Ligonier Entrepreneur Explores Fragrant Side of Life

By Eric Olson

October 8, 2010 Updated Oct 8, 2010 at 12:24 PM EDT

LIGONIER, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Ligonier Indiana is still a struggling town, not yet the kind of place you’d expect dreams to come true. But just off Mercer Street, right by the railroad tracks, that’s just what’s happening.

Most days you’ll find Renee Gabet working on her art. She’s an artist whose medium is not paint or sculpture, but fragrance. Renee is founder, owner and CEO of Annie Oakley Perfumery, maker of fine perfumes, body lotions and about fifty other products that tickle the olfactory nerves. Annie Oakley started thirty years ago in Renee’s kitchen where she’d blend fragrances over the sink. But it really began before that, back in her Fort Wayne childhood.

“My grandmother and mother would go shopping at Wolf and Dessauer,” she says. “The perfume department was next door and I’d go over there and be smelling all the perfume.”

Those childhood sense memories propelled Renee to launch Annie Oakley with a vow to use nothing but natural ingredients.

“Back in the 80’s with fragrances they were all synthetic very sheer very harsh chemicals,” she says. “I wanted to bring back the naturals.”

Workers are finishing up Annie Oakley’s latest expansion, a fragrance studio where customers will see how fragrances are created, blended and bottled. It will be a great tourist destination and another chapter of a very creative woman’s story.

“Would you say that you’re living out your dream?” she is asked. “ I think I am,” she answers. “Yes I am.”

Eric Olson, out in Your Country.

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