A Day in the Life of Luxury Perfume Brand D.S. & Durga Co-Founder Kavi Moltz
With fragrances called “Burning Barbershop” and “Mississippi Medicine” and candle scents named “Concrete After Lightning” and “Big Sur After Rain,” it comes as no surprise that the origin story behind the unisex fragrance brand D.S. & Durga is a romantic one (more on that below). Founders Kavi and David Moltz are a married team working out of their Brooklyn home and studio spaces, creating (David) and designing (Kavi) their sultry, chic, and totally covetable line of personal and home fragrances. Their creative, fulfilling, and family-focused life sounds like a dream, and after reading about Kavi’s Day in the Life below, you’ll agree.
5:30am: Our house wakes up when the kids do. My husband David leads the morning. He makes us an amazing pot of tea. We are a big tea family; we order all sorts from Mariage Freres and a few other places. The way to my heart is a strong and malty assam with a few drops of whole milk. He makes breakfast and second breakfast for the kids. He packs their lunches. One of us is out the door with them by 7:30 to take the subway to school.
Before that, David and I catch up on what needs to be done for the day. He works in our studio with our team. It’s only a few blocks away, and it makes us happy to not commute and to keep our life local. We both try to get in our creative work for the day early, because it is often shadowed by operational work. Ideally, he will get in some fragrance creation and I will get in some design. We always have new products and ideas in the pipeline, and it’s important to work on them daily, just like exercising a muscle. I work at home. I love the quiet during the day. Flexibility in all ways is one of the best parts about our work. I’ve learned over the years to be super productive at home. I don’t get distracted by making the bed or tidying up — I just head to my desk and get to it.
9am: After drop-off, I like to get some exercise in. I do Pilates or SoulCycle. I’ll come home and get ready, but it’s minimal — maybe 25 minutes including a shower. I wear black jeans and a black v-neck t-shirt most days. I wear makeup daily but I can do it in two minutes with my eyes closed at this point. I do find it’s good to get properly ready even though I’m at home. It’s a feeling thing.
10am: I like to check in with our team a couple times a week in person, though we are emailing all day long. On any given day, David and I can exchange over 100 texts about work, kids, dinner plans, moods. We are married and business partners, so we have to coordinate on everything. When we started D.S. & Durga in 2008, we were dating. He was a musician and a waiter, and I was an architect. We stopped our “day jobs” in 2009 to take this venture seriously. In the beginning, we didn’t know we were starting a business. We were young and spontaneous and just wanted to go with it. As it started becoming something real, we taught ourselves along the way. David is a self-trained perfumer, and I do the designs and branding. Now we have a small but amazing team of two women who work with us. We rely on them heavily, and they are always showing their enthusiasm about working with a small company like ours. We all know we are part of something amazing and growing and are excited about what the future holds.
10:30am: My typical lunch time. I don’t eat breakfast other than tea and maybe a petit beurre biscuit. My usual lunch is tacos at home with rancho gordo beans (we make a pot every week), whatever greens are in the fridge, nutritional yeast, and a fresh whole jalapeño. I can and do eat this every day.
12pm: We go to Manhattan maybe one or two times a week for a meeting, but we prefer to host meetings in our Bed-Stuy studio. It could be about a new project or a new scent development. The most luxurious days for us are the ones spent uninterrupted at our desks, but as the business grows that is increasingly rare. Recently I have been working on the design for a new soap we are making for holiday with Wary Meyers, a new Pocket Perfume for our Radio Bombay scent, and a re-design for our website. We are launching new candles soon, and I love working on those graphics. I get to be quick and fun with them, so it’s a great creative outlet for me.
2:30pm: Emails are checked through the day, but there are a lot that require computer attention. So I get to this thoroughly in the middle of the afternoon — working on documents and registrations for international accounts. This year we expanded majorly to the Middle East, the UK, and France, and are now working on Australia. Communication with all these parts of the world takes place throughout our day and night, so emailing is the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, unfortunately. If not, the time difference makes it so that there would be over 24 hours between questions and responses, and that just wouldn’t be efficient.
5pm: The day pauses for me around five when the kids are home from school and activities. David is home soon after and we all eat dinner together around six. One of us will cook something simple, ideally a “four veg,” which will be three different vegetables and rice or quinoa. We tend to stay home on weeknights because the days are draining and we like to spend evenings with the kids, just giving them the attention they deserve.
8pm: After bedtime, I’ll wash up and maybe put on a mask while I do some more work while we watch something on Netflix. Major multitasking there. Once a week I’ll go out with a girlfriend for dinner. If I have any choice in the matter, we go to Roman’s and I’ll have a pasta and two glasses of wine. Either of these evening plans is a pretty perfect way to end the day.
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(Portraits via Jason Frank Rothenberg; product photo via Leta Sobierajski and Wade Jeffree)