Daniel Scott and Ronn Richardson, founders of Space
Photo: Larry Lewis

Space Is the Black-Owned Fragrance Brand That Will Make Your Home Smell Like Luxury

How a quarantine-era date night birthed a luxe scent brand that centers Black men

The home fragrance market has come a long way since that unforgettable scene in Friday, when John Witherspoon fumigated a funky bathroom with air freshener. These days, non-personal scents are big business that continue to grow. By 2027, the industry is anticipated to hit nearly $28 billion globally (up from $5.6 billion in 2018), according to Fortune Business Insights. From candles to room sprays to diffusers, these nose pleasers are good for more than just resting atop your toilet.

Space is an emerging Black-owned brand bringing a luxurious spin to the market. Created by partners in romance and business—Ronn Richardson, former head of creative for SheaMoisture; and Daniel Scott, a med-tech sales executive—Space is rooted in its founders' shared passion for travel, interior design, and wellness. The brand produces room sprays created with clean, vegan, ethically sourced ingredients. Think of it as cologne for the crib. 

“Self-care is so, so important for us,” says Scott, a proud Morehouse man. “Your mood is affected by the music you listen to, the lighting in your home. A lot of people don't think about how important scent is. We wanted to focus on that, whether that's sitting on the couch after a long day, spraying it, and relaxing; or spraying it in the shower to get this different aromatic experience.”

The minimalist labels and chic packaging give Space a high-end feel, but the real magic is all in the aromas, each inspired by a destination where Scott and Richardson have traveled. There are currently three fragrances available for purchase—Bloom, Due West, and Saint, sold in 3.4 oz bottles priced at $48 each—but a fourth is slated to be released this year, as well as scented candles and diffusers.

Richardson and Scott hopped on a video call with LEVEL to speak about their irresistible room sprays, the process of launching their business, must-have home items for Black men, and the future for Space.

LEVEL: I love the marketing of Space—the simple black-and-white color scheme, the aesthetics. What was the inspiration behind that?
Ronn Richardson:
I've worked with a lot of top brands in the wine, spirit and beauty space, brands like Revlon, SheaMoisture, Elizabeth Arden. I learned so much in terms of aesthetics—not just how to make things look good, but how to make people react to them. We were really intentional about the look and feel, the simplicity. I'm a minimalist by nature. I wanted to put that into the brand because we want it to be simple and straightforward. We wanted to entice people. As a small brand, you want to make sure you stand out and that you're consistent.

Another thing I really appreciate about the marketing is that the visuals heavily feature Black men. Why does that audience feel appropriate for Space?
When you think about the fragrance industry—more specifically home fragrance—Black entrepreneurs are underrepresented. More importantly, when we looked at avid consumers of high-end fragrances and home brands, we realized there was a gap. We didn't see Black people in the marketing; a lot of times we felt like we were the only ones on that wavelength. So we were like, we want to target Black men. When you think about the struggles, the challenges that we go through in life, we really wanted to put them at the forefront.

"I'm like, How can we take that same excitement and joy and bottle it up?"

The pandemic spurred people to really invest in home life and curate their sanctuaries. Did that play a role in the creation of Space?
Daniel Scott:
It played a really big role for us. We've both been avid users of luxury fragrances at home for a long time. [The idea for] Space got sparked off a date night during the pandemic where we went to a candle-making class. We decided this is something we could do and bring to people. We started making room sprays and said, we can make this a bigger thing—a big brand.

Richardson: When we got home from that date night, there was this moment of realization: We spent a lot of money on home fragrances, from room sprays to candles. I don't even want to say the number because it is egregious. We realized we could [make fragrances ourselves] and it would be a lot cheaper. It started as us making it in small batches. Friends would come over to our house and walk out with a bottle. They liked it so much.

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How did you go from sharing sprays with your friends to becoming a consumer product?
I had a contact I made through networking with a past client. I met him maybe 10 years prior to us coming up with this idea. I knew he was in the fragrance industry, and I was like, I'm just going to shoot my shot. Because one of the issues—especially with African-Americans being in this industry—is we don't have access. So a lot of times you don't know how to get to that perfumer. I knew this person could be that conduit, so I reached out. I didn't know if we were going to be able to afford him, if he was going to be like, “Who are you?” But he remembered me. He’d just launched a brand called Brands With Purpose, where his intent was to give access to startups in the fragrance industry. So he guided us, pitched us to different fragrance houses. It was a great experience. 

