Dawn & Samantha Goldworm, Co-Founders

With leading brands like Valentino and Cadillac on their roster, 12.29 co-founders Dawn and Samantha Goldworm are well-versed in the visceral language of scent. In our interview, the sister duo explains just what “olfactive branding” is and how it creates connections between a brand and its clientele. We also got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to develop scent identities for brands the across hospitality, fashion, transportation and retail industries.

Describe the company/brand 12.29. What do you do?

At 12.29 we use the visceral language of scent to transform brand building. We control emotion. We influence behavior. We change the way you see and more importantly feel by creating immediate and memorable connections between brands and consumers.

Leading brands partner with 12.29 to transform communication and deepen brand loyalty. We evolve the modern luxury experience for hospitality, fashion, transportation and retail companies around the world.

What was the genesis for this business idea and how did you get it to market launch?

Dawn, the 12.29 Creative Director & Nose, returned to NYU graduate school during her time as the in-house nose at Coty, to explore what was yet to become “olfactive branding” in a Master’s thesis.  After working in the traditional perfume industry for a number of years, she felt there was more to explore with scent, emotion and memory.  After leaving NYU and transferring from Coty New York to the Coty Paris office, Dawn started experimenting with the notion of creating olfactive identities for brands.  At this time, Samantha joined forces and 12.29 started with fashion shows and art fairs and quickly started designing scents for brand environments and products.  Today, 12.29 works with some of the most prestigious brands in the world to create tangible connections between the brand and its clientele.  

Please briefly describe the process of how you work with a brand to create a scent.

When 12.29 partners with a brand to translate their brand into a scent identity, we bring the brand through a creative development process that is a rigorous examination of all existing brand references including brand aesthetics, values, communications, emotional territory, target market demographics, and history. With the brand story in mind, the final scent identity is designed from decades of research on olfactive preferences, traditional perfumery expertise and training, consumer insights knowledge and global fragrance & flavor testing.

Was there a turning point for the business along the way, perhaps the signing of a major client or retailer, that significantly elevated your brand to the success it has today?

For modern luxury brands, we use the visceral language of scent to transform brand building by creating a brand identity and telling the brand story.  One of our most successful partnerships is with Valentino.  The Valentino Scent Identity is present in all of the Valentino boutiques globally. It is also experienced during the bi-annual Haute Couture, Ready to Wear Women’s, Ready to Wear Men’s and Resort Runway Collection Fashion Shows in Paris, Rome and New York. During the sales season, the scent transforms the showroom spaces in Paris and Milan.  The scent identity we designed is based on the the iconic Valentino red color.  

“Valentino symbolizes many facets of red.  The Valentino red is deep and intense.  The Valentino red has a soft and warm texture that is light and transparent.  The Valentino red is precise and timeless, laying close to the body.  The Valentino red is a whisper that says I am effortless grace, simple beauty, and pure poetry.  The Valentino scent symbolizes the power of the iconic Valentino red with the love of fresh germanium, delicate jasmine absolute, and precious amber.  This natural femininity is contrasted by a deeper red expressed by warm leather, patchouli, and fir balsam.”  

What roles do each of you carry out in the company?

Dawn is the Nose and creative vision behind 12.29.  Samantha focuses on consumer insights and marketing. 

How has it been working with your sibling?

Working with family is comforting and challenging.  

What have been some of your career highlights thus far?

In 2016, 12.29 met with the Cadillac brand team, who had been working for two years to evolve the Cadillac brand from your grandfather’s car into the modern luxury icon we know today. 12.29 partnered with Cadillac, using the visceral language of scent to further transform the perception of the brand through a custom Scent Identity for the brand. Today, the Cadillac Scent Identity, “Dare Greatly”, is diffused in the Cadillac House headquarters in New York City, Cadillac dealerships, activations and auto shows around the world.

Since the Cadillac Scent Identity Implementation, the visceral experience has made 1 million scent impressions on Cadillac customers in headquarters, auto shows, dealerships and activations around the world. The Cadillac Scent Identity differentiates the buying experience, making it unique, sophisticated and memorable.

What have been some of the marketing & PR tactics that have worked best for your brand? 

12.29 has partnered with press and marketing experts since the inception of the company to build awareness and acquire clients.  Robyn Berkley at RBBR has been at the forefront of the 12.29 press strategy since 2012.  We also partnered with branding expert Ana Andjelic to help us refine our brand message and positioning in 2017.  

Do you have plans to extend your product range?

We have many more industries to tackle and brand partnerships to create in the future.  

Are there any wish-list brands or people you’d love to work with in the future? 

Apple, Virgin, Emirates, Tesla & Supreme.

What’s your advice for other creative entrepreneurs, particularly those early in their journey?

Work hard. Fail. Do Over. Celebrate your successes. Stick with it.


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