The Back Story

MIAMI, FL, – Lisa Lewis-Manrique was just four years old when her mother introduced her to Florence Gunnarson Perfumed Essentials.  “My mother always kept a bottle on the top shelf of the linen closet,” she recalls, “once in a while, she’d pour a few drops in my bath water as a treat.  It smelled wonderful!  I was aware even then that it was something very special.”  Lisa could not have known then that this childhood memory would help shape the direction of her life.

Throughout the years, Lisa continued her mother’s practice of purchasing the scent of her childhood baths⎯called No.67.  “I had no idea who Florence Gunnarson was; never gave it a thought.  I just loved No.67 because it was a part of my life,” says Lisa.  Then, in 1996, she received a note with sad news⎯the company was closing operations and her treasured fragrance would no longer be available. “I was devastated. The captivating scent meant so much to me and it evoked such fond memories,” says Lisa. 

Through her passionate desire to hold on to her favorite fragrance⎯and quite possibly through divine fate⎯Lisa acquired the company. Thinking she had purchased a few index cards with formulas for the Gunnarson line, Lisa soon discovered that she had purchased a lab⎯and a legacy.

“There were huge stainless steel pots I could stand in, enormous mixers, walls of essential oils.  When I asked for the No.67 formula, I was presented with a thick, tattered, old notebook.” That was when Lisa discovered that her beloved No.67⎯so named because it was Gunnarson’s 67th formula⎯was made from 92 perfumes, which in turn were made from over 300 ingredients.

There were many more discoveries to come.  Once Lisa had transported the contents of the Gunnarson lab to her home, it was time to get organized.  Among the items she unpacked were boxes of old letters, photos and clippings about the remarkable Florence Gunnarson, along with hundreds of perfume formulations and a list of devoted Florence Gunnarson clients, many of them in their 70s and 80s.  Gradually, Lisa says, her mission became clear.  “It started out so innocently with my desire just to own the No.67 formula but then I realized I had to tell the world about Florence Gunnarson. I promised myself that I would infuse the company with the same kind of pride and love that Florence Gunnarson herself did.” 

No. 67, Mary Black, Wild Fern, White Blossom and Deco No. 23.  The lines’ extraordinary packaging evokes the style and glamour of the 30’s and 40’s with bright colors and exotic designs. In the process, Lisa met and befriended Mrs. Gunnarson, who lived in San Diego.  Lisa interviewed, consulted with, and even videotaped the illustrious perfumer and says,  “She was thrilled to share her adventurous life story as America’s premier woman perfumer with me.  Florence was honored that her work would continue and that a new generation would know and love her extraordinary products.”

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  • No. 67

    The most alluring bouquet for the most stylish woman. Reminiscent of the Turkish bazaars this spiritual lingering perfume blends Asian sandalwood, frankincense, oak-moss and vetiver into the ultimate essence for the self-assured glamour gal. 

  • Mary Black

    The scent you buy for your best friend.  A spirited bath and shower oil for those with a zest for life, it combines Italian bergamot, succulent lemon and French lavender.  Florence dedicated this enticing citrus essence to her lifelong friend, Mary Black. 

  • Wild Fern

    Inspired by the rich woodsy essence of the Black Forest, this striking scent for women and men is sexy and invigorating. A sensual fusion of musk, patchouli, myrrh and fresh juniper.  Share this bubbling bath oil with someone you love.

  • Deco No. 23

    The “feel good” fragrance for everyday.  Fresh, clean and very 1940’s.  Tantalize yourself  with this dreamy bouquet of Asian lotus blossom, honeysuckle and Bulgarian rose.

  • White Blossom

    A soft bouquet inspired by the French countryside with its fields blanketed in exquisite white flowers, this beautiful perfume captures the essence of night-blooming jasmine, white lilies and French tuberose. A luxurious bubbling bath to begin a romantic evening.