Bay of Plenty Times
Serenity by the sea
Abel Odor founder Frances Shoemack takes Lucy Slight inside her home and shares her daily wellbeing rituals.
FRANCES SHOEMACK lives in a “slightly eccentric” Roger Walkerdesigned home on Wellington’s South Coast, her bedroom looking out over the ocean towards Tapuaeo-uenuku and the Kaiko¯ ura mountain range. The house is filled with treasures from her and her husband’s travels — a Moroccan tagine, Danish furniture, French flea-market finds and dozens of books which are devoured in the evenings as the sun sets, in lieu of TV.
The Abel Odor founder shares with Viva a few of her favourite daily wellbeing rituals and what’s in store for her natural fragrance brand as it reaches its 10-year milestone.
How do you begin each day?
When I’m at home and things are relatively “normal”, my life is actually very routine. Both my husband and I have busy jobs, so with the children our life makes the most sense when we’re sticking to a structured schedule. I’m up at 6am or just before and have breakfast at home with the family before biking into work, usually in time for a 7am call with our team and partners in Europe or the US.
Do you have any special rituals or practices you enjoy for your wellbeing?
I have a couple of regular yoga classes I’m committed to. Last year I was more flexible on the classes and days I practised and found all too often yoga was being pushed aside by more “urgent” things. I do a short practice most other days at home on my own, but there’s something about going to a class and knowing that time is fully allocated to being in the moment without interruptions that’s so essential to my state of mind.
We live on the south coast of Wellington at O¯ whiro Bay, so an (almost) daily swim in the ocean has become a ritual over the past couple of years and it’s one I can’t advocate for enough. Ten minutes in the cold ocean water has such an incredible impact on my overall wellbeing. Dave, my husband, and I are also big sauna fans.
We have a standing fortnightly booking at Tory St in Wellington where we love the sauna and 6C plunge pool. I’d go every day if I could.
What are some of your go-to products in your beauty and wellness routine?
The food I eat, the way I move my body, prioritising sleep, and swimming are how I most heavily invest in beauty and wellness. Having a bath with essential oils and Epsom salts, lights dimmed and candles burning is another favourite thing to do. Typically, my skincare rituals happen before bed when I have the time and space. Local brands Tronque (for luxurious body care), Raaie (for delicious skincare), and Sphaera (nutrient-dense zero-waste haircare) are some of my favourites.
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As the founder of a brand that’s focused on clean, natural ingredients and practices, is this something that translates into your everyday life as well?
Because I couldn’t find a perfume that met my “natural but modern and without compromise” approach to most things in life, I founded Abel.
And while I’m pretty 80/20 about life in general (I love a croissant with the family on Friday mornings), once you dig into things, the pleasure really goes out of a lot of “guilty pleasures” if you know how toxic they are to you and/or the environment.
A wholefood diet rich in nutrients and minerals (ideally organic) is nonnegotiable for me. I make a green juice to take to the office with me most days, and love cooking fresh, tasty wholefood meals for our family. Though I love beautiful things, I try to take a lessis-more approach, maintaining a capsule wardrobe of quality garments I love (one in one out) and the children have already found a taste for thrift shopping. I shop local with brands such as Kowtow for organic cotton staples, Goodfor for essential pantry refillables, and Ecostore is my go-to for household products.
You began your business in Amsterdam but are now based in Wellington. How have those different backdrops influenced your fragrance creation and inspiration?
I feel so fortunate to have my heart in two places, and for Abel to have these two incredible cities in its DNA. They’re a beautifully complementary pairing that deeply impacts Abel as a brand and our creative process: Amsterdam (and the Dutch) for their rich cultural heritage, functional design aesthetic and long-term sustainable thinking; Wellington (and Kiwis) for its innovative fresh eyes, can-do attitude and deep connection to nature.
What’s on the horizon for Abel in 2023?
Abel turns 10 this year, and I’m incredibly excited about all we have planned. We have a new fragrance coming in April, which I think will prove to any natural perfume sceptics that you can have it all. I’ll be in Tokyo for the global launch of this scent alongside our master perfumer, Isaac Sinclair, who will be coming across from Paris.
We’ve got another incredible launch in the pipeline before Christmas. A
longside that, our team in Wellington and abroad continues to grow in size and ability and we continue to spread the natural perfume love around the world. Nz.abelodor. com