Meet Carina Chaz, founder and CEO of Dedcool - the unisex, non-toxic and cruelty free fragrance brand that focuses on creating cool, clean formulas that just make sense. Carina is changing the way we look at fragrance and it incorporates into our daily lives. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about how she got her start, how she’s moving forward in the midst of a pandemic with her minimalist approach to beauty.
Pre-Dedcool era-- Tell us a little bit about your story before you launched your own brand. When, Where and how did it all begin?
My parents founded the company LaNatura in the late 80’s, manufacturing and supplying hotels with luxury, clean, custom made spa products and so I grew up in that world and really owe my career to it. I learned everything from my mum and had the opportunity to create scent profiles for their products whilst also playing around with my own little projects! We lived a very holistic lifestyle, everything was organic and natural and I actually wasn’t allowed to wear perfume due to the toxic makeup of the ingredients but when you’re young, you want to go against what your parents are telling you and that’s where I really found my passion for fragrance. At that time, I never had much interest in the skincare aspect of the business, it was more so the scents that fascinated me.
The birth of Dedcool-- How did you turn your fascination for scents into a brand and why?
I started DedCool in 2016, I was still in college at the time and it all began as a passion project. After some positive feedback from family and friends, I launched the collection. Scent 2 being the original scent to the brand and scent 1 having been created previously. I began an instagram page which was essentially a moodboard, it gained some interest and gave me the confidence to continue on my journey in making fragrances that not only spoke to me but to other people too. I wanted to create something that really resonated with people like myself who prioritised sustainability, clean ingredient makeup and transparency as these are things that I needed in my products and didn’t necessarily see on the market.
I would say we officially launched in 2017 with our e-comm store and 4 years later we’re in about 150 stores, in countries all over the world so It’s pretty amazing to see how my art project turned into my full time job which is something I never thought would happen!
What is the concept behind the brand and how did it come to be?
The whole concept of Dedcool really began with women wanting to wear men’s cologne and searching for those masculine notes whilst also wanting to be a conscious consumer. I wanted to create clean, non toxic and unisex products without compromising on the quality and so with that DedCool was born.
How much of you is emulated in the brand and how do you find meshing your personal aesthetic together with it?
I have always said that fragrance is an extension of your aesthetic, it's the first thing people notice and the lasting impression you leave on people.
All of the scents are from my personal portfolio and my palette so it’s amazing to see the response I've been getting. I feel like when you make your art and share it with other people, it can be a little intimidating but now, of course since I have a few years under my belt, my confidence grows and now it’s more about building a community and growing the brand around that.
I’m still trying to find the balance between passion and business and it’s an interesting relationship. Starting the concept at 21 and now being 26, I've definitely matured and become more exploratory. I do find myself gravitating to different designs, branding and marketing styles and I’m finding out how to bring all of those inspirations into my brand, maybe it’s something I have to separate!
How do you find inspiration for your scents and how does that process work?
I would say creating a scent takes around 9 months. It can be as simple as writing down scents that i’m intrigued by or (pre-covid), tapping people on the shoulder and asking them what fragrance they’re wearing! I do a tonne of research by ordering samples and picking up on notes I like. It can be such a personal process and a lot of my inspiration draws from nature and of course keeping up with what particular notes are popular and combining that with scents I like and want to share. All of the Dedcool scents are very gender neutral and with 11 scent profiles there really is a scent for everyone. The layering fragrance “Milk” ties in with all our scents and binds together the family of DedCool fragrances.
What does a typical morning look like for you?
I get my best work done in the morning, I feel very lucky that I have an office space right about my manufacturing facility which is helping to create some sort of normality in my life during these times. I tend to get there for about 8.30 which means I have the space to myself to get work done and not be distracted. I like to have my morning to myself. I would've said I drink coffee or matcha but I'm off caffeine so I stick to a hot tea!
Do you have any rituals that help you to stay grounded?
Getting to hike, daily! That’s kind of just what I need to feed my soul and I'm taking this time to push forward with the things that really matter like health and wellness. That’s the foundation.
Do you find it easy to relax or do you have to actively force yourself to chill out?
Definitely have to force myself! It’s something that my body really needs and I ignored it for so long. So, now I like to take an hour before or after work to just sit in silence, gather my thoughts and practice gratitude to ground myself.
What is your relationship to skincare/wellness and what are some of your favourite products?
I’m a firm believer in prevention and going to the root of the issue. I’m a very minimal person and once I find a product I like, I stick to it! I have brands that I like and products that I’m interested in but I've always found myself to be on the side of treatment instead of repair. For me it’s all about eating right for my skin, focusing on the internal and drinking lots of water. All of these things are the core of my skincare as opposed to something like masking everyday which i’m not great at! It's so different for everyone and I believe in understanding what you need for your own body.
I do use a lot of LaNatura products because it’s free for me (lol) and of course I trust my mom more than anything to make my skincare but I do love Josh Rosebrook - I swear by his nutrient day cream. I also love a good face oil and Corpus natural deodorant. Like I said, I'm very minimal but I know what I like!
When do you feel most beautiful and why?
I feel most beautiful in my natural state, when I feel comfortable. Whether that’s in sweat pants at home or in my office with my lab coat on. I feel like a traditional answer would be something fancy like “in my heels” but that’s just not me! I’m a very relaxed, California, sweatpants on kind of gal.
How do you continue and steer your brand into new and exciting places and what’s next for you and Dedcool?
I'm a firm believer in being present in all aspects of my business because I started small and had to learn the ropes myself. Now, I have an amazing small team but I think it's important for me to have a grasp of it all. I’m not a micromanager and i’m super easy to work with but I do want to know everything that’s going on!
As for what’s next! We are fortunate in that we are able to make everything in house. At this time, I really wanted to immediately focus on the essentials like lip balms and detergent etc because that’s what people are more in need of right now.
At our core, we are a fragrance company so of course I want to create more scents, I’m currently working on how we can incorporate scent more into our daily life and what those products might look like. I really want to explore how we can have this extension of fragrance beyond perfume - focus on new and fun ways to experience scent. We’re also working on some big collaborations for the end of the year!
So, really just continuing to grow in a positive way, focusing on community and education which will be the moving factors in what we can expect from Dedcool in the future.
I am currently in the process of rebranding LaNatura and pivoting the business to be more direct to consumer, one that is more modern and can live alongside DedCool!