By Kim Taylor

Eucalyptus-scented San Francisco is one of the ideal places in America to base a great perfume company, so elizabethW is well-situated, and certainly lives up to the challenge. Founded by former-architect Albert Nichols and his partner Michael Lindsay, who holds a law degree, the company was named after Nichols’ inspiring great-grandmother, Elizabeth Wightman. The elegant Ms. Wightman was a ranch owner in the Sierra Nevadas in the 1800s, and infused her home with style, grace, and the aromatic scents of flowers and nature in bloom.

elizabethW was established as a traditional American perfumery, but has expanded to include exquisite bath, body and home products that contain beautifully scented flowers like violet, hyacinth, magnolia and lilac, as well as sweet tea, wood scents, plant extracts, shea butter, vitamin e and an array of herbs. Nichols forges clean lines, innovative design and quality ingredients in his San Francisco-based perfumery, where everything is made on-site. The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Luminaries have discovered this American treasure trove as well. Oprah Winfrey raved about elizabethW’s lavender drawer liners on her “My Favorite Things” holiday show, Sharon Stone loves the company’s luxurious robes and pajamas, Leah Remini and Tiffany Amber Thiessen delight in the perfumed candles, Melissa Etheridge appreciates the eau de parfum, Julia Louis-Dreyfus buys the bath gel, and Christina Aguilera, Naomi Watts and Amy Brenneman savor a bit of everything.

This small perfumery remains independent in spite of competing with mega-beauty firms, a fact that speaks well for its products, service and commitment to quality. This is a company that gives back to society as well: elizabethW contributes to Dress For Success, Raising Hope UCSF, the National Brain Tumor Foundation, Junior Leagues in SF and Palo Alto, and the Bay Area Angel Adventure.

Until recently, elizabethW didn’t sell outside of the Unites States, but is now found on five continents in boutiques, upscale department stores, spas and resorts. In New York, elizabethW products can be found at Takashimaya (1-800-753-2038), Bloomingdales, Anthropologie, and at their website, You can also call elizabethW direct at 1-800-781-6126 for additional information.

Originally published July 2005
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