Manuela Pfannes-Völkel is the founder of Arts & Scents, an online perfumery that boasts unique fragrances, inspiring design and handcrafted works of art. Guaranteed to make you smell a million dollars, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about so we spent some time with Manuela to find out more…

Tell us about the journey that lead you to launching Arts & Scents…

There was that little girl, eagerly observing and inhaling every detail, when her mother and grandmother were discussing about what perfume to wear for an event before venturing out. The beauty of the aroma of the different fragrances caused from the beginning the intense wish for more details, and the passionate desire to create a fragrance. From this early time of smelling experiments, the fragrant path was part of my life. After studies around perfumery in several countries, I owned a company in Mexico City within a perfumery, selling my own products. Returning home I started a business selling fragrant concepts to companies, owning and running a spa and a perfumery boutique. Arts&Scents was founded first as an online perfumery, due to the high international demand of the fragrances.

What has been the biggest learning curve since launching the business?

The challenge is always to keep up. Launching a new fragrance may be a success or not, you have to work on it. There is always a way to do it better, including gaining new knowledge all the time.

Who’s involved in the brand and what roles do they play?

We are still a family business with just the two of us. My son Etienne works on marketing and me, I’m the perfumer. For design and art projects we work with my sister Barbara Engelhard (artist and curator of the Blue Night art event Nürnberg: @barbaraengelhard) and our photographer Michael Sanden (@msanden). Our #Smellgood ambassador this year is Lara Platzer (@laraplatzer).

What sets you apart from other beauty brands?

The way we work. We do believe that aromas move the world. Everything revolves around unique fragrances, inspiring design and handcrafted works of art.

We are often told to be outstanding, too colourful, too far from mainstream. So that’s what makes us different.

How do you want women to feel when wearing using your products?

You shall be the fairest flower of all.

It’s all sensory and our fragrances connect with you on an emotional level.

The right perfume can positively stimulate feelings, give confidence and light up the aura of its wearer.

This unique glowing feeling along with self-confidence is exactly what we want to give women with our perfumes.

What’s your WHY?

I love what I am doing. And this passion is the engine that drives me.

What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to launch a brand in the beauty industry?

Stay true to your ideas, believe and never give up easy!

Looking back since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?

Everything and nothing! It is always a big challenge launching a brand. Possibilities, conditions and even circumstances are constantly changing. But a good concept keeps its value but you have to work on it steadily.

Talk us through an average day in your life…

Morning call is always at 5 am. I love this early hours of dawn time as it’s filled with peace for doing creative perfume work. I take one cup of coffee and some water with me to the studio and start smelling the latest tinctures and fragrance experiments. I write down what I would like to modify in formulas and build up new compounds.

Working with the nose is limited, because of so many fragrance impressions, breaks are necessary.

At .7.00 it is time for a little breakfast with my family. Whenever possible I do a morning walk with our dog. The fresh air and contact to nature in nearby woods and fields are a big inspiration source for me.

At 9.00 we start our official Arts&Scents day with a meeting. We build up the plan for the day, discussing news and to do lists. We smell through some compounds, and do notes, what is liked, or disliked.

After this I sneak into production, check in on social media, try to answer all questions that I am asked and find solutions to any problems. I try to be present for people who work with us. We are a small business, direct contact is necessary to allow all processes to flow.

In the afternoon I do fragrance consultations with cosumers. Every day there is a period of time when I go back to my studio. Everybody in the company knows that I don’t want to be disturbed during this two hours and everyone tries to stick to it. This is my creative time when I will just spend time thinking, looking into art books, magazines and colour palettes and do notes about new ideas. I also go on with my smelling job.

Whenever it is possible I try to have dinner with my family. Running a company means longer and often irregular working hours around your usual day job. It’s always a balancing act between family and professional duties.

How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?

Social media is the big influencer. The impact is fast and in the moment. It needs time and constant updating. It might be tricky and for this you need to experience how and what you are posting. For Arts&Scents it always a big help for announcements, launchings and news to reach a big audience quick.

What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?

Wake up and just do it –now!

What’s next for the business?

Corona, lock downs and new regulations have a big influence for every company, we are no exception. We are restructuring, putting more focus on online presence and finding ways how to handle courses and visitors in our Arts&Scents Smell Room activities.

We are in the midst of launching three fragrances. The first perfume called #Senses is already out since summer 2020. It is a scent around virtual traveling, the importance of imagination in times of restrictions and never losing faith. This year 2021 the upcoming fragrance #Together will focus on possibilities of communication, not losing contacts, memories etc. It is a perfume of good vibes and the value of friendship. The fragrance of 2022 will be called #View and we are thrilled to see where it will take us.

What does self care mean to you?

First – time out. I am a workaholic, so I have to force myself to calm down and give space for me and personal projects. Doing sporty activities is important to me (dancing, swimming, walking outside).I love meeting friends (for the moment in terms that are possible due to covid rules) and spending time with my family. I adore a little luxury, like spa treatments and massages for relaxing sometimes.

Where can people find out more?

Meet our website:

and our online magazine:


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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