Skin Deep

MANSCAPE: Patrick Kelly

by Nicole Lesmeister

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Skin Deep

MANSCAPE: Patrick Kelly

The founder of Sigil Scent on inspiration, work-life balance, and how to smell with a little more nuance.

Instagram: @sigilscent @pmkellyjr
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Astrological Sign: Virgo Sun, Leo Moon, Scorpio Rising
Book that changed your life: Being and Nothingness
Beauty product (or treatment) that changed your skin: Lotion P50
Podcast you can’t stop listening to: Expanded
Instagram account you love to follow: @nickcaveandthebadmemes

Creating scent is all about creating connection, and no one knows this better than Sigil Scent Founder Patrick Kelly. He’s a master of connection, as well as the complex chemistry that is creating dynamic, wearable scent. He’s warm, charismatic, and grounded, and those same qualities are evident in his fragrances. With Sigil, he has created a line of completely natural, unisexy, and distinctly terrestrial aromas that bring out the most rooted and loving qualities of those who don it. From moss to palo santo, each blends’ notes are a practically spiritual experience. Yes, they’re that good.

As an avid consumer of art and beauty— from food and uplifting tinctures to a wardrobe palette of earthy pastels that he makes look inarguably perennial—he also multiplies and shares beauty with his light, playful, and fun personality. Keep reading to get a dose of that for yourself.

NL

Tell us about your journey: did Sigil Scent begin as something personal and then turned into a career, or did you have your sights set on creating a clean beauty brand from the start?

PK

Telling stories through scent has always been something I’ve obsessed over. I especially love their ability to develop a narrative that combines written word, beautiful packaging, and olfactory poetry.  I’ve always felt there was a divide between natural and fine fragrance—mainly a lack of quality in presentation from the former that kept the category from competing directly. I’ve been learning for about 12 years, but formally started the business around 5 years ago. It was small to start, and I’d say the goal was more creative than entrepreneurial at the onset. Over time, we’ve expanded, refined, and scaled. I don’t specifically position the brand as “clean” because it immediately evokes the opposite. I would rather evoke pleasure over fear with Sigil. We use 100% natural materials—tinctures, absolutes, CO2 extracts, essential oils—because, to me, they feel more alive, supple, and romantic than synthetics.

NL

What does scent mean to you?

PK

Scent is an invisible symbol we use to enhance or accentuate our identities. It’s the ephemeral whisper of purpose, intent, place, and being.

NL

Creating scent is such powerful alchemy. When did you know you had “the gift?”

PK

I think the nose, like any part of our being, learns as it’s used with greater precision, attention, focus. We can all smell with greater nuance if we slow down and hold an aroma for critical inspection—the same way we might slowly roll a piece of chocolate on the tongue. As a kid, I was always easily overwhelmed by certain perfumes or other naturally occurring aromas we encounter in the world.

NL

You always seem so collected. How do you find work-life balance? 

PK

Thank you! One of the compliments I get most often is that I seem calm, which is interesting because I’ve always suffered from anxiety. Strangely, it’s gotten way better as the business has grown. I think when there’s so much going on, it becomes much more clear what really matters most. Constant prioritization and attention management are your greatest allies in work-life balance. I swear by Kanban, the Pomodoro technique, and a constant capture system (a single list) for task management. My other lifestyle and product allies include liposomal vitamin C, exercise, lots of water, healthy food, and Alexis Smart Flower Remedies. I’m currently taking Wholehearted.

“Scent is an invisible symbol we use to enhance or accentuate our identities.”

perfume book
patrick hand

NL

What gets you inspired?

PK

Reading, wandering around LA, journaling, daydreaming, sketching, being in nature, and listening to friends’ stories for empathy, compassion, understanding.

NL

What are your favorite wellness go-to’s that keep you glowing from the inside out?

PK

Gen mai cha. Lots of mineral water. Hyaluronic acid. Green juice. Leafy greens all day with olive oil and flake salt. Hearty smoothies in the morning. Running. Yoga. Reading. Learning.

NL

How do you self care?

PK

Long baths. Cat naps. Doodling. A phone call with a sweet friend.

NL

Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?

PK

Save 4x more money than you think you need to launch with impact. Do not cut corners. Do the work (whenever it’s needed, even at 3am). Call in favors—the people who care for you want to help. But say thank you, often. And hug your friends.

NL

What makes you feel powerful?

PK

My queer community and friends. Writing down my feelings. Camel pose. A dab of blush.

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