The Aroma Labs scent the scene in Grand Rapids

Mary Dupuis, Staff Writer

Courtesy / Aroma Labs Facebook

The Aroma Labs, a small business dedicated to allowing the community to develop its own custom scents, recently held their grand opening in Grand Rapids.

The doors to The Aroma Labs were opened in Grand Rapids in late October, with the Kalamazoo location opening in the summer of 2019. 

The Aroma Labs are open to the public, as well as businesses. Appointments and walk-ins are both welcome, and they host bridal showers, holiday parties, fundraisers, and more. 

Guests are given the choice to create soaps, shaving cream, car fragrance, sprays, bath salts, room diffusers, hand sanitizer, scrubs, lotions, perfume, and the list goes on with their own personalized fragrance. 

Once their fragrance is created, The Aroma Labs keeps the information so the customer can reorder or recreate their scent at any time. 

The Aroma Labs also offers their own popular scents in many different mediums, created by founder Tanya Thompson. 

Thompson said she used her own personal experiences to inspire the concept of The Aroma Labs. 

“It’s all the things that make me, me,” Thompson said. 

Thompson’s 15 years of experience bartending helped to cultivate her passion for mixology and the creation of a warm atmosphere. However, her crafting of custom products stemmed earlier, from her own grieving process. 

“I like making the products, that’s where I came from,” Thompson said. “About twelve years ago I moved back to Michigan. I lost my husband, my girls’ father, at the time, and in the grieving process, you have to do something with that. You can’t be in your mind. So I would make things and I would be in my body. It would just help me through the grieving process and then I would give it away as gifts.”

Thompson said at the time, she felt that she could express her love best through these handmade gifts. 

“As a single widowed mom with two little girls, I didn’t have the resources to buy the bus driver and the teacher and everybody gifts. So, I would make things. I’d make chapsticks and deodorants and toilet bombs and scrubs and lotions and bug spray and you name it. I’d give it away because it’s part of my love language, gifts and acts of service, so it’s all wrapped in one.”

During this time, people would come to her home in hopes to learn how to make the same products she had become so good at creating. She also began her bartending career whilst returning to school. 

Thompson earned an Associates’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree in Sales and Business Marketing with Food and Packaging, and then earned a Master’s Degree from Western Michigan University one year ago, which helped her to develop her business plan for The Aroma Labs. 

“I love educating so I also worked at the university (WMU) n the Business College and I helped the students, so it’s part of training, too, since The Aroma Labs is a three-step process,” Thompson said.

Thompson was mentored by perfume expert Tedd Neenan in Chicago, Illinois, took some online courses, learned from boutique perfumers in London and Paris and trained with a husband and wife that own their own private laboratories and work with high-end companies’ products. 

Following all of her work in the creation of and training for The Aroma Labs, Thompson began working in her basement, grew her name through pop-up shops, opened in a smaller space, and finally opened her first location in Kalamazoo. 

To help her business to survive throughout COVID-19, Thompson began a project she calls, “White Labels.”

This project involves Thompson’s partnership with other businesses, such as collaborating with car salesmen. For every car sold, the buyer would receive a custom car fragrance with the seller’s name and information on it. 

As of today, the project has spread to boutiques, zero waste shops and more. 

Thompson said one of the reasons she is so excited to be located in downtown Grand Rapids is the opportunity to continue to partner with local businesses.

“I’m really excited to dig into Grand Rapids and really get to know the community and even make some business partnerships with the White Label Project,” Thompson said. 

She said she is also looking forward to offering customers a unique experience. 

“People come downtown to have an experience, whether it’s an experience with food, an experience with the arts, music, it’s all available. So that’s why I chose the space downtown,” Thompson said. 

Thompson hopes that the experience guests take away from their time at The Aroma Labs is memorable, and joyful. 

“We have so many places to buy, order, ship. This is an experience,” Thompson said. “You can come in with someone you enjoy or by yourself and make a high-quality product for yourself and connect with a group. I hope they take away joy, just joy of the experience, and joy being downtown.”

Thompson is looking forward to connecting with the city and the people of Grand Rapids, and bringing a calming, fun experience to the energy downtown.