Photo by Francine Zaslow

The Story Behind The Maker, the Fragrance Brand Inspired by Travel Fantasies

Scent is deeply transportive, and if there is a marker of The Maker perfumes, it’s bottled nostalgia.

The story of The Maker’s fragrances started in the 1960s in the Soviet Union, where the only perfume available was Krasnaya Moskva (Red Moscow), so potent it stained clothing. Growing up in Saint Petersburg, Lev Glazman recalls vividly the day in late October when one of his mother’s friends knocked on their window and told her to come quickly. Donning coats over their pyjamas, Glazman and his mother rushed to a warehouse, where a crowd had gathered to purchase black market goods. There, his mother spent the equivalent of six months’ rent on a bottle of Lancôme’s Climat perfume. Smelling it for the first time was an experience he will never forget. “I was so overtaken by what I was smelling, it triggered something in me,” Glazman recalls. “The seed was planted right there. I could not stop thinking about it.”



Beyond the scent of the perfume, he was in awe of the way his mother seemed to transform while wearing the fragrance and the close ties between olfactory senses and identity. “I’d come home from school, and the room would smell like my mom and remind me of her. I understood at the time, the power of fragrance.”

Glazman would carry this fascination and appreciation for the transformative capacity of scent through the decades, slowly building a collection of perfumes after immigrating to Israel as a child and later the United States, where he would meet Alina Roytberg in the early ’80s while she was studying fashion design at Parsons School of Design. Initially, the two didn’t think much of each other, but when they reconnected nearly a decade later, they married (though now they’re strictly business partners). All the while, Glazman was teaching himself to layer scent and conceptualize complicated aromas in his head. “From the beginning, I knew he was very incredible with fragrance because we were literally friends for a few days and he gave me a gift of a scent,” Roytberg says of Glazman.


“When people give you fragrance gifts, usually they’re designer or something. But it was this amazing scent, Miss Balmain, which is like one of these really old classic things. How does somebody read your aura to pick a fragrance for you without even knowing you too well?”


In 1991, the duo founded Fresh Beauty. Inspired by the no-nonsense beauty and wellness remedies of their respective Russian and Ukrainian upbringings, Fresh Beauty quickly gained global recognition for its formulas focused on natural ingredients and continues to be one of the beauty industry’s stalwart brands. Though Glazman and Roytberg sold majority stakes to Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH in 1999, they continue in an advisory capacity for Fresh Beauty, travelling the world. Those countless nights spent in hotels were the spark for their next venture: The Maker, a lifestyle brand encompassing a boutique hotel in Hudson, New York, a line of fragrances, scented candles, and homewares.



Photo by Francine Zaslow


The hotel came first, a four-year renovation project that opened its doors in 2020. The 11-room property is like stepping into a creative’s home: a bohemian jewel box of antiques, art, and over 1,000 lamps (another passion of the fragrance architect). With room designs inspired by different creative archetypes such as the architect, the writer, and the artist, it rapidly became a countryside retreat for tastemakers from up and down the East Coast. A small alcove off the stairwell contains a cabinet full of bottles of perfume, a tiny selection of Glazman’s larger fragrance library that he rotates through the hotel for guests to experience. Much of what you see there is available for purchase: linens, glassware, wallpaper, tarot cards, cushions, and furniture.



But the intent was always for the hotel to serve as a home for a fragrance line, so it was just a matter of time before The Maker expanded to scent. In 2021, six genderless fragrances were launched—Fire, scented with juniper berry and Tahitian vanilla, the bright and citrusy Libertine, the sensual white musk of Naked, the summery and fruity Paradiso, the velvet florals of Wild, and the leather and wood of Stag (which won the Fragrance Foundation’s indie fragrance of the year award in 2022). Candles too: Spiritus (woods and spices), Gardener (citrus and herbs), and Artist (fruits and flowers). “When we travel, we are fantasies,” Roytberg asserts. “We imagine ourselves being a certain way somewhere, where no one knows you or maybe you just want to test a personality. You become your own maker of that. Travel fantasies are powerful whether you live them or you long for them.”

The Maker has since expanded its offering to six candles and made its Canadian debut at Sephora in March. Lover, a woody and warm scent with notes of sandalwood, fig, and vetiver, is the top-selling fragrance and already poised to become a hero product for the brand.




Scent is deeply transportive, and if there is a marker of The Maker perfumes, it’s bottled nostalgia. Sultry and sensual, each of the vegan and cruelty-free formulas is made without parabens, formaldehydes, or synthetic dyes. The grooved bottles and candle vessels, the brainchild of Roytberg, who serves as The Maker’s creative director and develops the brand’s eco-friendly packaging and branding, make for a noteworthy vanity accessory, the design reminiscent of the fluted glassware found throughout the hotel. Applying her background in fashion design to conceive the form and function of the bottles, she pays special attention to reducing waste. “If you think of the bottle and you take off the cap, it’s quite light—it uses about 30 per cent less glass than your traditional prestige glass fragrance bottles,” she says.

As for what’s inside, “The juice in the bottle means nothing until you put it on your body,” Glazman explains. “So the final maker of the fragrance is the person who wears it.”