May 24, 2024

Scent Notes

Carolyn Mix & Darcy Doniger of 2 Note

Interview by Mary MacGill


MM: What inspired you to start 2 Note?

CM & DD: The seed moment: It was 2005, the very beginning of “us.”

Carolyn’s college friend called from Seattle to say she was getting married. Upon hearing the exciting news, Carolyn knew she wanted to make her friend a perfume for her wedding day. She prepared a list of questions to ask, then got her box of essential oils down from the shelf, and set out to make a wedding day perfume. A blend both for her celebration and then to remember and revisit the day—a “scent memory,” so to speak.

This was all a surprise to Darcy, who had not yet learned of Carolyn’s longstanding love affair with making natural products and botanical perfumes. During the seven-hour flight to Seattle for the wedding, Darcy decided to ask Carolyn if she would consider starting a brand together. The idea of creating products that could not only be healthy but also sensual and inspiring in the art of living seemed too beautiful of an idea to pass up.

Thus, 2 Note was born in 2006!

Darcy, a true entrepreneurial spirit, has been the visionary for 2 Note from the get-go, which includes developing our brand name and concept. 2 Note refers to the two of us, notes in scent, as well as notes in sound. We’re both musicians, so this play on words, as well as the crossover terminology in music and perfumery (i.e., notes, scales, chords, etc.), has provided endless creative delight over the past 18 years. If you visit our shop in Kinderhook, NY, you’ll find a whole array of retired instruments that have been donated to 2 Note over the years—storied sculptures that intermingle with our botanical products. If you catch us on the right day, you may even find us playing our instruments

.In 2024, 2 Note continues as a journey of personal devotion to being and doing good in the world through offering useful, beautiful, and healthy botanical formulations.


MM: Carolyn, what’s your favorite part of running your business?

CM: I love formulating new products, as well as making fresh batches of customer favorites. Working with a botanical palette offers me presence of mind. I find it meditative and revel in bringing joy to customers using our products. So often, scent is overlooked as part of small daily rituals. I hope to bring a little extra breath and brightness to those moments.

MM: Darcy, same question?

DD: I like creating an experience and a journey for customers and people just exploring our brand for the first time. It’s not so much about the product they leave with as it is the human exchange that I hope they remember. As the developer of our website, I also enjoy the challenge of creating an experience for those who engage with us online.


MM: What role does music play in your creative process?

CM & DD: Music is our muse! Whether it’s a specific piece that inspires a perfume, or the musical ambiance we aim to create for our customers during their visit to our shop, it’s both a mood soundscape and a reflection of our creative process. Our perfume Sonata is inspired by JS Bach’s Sonatas for Solo Violin.

MM: When do you know a scent is “finished”?

CM & DD: This aspect of perfumery requires the most delicate balance of patience and perseverance, with a topper of intuition. For us, it’s taking an initial vision or sound, memory, concept, scene… and attempting to reveal that through a scentscape. Notes that both present an initial reaction and unfold over time to tell a story.

MM: High-quality sourcing is part of every 2 Note recipe. How did you go about sourcing jojoba oil?

CM & DD: We started our business in Maine and went about sourcing every organic ingredient we could find from reputable suppliers across the country and the world. We’ve been working with the same organic jojoba company for 18 years!


MM: What images did you conjure when coming up with scents for Mary MacGill? Music? Any other points of inspiration?

CM & DD: First and foremost, Mary is a source of inspiration! She’s a creative force and such a kind, strong, brilliant woman. A person with both a clear vision and a sense of wonder. When she asked if we would consider collaborating, we did not hesitate.

Images: Sun-kissed shoulders, beach paths, sandy flip flops, bicycle rides, ocean waves, rocky cliffs
Music: 1970’s summer hits, Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies, acoustic music at a farmer’s market.


MM: What are your dogs' names? Do they play a part at 2 Note?

CM & DD: Enzo & Hubert (Hughie Shortie). These guys… they inspire us daily to be present, to play, to keep life simple and kind. This, in turn, influences everything we do and every decision we make. Thus far, we have not been able to interest them in joining the payroll, as they deem themselves professional nappers.

MM: Favorite summer food?

CM & DD: Any and every fresh vegetable grown in our garden!


Body Oils

A collaboration between 2 Note and Mary MacGill. Nourishing body oils with two distinct scents inspired by a sense of place & the musical quality of our memories.

Body Oil - Black Rock
Body Oil - Black Rock
Body Oil - Black Rock
Body Oil - Black Rock

Body Oil - Black Rock

Body Oil - Rodman's Hollow
Body Oil - Rodman's Hollow
Body Oil - Rodman's Hollow
Body Oil - Rodman's Hollow

Body Oil - Rodman's Hollow


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