Palio By Retiree Lorenzo Siena Shows There's No Age Limit On Entrepreneurship
A former Port Chester High School teacher is selling cologne he created.
Courtesy of Lorenzo Siena
Here’s an unusual spin on retirement: Lorenzo Siena, a Wappingers Falls, New York resident (and former resident of New Rochelle), spent 38 years teaching English at Port Chester High School, then retired in 2011 and transitioned into an unusual second career: selling and marketing the cologne he launched in 2007. That’s right, a former schoolteacher selling fragrances. Well, one fragrance at the moment. It’s called Palio by Lorenzo Siena, and he concocted the formula himself.
Siena began fiddling with fragrances in the 1980s as a hobby. “I put this cologne together for my personal use,” he says. “People inquired about it, and when I told them it was my own, people told me, ‘My goodness you should market it,’ and when I did, most of the companies kind of smiled politely and said, ‘Who are you, you’re a teacher?’”
Siena was undeterred—niche fragrances have been growing in popularity for years in Europe, accounting for roughly 10 percent of the fragrance market there, he says.
“In mid-2006 I stumbled across Drom Fragrances International, a German company located in New Jersey,” recalls Siena. “I met with their account executive and when they smelled it, the head expert said, ‘My goodness, this transcends time.’” That became the tagline when, with Drom’s backing and a name inspired by the Tuscan city of Siena, Siena (the person, that is) launched his cologne, selling on his website and Amazon.
He has not yet made it into any department stores, and he’s mum on sales figures, but he’s profitable and “plugging along at a respectable rate.” Sales are especially strong overseas, where there’s a larger market for niche fragrances. The Hudson Valley entrepreneur has more fragrances in the works (but won’t say anything yet). A 3.4-ounce bottle of Palio retails for $70.