Shabnam Tavakol

About Shabnam

Kismet Olfactive is a New York City-based independent fragrance studio founded by bohemian-perfumer Shabnam Tavakol. Born and raised in California, Shabnam—Farsi for “morning dew”—is the daughter of Iranian-immigrant parents who escaped the violent 1979 Revolution in Iran, relocating to the U.S. by way of hard-won efforts and a string of good fortune. Recognizing this fortuitous past, Kismet—from the Persian qismat, meaning “fate,” or, “what is meant to be”—translates the serendipitous moments that make up our lives into wearable scents.
Shabnam studied fragrance creation at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in South France. After graduating, she worked professionally in Paris and New York City, yet soon grew disappointed by the perfume industry’s rigid conformity, privileging corporate hierarchy, political correctness, and a hard line between ‘natural perfumery’ and ‘fine fragrance’—large-fragrance-house perfumers seemed disconnected from clientele, pressured to formulate from marketing briefs, consumer-projections, pie charts, analytics. Seeking an alternative, Shabnam founded Kismet to establish a more intimate, inclusive, and ‘naturals’-integrative approach to fine fragrance creation.
Wanting to bridge her Persian heritage and Western upbringing through Kismet, Shabnam finds inspiration through a range of influences that overlap and transcend both worlds: 1960s revolutionaries in music, film, and fashion, experimental storytelling, psychedelia, nostalgia, human connection, theories of time, morning hours, sensuality, synesthesia, moodiness, eastern philosophies, free spirits, and a general revolt against the establishment at large. Likewise, Shabnam looks to olfactive genealogy and its cycles, as well as the interconnections between ancient Eastern scent practices, classic French perfume style, and contemporary trends, to help define Kismet’s offering of bold, unisex fragrances.
Prizing process over profit, the journey over destination, Kismet represents custom small batch formulation using hand-selected, ethically sustainable materials in its dedication to artful olfactive storytelling.
Learn more about Shabnam at Kismet Olfactive