Thymes Studio Collection

Chemists at the Minneapolis lab concoct scents loved around the world

More than 30 years ago, Minneapolitans Leslie Ross Lentz and Stephanie Shopa cooked up the botanically based bath products that came to be known as Thymes. Now an independent company with worldwide distribution, its fragrance studio remains in town, operated by an all-female staff of chemists who spent more than a year perfecting the six fragrances that make up the just-launched Studio Collection. On a typical day in the renovated World War II–era building near the University of Minnesota, the chemists talk about art, fashion, food, and anything else that inspires them to create unusual blends that are at once familiar and unknown. Then, from fig leaves to fiddlehead ferns, juniper berries to the petals of the Polynesian tiare flower, the chemists source the highest-quality ingredients they can find. As fragrance designer Stacy Brown says, “There is lot of sniffing.”

Though the company complies with all FDA standards, the chemists also indulge in some unscientific research: They take home the scents, scrubs, and creams, and use them. If the ladies don’t like something, says marketing manager Amy Banks, “we make adjustments or completely start over.” The process is, says Brown, “a labor of love.” Meaning that every woman around the world who falls for, oh, the floral notes of Tiare Monoi, shares something with a woman in a lab coat in Minneapolis. • Studio Collection $6–$40,

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