Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Word On the Wind

What comes around goes around.

You reap what you sow.


Someone once told me, during a long, protracted, one-sided phone conversation funded on my dime, that we all (natural/botanical perfumers) need to stick together. Okay. So when is that going to happen?




Read some Eckhart Tolle, eh? Or just lighten the eff up! Like natural perfume ingredients, life itself is finite. Spend life making something beautiful and inspiring.

Changing Lanes

I must share this bit of extraordinary news ~ the legendary Ana C. is back! I am looking forward to sampling any delicious skincare she feels moved to create. So please, Ana, please, share the magic and do that thing you do.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Feeling the Crunch

Some of you may be wondering why natural perfumes are so costly -- why a bottle the size of your thumbnail can cost as much as $150, and more. One reason is because most natural perfumers build in cost of production increases into their products -- give themselves a little wiggle room in the event of a localized or global catastrophe which changes the availability of a raw material. The tsunami in Indonesia had a huge impact on patchouli production, increasing prices dramatically, so if your favorite natural perfume has patchouli in it, you're looking at either a hike in the price of your bottle, a smaller bottle coming into production, or discontinuation of your perfume -- unless your savvy natural perfumer worked it all out ahead of time, anticipating something on the horizon.

Other reasons natural perfumes can be so costly are because formulating them is time consuming, they're considered art, most raw materials are pretty expensive anyway, and natural perfume is somewhat finite in production.

This blog entry at Nature's Gift shows a first-hand accounting of the situations encountered by natural perfumers when sourcing materials.

Friday, April 25, 2008


**Addendum August 31, 2008 -- This particular post seems to have garnered quite a bit of interest since the announcement of an online course I'm helping to tutor, so I felt it necessary to clarify a few things. I began this posting with the words "As some of you know" referring to the regular readers. The regular readers DO know that I took time off from my online businesses to more formally study natural perfumery -- in October 2007. I've been using and studying natural raw materials as a lay person since May of 1996. And that's really all I'm going to say in my defense. Ever.

As some of you who read this blog know, I've taken time off from the grind of mass producing skincare and perfume products to study. When I initially made the decision, I thought it would be difficult -- y'know, being separated from my loyal customers, some of whom had only just begun being loyal customers, perhaps never to hear from them again. I've been reassured through their occasional emails that they're waiting for me to get my education squared away -- some impatiently waiting. This has dispelled my fears that I was creating art in a bubble, away from the rest of the 'uncaring world'. In that place, that bubble, was where my fears of not being a perfumer would plague me. Aloneness, though one of my favorite states, makes for poor conversation. I realize I'm not a perfumer in the sense that I've been to Grasse and trained under some obscurely famous to the world at large perfumer in a lab at a chem company for the requisite 6 to 10 odd years that would come after 9 months of school and a few years of apprenticeship. No, I'm not that kind of perfumer. I'm the kind who self-trains, daily -- reads old, sometimes nonsensical books on perfumery, historical books, books of poetry and lyrical prose, listens to music that fuses cultural sounds, walks in nature and appreciates the perfect forms of stones against trees against sky. The kind of perfumer who treats the raw materials as an artist of any other modality treats their paints or charcoals or canvases or tattoo guns -- as a means of creating something utterly phenomenal, an opus, a culmination of their creative talents funneled and concentrated and infused into this one single piece.

A real perfumer does this with each and every piece of art work he or she creates.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Celebrating Earth Day

Tomorrow we celebrate Earth Day at the Intermountain Nursery in Prather, CA.

It will be a day of speeches and music and celebrations, a time to meet with old friends we haven't seen in a while, a time to heal.

The folks at Intermountain will cleanse the grounds of negativity, a task which results in a tangible sensation of peace and airiness when you step foot into the gardens. It's absolutely one of the most amazing feelings.

The last time I visited, some time in December/January, I walked around and felt this immense peace and tranquility. It was exhilarating. So when I went into the shop on the grounds, I asked the clerk if they'd done something recently, if they'd healed the garden or performed a cleansing, and the girls eyes widened and she said, "Yes. We did it yesterday. How did you know?" And I told her I could feel it. She was beside herself with giddiness, amazed that somebody could actually feel the positive vibrations running through the nursery.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008


There's so much to do -- even though it's only April -- before the re-opening of The Scented Djinn this fall.

Formulating perfumes, for one! Ah, but that's the fun part. It's the marketing materials, contacts and basic pounding of the pavement that are the real work. But there's a little bit of fun in that, too.

What can be distressing is the testing of a perfume prior to marketing. For instance, I, unlike many botanical perfumers (or traditional perfumers), have been utilizing a focus group to get feedback. These are non-perfumers, unrelated to me, who are not specifically trained in the characteristics of natural and botanical perfumes.

Now, there are some perfumers out there laughing their asses off over this about now -- but, here's the thing, I want to sell my perfumes. To people. People who don't have a clue that there's even a difference between natural, botanical, synthetic and blended media perfumes. I want people, regular men and women, to like it enough to buy it.

Now, that's not to say that once I've slaved over a formula for months on end and finally am satisfied with the end result, that I will change the formula because one or two focus members don't like it. No. I trust my nose enough now to know what's good and what's bunk. But I will take their concerns into consideration -- longevity of scent, so far, seems to be the most mentioned negative. If there's something I can do about that (and there is), I'll do it.

Feedback is important to me. It strips this whole process down to its bones and removes all room for ego.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ayala Moriel Parfums

Ayala Moriel Parfums, Le Parfumeur Rebelle's April 2008 giveaway sponsor, is proud to announce their generous contribution of a sample pack of six perfumes, including the newest to the lineup, Immortelle l'Amour, Gaucho & Gigi. Also included in this month's giveaway are samples of three Ayala Moriel Parfums perfumed teas.

Ayala Moriel Parfums' Natural Perfumery class is starting this month -- for more information, contact Ayala here.


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