Lake Placid entrepreneur makes scents

JACK LADUKE/P-R PHOTO Marcy Miller inhales the fragrant aroma of one of the lotions she has in her shop, Pure Lake Placid.

LAKE PLACID — Marcy Miller is bottling up scents of the Adirondacks. 

Owner of Pure Placid at 2423 Main St. in Lake Placid, Miller sells clothing and jewelry at the shop, alongside their very own lotions, candles, hand soaps and more. 

Fragrances like Whiteface Hike, Summer by the Lake and Sunday Morning are named for the places in and the experiences of the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park. 

Scents will be familiar to locals and visitors alike, with maple, pine needles, berries and wild flower aromas. 



But Pure Placid's Mount Marcy fragrance, combining notes of sandalwood, basil and mandarin, is one that is near and dear to Miller's memories.

Her family would hike up that mountain, her namesake, each year when she was a kid. 

"We used to be able to camp halfway up, and then we would wake up really early in the morning and hike up to watch the sunrise," she said.

"We would always have a citrusy fruit, like clementines or mandarins or oranges.

Miller, 41, described the scent as empowering and happy, like: "You accomplished this incredible thing and you're looking at this amazing view.

"Hopefully, it's translated to that scent."



Miller started working at a spa with her mom and sister, Claire and Sarah Doyle, some time ago. 

While attending school for massage therapy in New Mexico, Miller studied natural cosmetics under Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher and essential oils under Young Living Essential Oils founder Dr. Gary Young.

One day, Miller called upon this knowledge to create homemade lotions for massaging. 

Taking water from Lake Placid, she distilled the liquid to rid it of any metals or minerals. 

Then, using a plant-based emulsifier — to connect the water with essential oils — she mixed the ingredients into a lotion. 

"With the essential oils, that was the most fun part, making the scents," she said. "Everyone liked it.

"Some people asked me for more, and I was like, 'Really? Are you sure?'

"I fell in love with making this stuff, and people actually bought it."



So she opened up her shop on Lake Placid's Main Street in summer 2016. 

"I has been so amazing," she said. "The store is just so fun."

Miller has hired consultants to collaborate on products and scents, and has three regular employees: Susan Miller, Kelsey Cassidy and Frannie Sheffield.

But she likes to hire some part-time workers, too.

"Part of what I've always wanted to do is help to create jobs in my community," she said. "I've sort of been able to do that here."



Since 2016, the operation has grown, and Pure Placid is now moving its manufacturing into a larger facility. 

"Lake Placid is such a cool place; you never know who's going to walk through the door," Miller said. 

People have caught wind of Pure Placid products, she said, and they are now featured in some Macy's department stores. 

And a visit from Zhang Ying, wife of Chinese politician and businessman Jack Ma, has her products now being sold in China. 

"It's insane," Miller said. "I pinch myself all of the time."



Another big part of the Pure Placid operation are its soy candles. 

Miller said they are made with New York soy wax instead of such alternatives as paraffin wax. 

"(Paraffin wax) is made from petroleum, and it's almost like burning a diesel engine," Miller said. "The fumes that burn off it are like soot — it's a dirty, burning candle.

"Soy is a really clean wax, and it's renewable."

More inexpensive candles also have toxic ingredients in their scents, Miller said. 

Not only that, but soy-wax candles burn longer than those made from paraffin wax, she added. 



Miller is trying to do right by the environment, too. 

Besides being a cruelty free, non-toxic and local operation, Pure Placid is also big on recycling. 

"I'm so into focuses like this interdependence between people and nature," she said. "We have to do as much as we can to keep our environment clean and safe."

For that reason, she said, Pure Placid uses recycled glass and minimal packaging.

"If we use plastic, it's post-consumer, recycled plastic. We're crazy about that, but we don't want to compromise on those values."



Miller said fragrance is very personal, with different scents attaching to everyone's own memories. 

Pure Placid is just how Miller expresses her own experiences in the Adirondacks.

"I hope that, even though it's my story, that it does something for someone else," she said.

Like her Mount Marcy scent. 

"It may not be your memory of being on a mountain top," Miller said, "but it might, hopefully, take you there for a second."


Email McKenzie Delisle:

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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