|Take a Whiff
Up your sex factor with evLOVE ($68),
available at Isla Boutique in Laguna
Beach, Sydney Michelle in Balboa Island,
A’maree’s in Newport Beach, Bronzed
Bunny in Newport Beach, and on Etsy.
Newport Beach resident Hilary Shepard wants to make the world a sexier place. Her secret weapon? It isn’t red lingerie, oysters or Champagne. It’s actually a homemade formula of pure, plant-based oils that she mixes herself with the help of her trusty Pyrex measuring cup and a dropper. What’s more is that the retired actress developed her love potion while bedridden and recovering from breast cancer and several reconstructive surgeries.
A bit skeptical of the power of evLOVE? Perhaps this will sway you: Shepard was persuaded to proceed with marketing her perfume by the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence she witnessed supporting the formulation’s sex appeal.
“The day that I really decided to go ahead and do it, I was walking into True Food [Kitchen in Newport Beach] and a man in a wheelchair was wheeling behind me and I almost got run over because he was chasing me to find out what scent I was wearing,” Shepard says. “I pretty much don’t wear it at Trader Joe’s anymore because I cannot get out of there without 10 guys hitting on me.”
Convinced yet? We certainly were after smelling the fragrance for ourselves and hearing the story behind the sexy scent from Shepard and co-founder Jodi Roth, of Dana Point, whom Shepard met the day after deciding to go forward with the perfume, and who turned out to be the final piece of the puzzle to get the business started.
Why did you create evLOVE?
Shepard: For years and years, I’ve mixed my own perfume and I’ve mixed it for Daryl [Hannah, her best friend] and it was our secret scent… About two-and-a-half years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was still living in Los Angeles… I had to have my ovaries out. And when you’re going through these treatments, you just feel hideous, you feel unsexy. Smell is one of the things that really always cheered me up. I started doing research for pheromones because I found out that men find you less attractive when you’re not ovulating or you’re not fertile. And I was really worried because my ovaries were coming out and I had this hot boyfriend and this incredible life together and I was like, “Am I not gonna be sexy anymore?” And since I’m a vegetarian, I wanted to do something with non-animal products. I did all this research on flowers and I found out that there’s a lot of plant pheromones that mimic human pheromones. I had a lot of time in bed from all the operations that I was doing so I researched all this. So I started to add the pheromones into the perfume.
And the anecdotal evidence is pretty undeniable?
Shepard: My sister’s best friend’s ex-husband moved back in and she’s like, “I don’t know whether to kill you or thank you.” And then my other friend’s secretary hadn’t had a date in 10 years, and the day she wore it, she got her first date, so she was really happy.
How did Jodi Roth get involved?
Roth: I asked Hilary what perfume she was wearing. She responded that it was a mixture of several different perfumes/oils. I said right away that I have to sell this perfume.
Shepard: She had all the business know-how from packaging to bottles to finding the right perfume oil supplier… When I was in bed [recovering from surgery], with our first run, she was so supportive – having lost her husband to brain cancer a few years earlier – and she really took over a lot of things I couldn’t do.
What are your ingredients?
Shepard: The base is the gardenia and tuberose. And then there are four other ingredients that I don’t want to say… I just went for my favorite-smelling flowers. I use actual real flowers; there’s nothing synthetic. I hate perfumes that all smell alike and you can’t tell what it is. I like to smell like an exotic garden.
How has scent played a role in your life?
Shepard: I have this thing called synesthesia. Since I was little, if I watch TV and there’s a forest fire, I’ll smell it. So I always thought television was smellivision growing up – I thought everyone could smell things… It’s when your senses, everything melts together. My sense of smell is really vivid… As an actress, I always used my sense of smell to evoke things.
How did developing this fragrance help you during recovery?
Shepard: I wanted to do something that I was passionate about, that was going to help other people that I could do from my bed… To be surrounded by my favorite smell while I was creating something was incredibly calming and made me feel sexy and beautiful even though I’m sure I really was not at that point.
What are you grateful for?
Roth: I am grateful to see women’s self-esteem raised by wearing our perfume. To make women feel confident about themselves – feel sexy and alive – is a wonderful reaction to see and hear about. evLOVE is creating positive energy for all women.