Yes, that IS my husband reading People Magazine in bed with the pup.
So, you all are like, "Hello, lady? We totally want to know about D.S. & Durga."
As you should, dear reader. As you should.
Kavi is a recovered goth and an architect whose hair I have eternally envied. David, her husband, is a musician and an self-taught olfactorist. He's a natural. They are both new-ish parents to their son. D.S. & Durga was spawned from a batch of aftershaves they created as Holiday gifts for friends one year. (D.S. is David and Durga is his nickname for Kavi) Kavi and I attended Vassar College together and I'm excited to share with you one of my talented and beautiful friends friends.
That's us senior year. Look at that hair!!! Sorry for the poor image quality. I took a photo of a photo with my iPhone. Deal with it..
So, you two met through one of Kavi's old boyfriends and hit it off. Are you still friends with the guy?
We actually met on avenue B in New York in the summer of 2007. David picked me up! We have been together since the moment we met.
Not sure how I was so misinformed about their introduction, but the answer is totally romantical.
Here's a snippet from the D.S. & Durga website that expounds on how they got started better than I did:
Together they soon began tincturing flowers, herbs, and spices to make aftershaves for friends. When they realized that none of their friends shaved (this was 2007, mind you), they started blending oils, resins, and plant extracts. The results were small batch perfumes and colognes, and friends loved them. Durga had an idea: she could distill her designs into the architecture of fragrances (and the packages they live in) and D.S. could write songs in scent.
When did you officially decide to start your own business?
We started making holiday gifts for friends later that year  and decided to go official with it in the spring of 2008.
When did it become a full-time job for each of you? Did it happen one after the other, or simultaneously?
A year later, spring of 2009. That’s when we had our fateful meeting with Anthropologie and they placed an order that enabled us to leave our jobs and focus on DSD full time. We quit them within a few weeks of each other.
Did you start creating at home, or did you move into your studio space in Brooklyn from the get-go?
We started mixing at David’s apartment, which wasn’t used as a home much anyway. We lived at my place and used his as a “lab” for a few months til we got our studio.
source: Instagram @dsanddurga
I work closely with my husband when I am editing his work, or other biomedical research papers (he's a biostatistican aka mathemagician). Our house is two stories and usually I retreat upstairs and communicate via gchat when we are working together. Do you find it hard working together as husband and wife? How do you cope with those moments when you just want to tell the other to "SHUT IT!"?
This is an essential part of our work/home harmony. We do not work in the same place! I work from home. I like to be around our son, even though he is in the care of his amazing nanny during the week. I get to steal a hug whenever I like, and that is pretty important to me. I get the best of both worlds. I am a working mother, but I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out on watching our son grow up. My work, which is the design side of the biz, is all computer based anyway. David works in our studio mixing up new recipes and other scent related projects.
So perfectly titled "Small Batch Handmade Olfactory Tonics & Aromatic Preparations"
Kavi, you are in charge of all things design related. How involved in the process of creating the scents are you and vice versa?
We both work on our stuff alone, then bring it to the other for critique and approval. Generally, if I don’t like something he has made, we won’t use it, and vice versa. Sometimes we each pull out our “expert card” though and say “I’m sorry you don’t like this scent/design, but I feel really strongly about it, so it’s staying.” And we both have to respect that, because he really does know scent more than I do, and I like to think years of being a designer have given me a degree of expertise.
You mentioned that while you were pregnant David created specific fragrances for you. Was this because there are ingredients in standard fragrances that could potentially be harmful to a baby, or was it because you were sensitive to smells during your pregnancy?
Yes, there are definitely a number of natural ingredients that can be harmful for a fetus.
Being from Utah where reproduction runs rampant, I can't help but see a very real market for pregnancy perfumes. Is this something you've thought of and/or are interested in pursuing?
We’ve thought about it, but it’s a big statement to say something is safe for a pregnant person. When I am pregnant I avoid wearing perfume altogether!
Has your little guy shown an interest in fragrance?
He has! Whenever David brings what he is working on home for me to try, our son always has to be a part of the process. We hand him the blotter paper and he takes a sniff. It’s pretty adorable.
Anthropology carries three of your scents. How did your companies become involved with each other?
We are good friends with Hollie, one of the buyers there (in another department) and she told the fragrance buyer about our line. We had a meeting and that was that. We decided, with them, to develop 3 scents exclusive to their store. At this point we have done 7 different scents for them, all limited run. We plan to do one more next year.
I have to admit that a huge pet peeve of mine is when something I love is discontinued. Chanel's make-up line being the greatest offender to me personally. However, your company works in small batches whereas Chanel does not. How often do you discontinue scents and what are the primary reasons for doing so?
Yes we are guilty of that. For us, it’s just trying to tame the beast. We started with something like 20 scents and it was too much to handle, formula and inventory wise. We get emails daily from disappointed customers who have been searching for their favorite discontinued scent. Sometimes we are able to help them out and find a bottle of it here or there. It’s something we keep in mind, moving forward, and will try not to do much. But it’s always good to refine the line, so you know you are always offering the products you are most proud of.
Getting back to Anthro for a moment, how long do you see this relationship continuing? I know that your fragrances are very popular in my store specifically and you can be sure I am always making your products known to our shoppers.Thanks Lindsay! I don’t know the answer to this. We love working with Anthro and do have plans for a scent in 2013. Beyond that, I don’t know if there is room for it.
How much pressure is there to create a new "line" or "collection" of fragrances each year? Is there a standard in the fragrance industry similar to that of the fashion industry?
We don’t know much about the standard, and don’t care. We release things when they are ready and we are ready. We have a new line coming out this spring of 3 fragrances. It is not in the D.S. & Durga line. We call it HYLNDS and more details will be available soon.
Watch for the details, y'all! I am fortunate to have a tiny bit of inside info and this is exciting and BIG!!! You know I'll keep you in the loop... because I CARE.
What are both of your favorite scents at the moment, D.S. & Durga or otherwise? I know Kavi loves the smell of roses and I agree. Over the last year I have also garnered an obsession with orange blossom.
I love orange blossom. I am a sucker for white flowers. All flowers. We have a tuberose-based scent that we are working on. Not sure when it will be released but it is intoxicating. Reminds me of India, because when I visit my aunt’s house she always has a bouquet of tuberose on my nightstand and I am addicted to that scent!
Does it offend you that I am practically addicted to "Skin Bracer"? I even forced my husband to buy it so that I didn't look so creepy huffing it in the grocery store.
I had to google that. The color offends me, yes!
Is there anything awesome that I haven't touched upon? I don't want my reader's to miss out on anything D.S. & Durga.
We are planning on adding a scent to the D.S. & Durga original line next year too! In addition to the 3 HYLNDS scents.
Finally, if you could have anyone endorse your brand, would it be Roger Federer and why?
I would like Roger Federer to endorse our line because he is the epitome of style and grace. And oh so foxy.
Seriously, dear readers, stay tuned for awesome updates on D.S. & Durga as they become available.
Hope you loved this as much as I did. Get yourself fragranced and fast. You totally deserve it.
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