Local Creative: Julia Zangrilli


What lovely lady wouldn’t want their own custom fragrance? None!!...exactly. That’s why we diligently did our research and discovered the super talented (and gorgeous) perfumer, Julia Zangrilli. This girl is the brainchild behind NOVA, a custom fragrance and retail collection that uses only the highest quality ingredients in her scents. We are 100% behind Julia’s particular style of fragrance composition. We did our best to play it cool when she introduced us to woodsy, exotic notes but we were loving on the lingering scents long after our visit.  

If you have been desperately struggling to find your perfect aroma (we’ve all been there), do yourself a favor a book a custom formula appointment with Julia. We are also all about her new custom fragrance parties! What amazing way to spend some time with your girl gang.  Keep reading for more details about this smart, savvy local lady. (SPOILER: we are crushing hard on her advice for creative women entrepreneurs.)


Studio Location.

292 New York Avenue #1 Brooklyn NY 11216


Tell us about your journey to making fragrances.

I graduated from college in 2008 with a Theater Performance degree. I waited tables and did plays/auditioned/played music around the city for a few years, which worked out quite happily for a time. I decided to switch directions in 2010/2011 and began floating from admin job to admin job, trying to figure out my next move. I worked for great companies but it was unsustainable given the randomness of my landing at each place. I was a new broom that swept great for a few months, maybe even a full year if I was around people I liked, but I’d continually begin to feel anchorless and then things would slide downhill from there. One day a friend (knowing I loved smelling / talking about fragrances) forwarded me info for an “Introduction to Perfumery” class. Something clicked, I’d even say snapped, and I became driven (far more driven than I was with performing arts) to learn and experiment more. After studying at a handful of places in and around New York City, and doing independent studies, I went to the Grasse Institute of Perfumery for an intensive certification program in raw materials. This for me was the peak of traditional learning, after that I proceeded with the next level - creation. I couldn’t find institutions in the states that were easy to access where creation training was concerned, so I taught myself based on my basic knowledge of formula structure from previous studies. There was a whole lot of trial, error and wasted materials - but the progress came faster than I had imagined. I developed my own understanding of materials dynamics / structure and ran with it. I began building custom fragrances for close friends as a way of live learning...what did people want? What were they drawn to? How could I learn from anyone? This mode of thinking helped me to refine my style in an interactive way and became the launch of my business.


Day to day of a perfumer?

Some days I’m chained to the computer, others I’m working at the scale or having meetings. I run errands, meet with business partners, handle menial tasks / big tasks. I like taking field trips and lunches with friends, I spend time hugging my dog. One thing I have been doing everyday is just meditating for 20 minutes. Helps to clear the brain and relax the body.


Scent you can’t live without.

I have two! The smell of my husband and the smell of my dog.


Love the concept for a scent party!  Please walk us through the details..



Favorite place to grab breakfast? (a real satisfying breakfast)

Not a breakfast person but if I was it would be Mogador.


Earliest perfume memory?

My earliest memory would be of the bottles on my mother’s vanity - totally cliched but true. The first strong memory was when she came to pick me up from summer camp and she was wearing Jean Paul Gaultier for Women (I think it’s called Classique now).


Astrology sign? Do you think your sign enhances your sense of aroma?

Capricorn sun, Scorpio rising, Pisces moon. Hmm that’s a really interesting question! I’m sure on a creative/emotional level the answer is yes. On a physical level I think I have to thank my Dad for passing down his schnozz.


3 words to describe your ideal fragrance.

Sensual. White. Luminous.


Best piece of advice for creative women looking to get entrepreneurial?

One bit of advice, which really kept me going on a creative level in the first stages of NOVA, is a quote from Ira Glass: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”


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