Episode 4: Boy Smells

Expand Beyond the Gender Binary, with Boy Smells’ Matthew Herman



About the Episode

One idea has ruled the fragrance industry for generations: women wear florals and men wear musks. When Matthew and his co-founder, David Kien, began making candles out of their kitchen, they took a different stance. They named the brand Boy Smells and packaged products in a pink box, giving rise to what they call “genderful” expression. It’s an invitation to embrace the gender spectrum and tap into your fullest power by calling on both the feminine and the masculine.

In this episode, Matthew sits down with Marianne Mychaskiw, who runs communications at Scentbird. He explores the history of gender-based marketing, collaborations with Grace Jones and Kacey Musgraves, and why Boy Smells is a love letter to his younger self.


• Matthew's relationship with scent growing up
• Embracing the fullness of your identity: “genderful” vs. genderless
• Calling on both the masculine and feminine
• Working for great fashion designers in London and New York
• Treating Boy Smells like a fashion vs. fragrance brand
• Starting Boy Smells with David Kien from their LA kitchen
• Why they called it Boy Smells and packaged products in a pink box
• The brand as a love letter to Matthew’s previous self
• Scent Spotlight: Cowboy Kush, Violet Ends, Grace, Slow Burn, & Hinoki Fantôme
• How the collaboration with Kacey Musgraves started in the DMs
• Why Grace Jones is the original gender disruptor
• Scent Connection, Beyond-the-Binary Edition
• What a David Bowie scent might smell like
• Alexander McQueen’s influence
• A brief history of gender-based marketing
• What Matthew would say to his 13-year-old self

Featured Fragrances

Cowboy Kush by Boy Smells
Violet Ends by Boy Smells

Featured Candles

Grace by Boy Smells
Slow Burn by Boy Smells
Hinoki Fantôme by Boy Smells

Key Mentions

Kacey Musgraves, Grace Jones, Alexander McQueen

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