THE ORIGINS OF MIZU
PROFILE: MASON HAINEY
To understand my relationship with scent, I think we first need to look at my relationship with a woman I called Mango.
She was my hero, my best friend, my grandmother. An accomplished gardener, she taught me about the flowers, their scents, and how to love the earth from a young age. Every time I would visit her home in the farmlands of northern Connecticut, she’d be burning some sort of sweet smelling candle — like vanilla or cinnamon.
She was always creating an atmosphere of warmth, comfort and total ease. To me, burning a candle soon become synonymous with that peaceful feeling of being with my grandma.
The scent of comfort
These are some of my earliest scent memories, and ones that I believe shaped my understanding of how scent can influence mood. As I got older, around 10, I started my own candle company called “Mason’s Gel Candles”. I’d find antique glassware, fill the bottoms with sand and shells and make them into candles. I sold these to my classmates, teachers, friends and family – my first endeavor as an entrepreneur.
In my teenage years, I was given my first opportunity to travel to Japan as a student ambassador — and I immediately fell in love with the country. Spiritually, it felt like I had returned home. On this trip, I was shown what it meant to live in harmony with the land, and how to respect the resources she provides. I was introduced to the ancient art of fragrance… and for the first time, that scent can be used to heal.
At age 19, I launched MIZU
After returning from Japan, I originally as a menswear brand inspired by travel. I taught myself how to sew and designed accessories and custom garments from vintage Japanese textiles. I eventually dropped out of art college and moved to NYC to pursue this career full-time.
Through all of this, I was battling my own demons. A desire for acceptance… both from myself and others… ultimately led down a path of dangerously self-destructive behaviors. I was warring internally for much of my young-adult life before I came to fragrance as a means of calming my mind. I found the scents of flowers or Japanese incense helped call myself outside of my anxiety. I became inspired to return to the forests I knew as a child and reconnect with the beauty of nature. I found my peace in the outdoors.
As my fashion label continued to grow...
...I started to feel stale and exhausted. Now, living in Brooklyn and unable to escape into nature, I turned to my original love of candle making as a means of creating my own sanctuary. I taught myself how to blend fragrances, and used them to scent candles inspired by different natural environments. I offered these candles to my existing customers and soon after, fragrance became the primary force behind MIZU.
In 2013, I expanded my work with the release of my debut perfume, Palo Santo. From that point on, the world of scent has continued to call to me, broadening my understanding of how fragrance can create atmosphere and influence wellbeing.
My philosophy: Scent As Meditation
MIZU designs with the philosophy of Scent As Meditation; Offering botanical fragrances that reconnect us with the natural world.
Each perfume or candle transports us to a moment in the wild; providing a grounding atmosphere to pull us out of our anxious minds and give us the tools to help anchor in the present.
“MIZU” ( 水) translates to “water” in Japanese. This was the first word I learned while living with a host family outside Tokyo. It serves as a totem to my time in Japan and as a reminder that all life is connected. My love of nature has led me to work exclusively with botanical materials. There is something so “whole” about working with naturals, the process feels so genuine and full of life. In the past year, I’ve begun creating my own extracts, with the desire to explore this further in future work.
I am deeply inspired by...
Those fleeting moments of beauty we find in nature are what inspire me most -- The golden hours of August – the frosted blooms of March – The passing showers of summer. I aim to bottle these experiences, and offer them for people to explore at their leisure. Each scent serving as a reminder to slow down… and enjoy the present.
With MIZU, I view my mission as two fold — to bring joy to others through the work I provide, and to reconnect people to the forgotten areas of the natural world … and in the process, reconnect with themselves.
- Mason Hainey