Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maria Mcelroy, owner of Aroma M, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The inspiration for Aroma M is Japan, the Geisha, and bridging cultures. I am very influenced by Japanese culture, and the wonderful years I lived there. The tradition of Geisha is all about beauty, elegance, glamour, and mystery….this is the allure for me. This is what perfume is all about. We want to wear perfume and feel beautiful, powerful, and sensual. I want you to try on a scent, as you would slip on a silk kimono. One may be white and pure and delicately embroidered with gold, while another is black and adorned with bold designs, brocaded and resplendent with a sort of mystery. My fragrances are like this. Noire or Rouge is that black Kimono. It envelops you in sensuality and makes you feel rather daring. Blanche and Pink are like the white Kimono, one worn by a young girl (Maiko) or a bride. It is flirty and a bit shy. We all have a bit of the Geisha inside of us. Aroma M allows us to explore that mystic. Aroma M perfumes are both modern and ancient, delicate and bold…a true dichotomy of olfactory exploration.

Tell us about yourself

After spending seven years in Japan, I returned to the US, where my newly found adoration of fragrance led me to experimentation in my own home. Imagine bottles lining every surface and essential oils wafting through the rooms cluttered with hand-printed Japanese papers and cherry blossoms (my flower of inspiration)! I started creating perfumes, bottling them in delicate glass adorned with silks and velvet, and friends started asking for more and more of them. Aroma M started without much thought; it was organic and fun, and I really did not have any fears.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I decided that I wanted to launch my perfume collection in Bergdorf Goodman. So I made a cold call and got an appointment with the buyer; the rest is history! After that, the collection was launched at Harrods of London.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think if you are not able to wear a lot of hats at the same time, being a business owner can be difficult. With over two decades working as a founder, it has become part of the routine now, but it was not in the beginning, it took some getting used to.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The only advice I would give is that you must really have a passion for your business because it can be very competitive and takes a lot of work and time to create a successful brand. You must be up for a challenge. It is important that you love it because that energy will help get you through the tough times, which there inevitable are in any industry. Ultimately have fun, and enjoy yourself. It’s a privilege to be able to create without restrictions, be brave and follow your vision.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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