Sleep is complicated. It’s affected by stress, medical conditions, poor habits, what we consume and the environment in which we sleep.

Supplements can help, as do apps, gadgets and some bedroom tweaks. There’s no one way that works for everyone, but finding a magic formula that knocks you out for seven to nine hours brings about long-term health benefits, from staving off diseases to better brain function.

That’s what got us interested in Sleep, Returns, a new home scent by local brand Scent by Six. Woody and clean with a tinge of citrus, it’s infused with lemon, lemongrass, pine needles, cedarleaf, cedarwood, hinoki and an intriguing “Sleep Accord” by Japanese fragrance house Takasago. In a small global study spanning two weeks, the Sleep Accord was shown to improve the slumber of 45 participants, particularly in the Rapid Eye Movement (or REM) and Light Sleep stages. Participants also reported feeling more refreshed and happy upon waking up the next day.

“Sleep is a fundamental human need and a good night’s rest is essential to maintaining our mental health,” says Jason Lee, Scent by SIX’s founder and our Prestige 40 Under 40 laureate. “We understand the struggles of those who are not having a good night’s sleep. With our new scent collection, we bring them hope for better sleep.”

Sleep, Returns comprises four products  – a 110ml reed diffuser, a 30ml pillow mist, a mini nebuliser set with aroma essence, and individual 10ml bottles of aroma essence. As it did last year with its scent Hikaru, Scent by Six will be donating $10,000 from the sales of the new collection to the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH). In July, Jason also conducted a home-based workshop for SAMH’s youth, where they were introduced to the basics of scent making as well as components of a scent.

Ahead, Jason shares with us the opening of his new scent bar at Jem, the process behind Sleep, Returns, and his biggest takeaways since starting his own brand.

Tell us more about the new scent bar.
Our third outlet is an open-concept scent bar located at the entrance of Jem on level one. With its open concept design, the scent bar is inviting. Our Bugis Junction outlet has a similar open-concept style, while our flagship store at 313@Somerset is more intimate. It provides an enclave to our shoppers, to relax and experience our scents in a cosy setting, to slow down in the midst of their busy day.

As a growing local brand, good visibility and high incidental traffic is important for people to get acquainted with us and to try out our products. This is the first time we are trying out a permanent open concept and we are grateful that the response has been good so far.

Opening a retail store in this socially-conscious climate seems somewhat counter-intuitive. What’s your motivation behind the new place?
The biggest lesson we’ve learnt from COVID-19 is to be adaptable; to be like water, fitting into vessels of all shapes and sizes. The business climate will always be transient, but so long as our mindset and business model allow for flexibility, we will be able to steer the company in the right direction, regardless of market conditions. We also have plans to expand overseas. And we hope to complete our plans for Singapore well before we leap abroad.

How did the new collection Sleep, Returns come about?
It is our mission to use its scents to heal, soothe and delight one’s mental wellness. Many of us are tired – mentally and emotionally. Sleep is so near, yet so far. And even when we thought we had enough sleep, we wake up feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. Clocking enough hours in bed does not mean quality sleep.

Sleep, Returns is supported favourably by data collected from panellists from Singapore, France and USA, who reported improvement in sleep quality. We first began to collaborate with Takasago last year when we launched Hikaru, a scent that is tested and proven to uplift your mood and make you feel happier. With the scent story and rationale in place, we begin to brainstorm on hundreds of ingredients finally to arrive at a harmonious blend of 300-400 unique raw materials and ingredients. We then proceeded to validate the efficacy of the scent on quality of sleep with the global market research study.

You’ve had a number of major milestones in the last couple of years — creating the world’s first TCM scent, collaborating with Singapore Airlines and Funan Mall, and giving back to local communities. What are some of the biggest takeaways from these achievements?
Creating the world’s first TCM is a testament to ourselves that Scent by Six can and will push beyond boundaries in scent creation and storytelling. When we won the brief for the SIA Batik Flora scent, it was a pat on our shoulders for not giving up on our dreams. We were vying for the Singapore Girl Parfum project before, but we did not clinch it, unfortunately. We did not give up and kept going. Then this opportunity then came along, and our 200% effort paid off.

When it comes to serving the community, I often conducted scent workshops for the less fortunate. There was this old lady with severe dementia. She had a bad temper and was often grumpy. She couldn’t remember anything and was slowly fading away. We wanted to create a unique scent for her based on her life experiences. Her family told me, she used to go to the temple with her husband to offer incense. She also loved making pandan cakes and her favourite drink was kopi-o-kosong. I put all these smells together very carefully. What happened after I presented the fragrance was priceless: her eyes widened, she blurted out her deceased husband’s name, and cried. Her family was also in tears. After such a long time, she finally remembered and memories flooded in for the old lady. It was then that I realised why I am doing all this work. I found my purpose – to heal emotions, to preserve memories, to bring people together.

The Sleep, Returns collection is available at Scent by Six’s outlets at Jem (#01-K1), Bugis Junction (#01-05), 313@somerset (#B1-59) and online.

(All images: Scent by Six)

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