‘A Huge Dream’: Inside Erin Napier’s New Store

Erin Napier has lots of talents; she’s a graphic designer who started her own stationery line, an interior designer with her own HGTV show, and an artist whose paintings can often be seen on the hit show she hosts with her husband Ben, “Home Town.” But did you know she also has a gift for detecting and remembering practically any scent? It’s a talent that has led the mom of two to her latest creative endeavor: opening a brand-new store dedicated to scents that make people feel good.

Erin Napier & Friends to Open New Store Called The Scent Library

On November 6, 2022, Erin Napier and her friends will open The Scent Libary, a store in her hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, that’s the latest extension of the Laurel Mercantile brand that she, Ben, and their group of entrepreneurial friends launched years ago to help revitalize their small town.

There’d been speculation for months about what was going into the storefront they’d been working so diligently on renovating. In an Instagram post on November 2 that included video footage of a ribbon-cutting ceremony and photos from inside the shop, Erin wrote, “FINALLY, a huge dream of mine realized, right here in little Laurel, Mississippi. The Laurel Mercantile Scent Library opens THIS SUNDAY, Nov. 6!”

Erin, who adores reading and thought in college she’d become a book cover designer, has married her love of scents and her love of books within the new store, located in downtown Laurel.

She wrote, “We’ve not found another experience like it anywhere in the world: a library of our 50+ signature fragrances all housed by topic like books in a library because every scent tells a story. A wonderful fragrance is a form of time travel — we are there again in that memory the moment we smell it again. You can take photos to remember a moment, but I wanted more: a way to capture the feeling with a scent.”

Located inside a century-old building that Erin said was “painstakingly restored,” The Scent Library will primarily feature candles, hand soaps, and room sprays that Erin has overseen the creation of for several years at the Laurel Mercantile store. But at The Scent Library, shoppers will find their bestselling collections in specific categories just like they would at a bookstore, including archives and classics, gardening, travel, biography, periodicals, and architecture.

On the November 1 edition of Southern Living’s Biscuits and Jam podcast, she told host Sid Evans that the library theme will even carry over into visitors’ testing and checkout experiences.

“We’re issuing library cards, so when you shop a certain number of times you get free candles,” she said. “Our scent testing cards look like the checkout date cards you put in the front of your
book at the library and you can write which smell it was and it’s a very cool experience. I’m excited for people to see it because it’s really special.”

A grand opening celebration will be held at the shop on November 6, but those who can’t make it to Laurel can find Erin’s latest scent collections online in a new Scent Library section of the Laurel Mercantile website. To celebrate the opening, all candles and scents were 20% off at the time of publication.

Erin Napier Explains Why Scents Matter to Her So Much

The Napiers and two other couples launched the Laurel Mercantile Company in 2016, just as the Napiers’ show, “Home Town,” was getting off the ground. Each person has their own area of focus in the company; as head of development for their candle line, Erin has overseen the creation of dozens of scents over the years because she has a particular talent for remembering exactly how something once smelled, from a campfire to a strawberry field, and helping product developers to replicate it.

On the Biscuits and Jam podcast, she revealed that she gets “weird, sentimental attachments to scent” and has been collecting fragrances ever since she got her own good-smelling bubble bath mix in seventh grade. With the store launch, she’s banking on other people feeling nostalgic about scents from their past, too.

“You can smell something and it’s so evocative, you can remember something about a person or a place that makes you feel so good and nothing else can give you that feeling unless you smell whatever that smell is,” she said on the podcast. “Like, if I smell pink Extra bubble gum, I
could cry because my grandfather kept it in his pockets and he passed it out all day to anyone he saw. And when I think of that smell, pink Extra bubble gum, it makes me very happy. And, maybe not everybody, but most people have these nostalgic feelings when they smell something great.”

Ben then shared that Erin even came up with a game around scents, which they casually played with their film crew recently.

“We played this game on set the other day where Erin, she asked everybody to come up with
your top three favorite smells,” he explained. “And everyone was getting teary describing the smell that was their favorite because it reminded them of some thing.”

Ben said he came up with two admittedly “weird” but meaningful scents that put a lump in his throat because of the memories they evoke. One was the smell of her grandma’s cigarettes when she’d smoke on the back porch, and the other was diesel fuel because it instantly reminds him of getting to occasionally hit the road on little vacations with his dad, who was a truck driver.

The Scent Library will have rooms full of carefully curated scents, but Erin assured fans that cigarettes and diesel fuel are not among them.

Erin and Ben Napier on set of their first movie,

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