Just as the beauty industry has radically changed and the products I use now are cleaner, made out of natural ingredients, and feel and look better on the skin, so has fragrance. So many “classics” now smell unnatural and overwhelming to me. Enter Liis, a quartet of fragrances free of preservatives, dyes and phthalates, that literally smell like heaven and are result the of two Californian women who met in college, went their separate ways, and are now reunited in business. I won’t get into too much detail on each fragrance, but the newest is Floating a summer scent, with top notes of bergamot and peach, with wild orchid, linen and Sequoia wood and my favorite is Bo, with top notes of Elemi and tobacco leaves, with Redwood Pine, incense, Guaiac wood, Cedar and vanilla beans, which is exotic but also subtle and sophisticated. (Their scents launched on Violet Grey today.) Read on to learn more about and Leslie Hendin (left in photo) and Alissa Sullivan, plus their Summer Essentials.
What are your career backgrounds and what led you to join together and create your brand? We grew up in Marin County, California, minutes from one another yet never meeting. Many years later we met in Europe while pursuing master’s degrees from ISIPCA and Central Saint Martins. Forming an instant bond of friendship over perfume, the seed was planted for what would be our future endeavor.
After extensive careers, Alissa meticulously developing product for L’Artisan Parfumeur, Penhaligon’s, Hourglass and Leslie leading creative for brands such as Vintner’s Daughter, Liis is our next chapter and a shared obsession come to life.
Why perfume or scent? What drew you to this? Growing up we each collected perfume in tiny boxes, fascinated by its immersive, transformative nature. We are passionate about fragrance and the brand is freedom of expression for us as well as for the wearers. Scent is deeply inspiring — it connects us to ourselves, our identity, mood, subconscious, to others, time and place. We love how scent is personal and open to interpretation.
What distinguishes a Liis perfume? Liis is high quality, wearable fragrance, ethereal like a second skin. Our scents are minimalist, with recognizable notes and special scent stories. It’s gender neutral, but not “masculine.” We created a brand from our point of view to share with others — considered, beautiful, niche and inviting.
What inspires you? The beauty of nature, authenticity, art, emotion.
What do you want people to feel when they put on one of your scents? Loved.
Three words that describe Liis: Dreamy, thoughtful, beautiful.
Three words that describe each of you: Alissa–dedicated, loyal, discerning. Leslie–calm, imaginative, mindful.
One of your attributes that helps you succeed: Showing up every day for ourselves and each other helps us succeed.
Role models: Anyone who lives their passion and truth.
What’s next for your company? We hope this is just the beginning.
What are your scent to wear this summer? Floating, without a doubt!
Alissa’s Summer Essentials:
1. I’m traveling to Paris, London and Croatia this summer. I’ll need to bring sunscreen of course! I rely on Supergoop Mineral Sheer Sunscreen.
2. I like natural wine–a crisp fruity rose enjoyed with friends is the best in summer. One of my go-to’s is Las Jaras Superbloom.
3. Hair clips, keeping hair up is essential when the weather is warm, I like this one from Sophie Buhai.
4. Sundresses + Denim. My mother is from Paris and I spent my childhood going to our grandmother’s apartment in Montmartre. These Rouje dresses are the epitome of French girl style. Or I opt for jeans or denim jackets from my friend Adelaide at Eve Denim.
5. Meyer Lemon Icebox Pie. My LA neighborhood spot Little Dom’s has the best frozen desserts.
Leslie‘s Summer Essentials:
1. Bloody Marys at the lake. We bring them with us in jars to drink on the shore between dips into Lake Tahoe. We make ours extra spicy but don’t go too crazy with garnishes. We use Agalima Organic Bloody Mary Mix.
2. Sandals are a must in the summer. These from Khaite go with everything.
3. Fruit from Frog Hollow Farm. We’re CSA members, it’s great for snacking or making homemade galettes.
4. Oversized Everything. My day to day involves a good oversized sweatshirt or cardigan, like these from Acne or Toteme. They work over well over maxi dresses or wide leg pants. SF weather is on the cooler side in the summer.
5. Lipstick. The new lipsticks from Dries Van Noten have amazing staying power and don’t dry out your lips.
Summer means… Freedom.