Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen may be the best known exception to the rule that child stars implode their own careers after age 17—and the world both loves and respects them for it. Since Dualstar Entertainment Group’s creation in 1993 (which they took over as copresidents in 2004), the Olsens have near flawlessly transitioned their business efforts into film, television, merchandise, video games, and now most relevantly, multiple high-fashion labels.
WWD sat down with the 27-year-old duo to discuss their two newest fragrances for women, Nirvana, both of which will be exclusive to Sephora and branded via their contemporary label Elizabeth and James. Available in Black ("sensual woody") and White ("musky floral"), Nirvana will be launched in late January after an in-store holiday preview from December 13 to 25.
The fraternal twins also reviewed their early business history, during which Ashley joked "we couldn’t see over the top of the table," yet were still part of creative and business meetings. "We were always hard workers as kids," Mary-Kate told WWD. "It’s just the way we are, the way we were raised. Our work ethic was everything, and that never left us. We like to work hard, and we like to try to do everything 100-percent. In fact, it’s actually almost impossible for us not to. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes not so much, but it’s learning."
For Mary-Kate and Ashley, perfectionism has long been more than a business model, but also a baseline for how to execute projects from start-to-finish. If the Olsens have one rule they follow both in and out of Dualstar, it’s trusting their guts. "We have really good instincts, and it’s better when we listen to them," said Ashley. "That’s both personal and in work."
And in the case of the two Nirvana fragrances, their attention to detail was, unshockingly, nothing if not meticulous: The Olsens flew in both out-of-season peonies from New Zealand as well as lily of the valley from Holland for their WWD interview since both are key ingredients in the scents.
"I have to be honest, I do [fear the beauty business] a little," Ashley admitted. "I kind of felt it today and I know it’s because I’m relatively new in this category. But I felt it in a good way—it was like, ‘I have so much to learn.’"