Not to toot our own horns, but I think we have really good taste. We really wanted to introduce people to different types of fragrances—or a fragrance note you may be aware of, but put our spin on it. So it happened pretty quickly after that moment of realization. I emailed him that same night and he emailed me back the next morning. From there, that was it.

"When you think about the struggles, the challenges that [Black men] go through in life, we really wanted to put them at the forefront."

Each of the Space fragrances are inspired by different places you’ve each traveled. What are some of the personal memories connected to each of these fragrances?
Sure. I'll start with Due West. That one means a lot to me. It was inspired by my dad's hometown in South Carolina: Due West. It was really small; I think they had just got a stop sign a few years ago. Growing up in New York City, every summer we would take a road trip there. The first time I was like, I do not want to go to South Carolina and be in the middle of nowhere. But when we got there, it was a huge eye-opener for me. Being in this big house, seeing grass and trees—it was so different for me. That next morning, the smell of the dew on the trees and that moist air outside was captivating. I would look forward to those summers. When we were building this brand, my dad had just passed away. I wanted to honor him. The first thing I thought of was those moments in Due West and the joy it brought me. I wanted to bottle that up and bring that inside.

Scott: [Saint] was inspired by an amazing trip—our first trip to Tulum. We were having dinner and I kept smelling this smoky smell, like, “What in the world is this?” I’d never heard of Palo Santo. I went and bought all types of Palo Santo sticks, burning 'em all around the house. That kind of inspired it, but we put a spin on it, made it a little more sweet and luxurious. 

Bloom was, again, travel-focused. We're big foodies, and we love cocktails. We took a trip to Tel Aviv, and I remember every specialty cocktail, every dish, [saffron] was all in the air. We’d heard of Saffron before, but being able to consume it, we were so inspired. I'm like, how can we take that same excitement and that joy that we got from engaging with it and bottle it up? Saffron is not really something you find in fine fragrances. It's usually a base note. We wanted to highlight it—bring it to the forefront.

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You mentioned some barriers to entry for Black folks. Did you come across other obstacles or challenges when you were getting things off the ground?
We've had a lot of obstacles throughout the process. Because we started during the pandemic, a lot of the materials were backlogged. All of our bottles are custom. Everything is handpicked by us and sourced separately, from the bottle to the cap to pump. That could bring a lot of challenges [and] delays. Also, from a small-business perspective, getting good deals on high-end materials was very hard because they required much higher minimum order quantities. Then just making sure our product is perfect. There was one point where we were going to launch, everything was done, we got test samples for the product, and they just didn't spray like we wanted them to. We had to go back from scratch and order new pumps, which took another four months to come in. A lot of headaches, but we learned so much.

"When we merged homes, we were really intentional about the art we got. Every piece has a story."

You’ve both talked about the importance of curating your living space. Aside from your fragrances, what would you say is one must-have home item for Black men?
A dining room table is absolutely number one. During the pandemic, we cooked and sat down at the table every single day. I think it really grew our relationship. We’d have friends over, host dinner parties, put away everything else, and just focus on each other. If you have the space for it, I always say having somewhere to sit down to eat and enjoy each other.

Richardson: I would say art—pieces [that] help tell stories. When we merged homes, we were really intentional about the art we got. Every piece has a story. I have a piece that I got on one of our travels. People always ask about it, and it takes me back down memory lane. It helps those connections with other people, but for yourself it [can be] a reminder of places you’ve gone. Art definitely changes a space. We have this art piece…

Scott: A friend of mine, this artist named Gee Horton, drew a picture of [Jean-Michel] Basquiat and had it blown up. It’s a custom piece.

Richardson: We’ve had it in different spaces in different apartments and it really changes every single room. Now it’s in our bedroom—who would’ve thought it would change the entire feeling and vibe in that room? So for me, it’s definitely art.  

Scott: Find things that you love. Every piece in our house, every single item, we love it.

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What’s the ultimate goal for Space?
I see us taking over home care—everything from candles and room sprays to cleaning supplies. I really want us to be that brand. When you think about Febreze, they own that market. We want to be that high-end, accessible luxury item people want in their homes, on their sinks when you wash your hands, when you’re in the shower. It’s like a statement. We want to be in hotels. We want to take over travel and homes and transition into a lifestyle brand.