New Orleans native Toni Taglialavore launched a line of New Orleans-themed candles. Today, their company, NOLA Bodycare (5733 Heebe St., Harahan, 504-733-8402; www.nolabodycare.com), focuses on skin-nourishing products that reflect the essence of New Orleans.
"Last year, NOLA Bodycare made a transition from focusing on candles to a broader focus on body care, where we saw greater need and opportunity," says Gagne, who holds a doctorate in chemistry and has expertise in composing fragrances. "Our new fragrances truly reflect the unique New Orleans culture."
NOLA Bodycare products are skin-care formulations with high-quality ingredients, luxurious textures and noticeable benefits. Marketed to locals and tourists under the slogan "share the gift of NOLA," the products are intended to evoke the experience of New Orleans. Mardi Gras-inspired packaging in metallic purple, green and gold imbues each product with the spirit and fun associated with the Big Easy.
NOLA Bodycare offers four products: an aloe vera-infused body gel, a creamy body souffle, a cleansing sugar scrub and an exfoliating body bar with bamboo pumice. Each is available in three scents: Nola Chic, a sweet, classic blend of toasted almonds and caramelized sugar; Nola Flirt, a sporty fusion of grapefruit, lemon, lavender and ginger; and Nola Gent, a fresh, "bar-soap" fragrance with hints of rosemary and ocean.
"They reflect our unique New Orleans lifestyles," Gagne says. "These fragrances have been extensively tested. The fragrances that are offered are ones that customers most identify with."
Products are available online and at Spa Isbell (1245 Magazine St., 504-595-5009; www.spa-isbell.com) and Make Me Up (3426 Magazine St., 504-891-9688; www.makemeupnola.com). Individual items cost $14 to $22, and there are five- and seven-piece gift sets.
Research has long indicated that a particular scent can evoke a vivid memory, and NOLA Bodycare has staked its claim on the phenomenon, creating a memory-in-a-bottle experience. "Our fragrances are not simple, single fragrances," Gagne says. "They reflect the complexities of people's daily lives."