For Business

Merchant spotlight: Lamar Denon

With her home, body and fragrance line, entrepreneur Tadara Smith gives men tools for self-care.

Image of a woman next to Lamar Denon products

Tadara Smith, founder of Lamar Denon, has vivid memories of her father taking her to the perfume counter as a young girl to pick out something nice for her mom.

“He loved gifting my mom perfume, and he still does to this day,” she says. “He would explain why he was buying the fragrance and which scents my mom wore for which occasions.”

Tadara developed a nose for fragrances. She began to see them as a way to experience simple luxury or relive special memories. A whiff of citrus would surface joyous summers spent outside, while a hint of cinnamon would inspire feelings of coziness and warmth.

She continued to learn about fragrances as she grew up and began creating luxury fragrances and body care products at home. Tadara had such a keen sense for different fragrances that she could smell a certain scent in passing and then go home to recreate it with her oils. To Tadara, each scent would have a story.

She says, “Scents are a form of self-expression. They can communicate calm, sensuality, love. It’s so powerful.”

Finding her divine calling for self-care goods

Tadara is a strong believer in God, and her faith put her on the path to launching Lamar Denon. In 2019, a revelation in the middle of a church sermon compelled Tadara to turn her passion into a new business venture.

“My guidance comes 100% from God, he gets all the credit,” Tadara shares. “My initial concept was a home fragrance and body care line for women. But God gave me the idea that this business could be for Black men, because there would soon come a time when Black men would need to be uplifted with self-care.”

Then 2020 happened.

The Black Lives Matter protests that roiled the country after the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery further confirmed her God-given direction to launch Lamar Denon. Tadara was aware of the reality that Black men are rarely treated fairly by society. So, she focused her business on self-care for Black men.

“During that period [in 2020], I spent a lot of time thinking about how Black men really needed encouragement and empowerment,” remembers Tadara. “I was called to create something that was meant for them and designed with their needs in mind.”

Tadara named the company Lamar Denon, after two major male influences in her life: her dad and her brother. Her product line features masculine scents that are herbal and earthy, leveraging tobacco, cedarwood, leather, and bergamot. The fragrances are high-end and complex and aim to tell a story through scent. She crafts many of her candles, body sprays, and muscle soaks in her studio, using proprietary blends made of coconut waxes and fragrance oils to create the perfect sensory experience.

“Your environment, whether at home and work, plays such a big role in how you perceive the world,” she explains. “And scents can be a small but meaningful way to add positivity into your environment.”

Her brand inspires men, especially Black men, to treat themselves with luxury and prioritize self-care, Tadara explains. “Fragrances can refresh one’s mood after navigating the stress of daily life.”

Image of Lamar Denon products on a table

Normalizing self-care for Black men

Tadara knows her products, with their masculine design, resonate more with men and can help men feel more comfortable with the idea of self-care. In her experience, men enjoy fragrances, but that enjoyment is stigmatized. Conversations about self-care rarely focus on Black men—even though they may be the ones who can benefit the most from it. Tadara wants to change that status quo with a luxury brand made specifically for them.

“My mission is to normalize self-care for Black men,” she says. “When it comes to luxury home fragrance, there isn’t a space for them. There’s this false rhetoric that self-care threatens your manhood, and we’re here to disrupt that.”

She adds, “Even though Lamar Denon was created with Black men in mind, all men and women from different backgrounds love our products.”

Elevating the online shopping experience

What attracted Tadara to Buy with Prime was convenience. It complemented her business by not only giving her customers another checkout option but by taking some of the shipping off her plate. Buy with Prime frees up her time to focus on what matters the most to her: creating premium products. She was compelled to add the Buy with Prime button to her website after hearing beauty brand founder Aishetu Fatima Dozie of Bossy Cosmetics speak about her experience with the feature at Amazon’s Accelerate in 2022.

“I was so inspired by her journey and realized that Buy with Prime was something I wanted to have on our site,” Tadara says. “I’m always seeking ways to give the customer the best experience, so fast shipping is important to me.”

From Lamar Denon’s Buy with Prime collection page, Prime members can stock up on cucumber bamboo wax melts, eucalyptus room sprays, or linen-scented candles, among other products. Tadara is aware that when shoppers see the Buy with Prime badge on a product, they know they’ll get a familiar shopping experience.

Image if Lamar Denon candles

“Prime is a strong brand name for people—it represents convenience,” she says. “So for a growing business like mine, recognition like that is important. My customers appreciate having Buy with Prime as a checkout option.”

Tadara has big plans for expanding her business and knows tools like Buy with Prime can help on her path to growth. She intends to expand her product line to more items in the home goods category.

“I don’t want to say that I want to be the Black Martha Stewart, because I’m my own person, but I love that idea of building an empire and having a brand that touches different parts of people’s lives,” she explains.

Most of all, she relishes being able to introduce new ideas of luxury into communities she cares about.

“Ultimately, I want to reshape the face of luxury and make it more diverse and inclusive.”

Explore Lamar Denon’s Buy with Prime collection to find a new favorite fragrance!

Stories BBA
Anita Little