Beauty

How Heather D'Angelo Made A Scent That Is Sustainable

We caught up with the founder of Carta who is adding her own voice the perfume industry.
Reading time 3 minutes

As consumers, how much do we actually know about the products we use? The perfectly packaged products that line our medicine cabinets add a certain chic aesthetic. The products we use speak to who we are or who we aspire to be and if you are lucky, they actually make you feel good. A question we all must ask ourselves is how good do they make our planet feel?

Heather D’Angelo, the founder of Carta, wants all to know that her new fragrance, Moena, is sustainable and does not have a negative impact on the planet.

The new fragrance was crafted in partnership with a grassroots reforestation organization called Camino Verde, located in Peru. The organization was distilling Moena Alcanfor, an essential oil that had never been used before. D’Angelo was immediately drawn to the oil for several reasons. The scent reminded of her time in Malaysian rainforest during her second undergraduate career where she was studying tropical ecology at Columbia University. She also appreciated the mission behind Camino Verde, all of the profits acquired from sales of the oils were being used to purchase primary land (land that has been untouched) and land that had been degraded in some way to re-forest it.

“I think a lot of people give lip service to sustainability, but then they don’t actually put it into practice,” D’Angelo said. “I went to Peru and basically checked it out for myself and it all added up.”

It seems in the beauty world in recent months the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethically sourced’ are hot words, but D’Angelo’s interest in these two concepts stems from long ago.

She was always interested in science but “sucked at math,” so she followed her artistic sense and attended Parson’s School of Design for her first undergraduate degree and worked at a gallery in her free time. Unfortunately, the gallery went bankrupt and closed which left her with lots of free time. So, she took a continuing adult education course which turned into an internship at the Museum of Natural History. This experience encouraged her to follow her scientific dreams by getting her second bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. All the while, her indie-pop band, Au Revoir Simone, was signed and set out for a world tour. It took her seven years to complete her second undergraduate degree, but it was filled with eye-opening experiences.

Several trips to Malaysia where she was extracting the soil cores from the earth—work she deems as back-breaking in the humid, hot weather—led exposed her to the aromatics in the soil. When she returned to New York and met perfumer David Moltz of D.S. & Durga, she realized she could pair her two loves: art and science to make a luxurious, sustainable product.

“That was my first time ever seeing a perfume lab and I just was immediately fell so hard in love with the whole thing,” said D’Angelo. “Seeing David at his bench with all these little bottles and he was just like a mad scientist but also an artist and that really spoke to me and my background.”

Her first perfume, Moena, is reminiscent of the time she spent digging up soil. It has hints of ginger and tobacco leaves. She hopes that the scent will make who wear it feel seen, connect with others who wear the scent and become mindful of the products we use.  

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