Parfums Raffy celebrates decades of spreading love in Sherman Oaks
LOS ANGELES - These beautiful bottles each tell a story through fragrance, and so does the family who owns Parfums Raffy in Sherman Oaks.
Tony and Janet Dolbakian are celebrating decades of spreading love in the community through their passion for people and for their belief that perfumes are much more than just a scent.
"It's very emotional. I tell my customers it's the cheapest psychologist. It can transport you to a completely different place, it makes you feel better, you don't buy it for other people, you buy it for yourself to make you feel better," said Janet Dolbakian.
The couple immigrated to California from Armenia with the American dream, opening up Parfums Raffy nearly 40 years ago.
Since then, they've been through the worst - like the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
"When we had the earthquake we lost almost 80 to 85% percent," said Tony Dolbakian.
The 6.7-magnitude earthquake nearly ended their business and shattered their dreams, but at their worst, they saw the best.
"We have a lot of people come and check on us because they knew we had breakables in the store. I was crying in front of the store because most of it was damaged, she said 'go inside and find a bottle that's not broken and I will buy it from you,'" said Janet.
"I said, ‘well it’s not even what you like.' She said, ‘I don’t care. I just wanted you to believe you will make it back.'"
The service makes Parfums Raffy unique.
"Service makes all the difference and we have very loyal clients."
That service continues under their son Raffy and his wife Rosie who now run the store.
Tough times hit again with the pandemic forcing businesses to shut down for months at a time.
"The day we opened we had a flood of customers. We thought ‘oh people are not going out to bars to wear perfume,’ but everyone was wearing it for themselves because it was bringing them out of a depressive state," said Raffy.
"This is the place you can get something no one else can get," said customer Adam Nago Shiner.
From super exclusive limited niche fragrances to popular perfumes at any price point, it's that special touch that makes all the difference.
"It's a family-run business, and they thrive to bring a community together," said customer Paul Arekalian. "They thrive to bring a community together. You don't get that much. The torch being carried on."
"The love that we have for our history, family, community… I feel like it gets passed on to our customers," said Rosie.
It's a small luxury that can make you happy - happiness in a bottle.