Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, Farmacista Vero!

I realize that I am in constant flux. I have a love/hate relationship with change. I am fickle and stalwart. I suffer a dichotomous mind. If I go into something half-assed, it stays that way. If I go into something with passion and enthusiasm, my efforts are infused with passion and enthusiasm and are usually somewhat successful. Why do you care? I don't know that you do, but in some small way perhaps it explains why I'm all over the place. For example, in 2006, I "quit" making soap and skin care in mass quantities to focus more on perfumery, opening a Natural Botanical Perfumer's website, le Parfumeur Rebelle, and a my own business website, The Scented Djinn. I then closed down my business website and started up selling on Etsy (I was having hosting issues with my web plan and couldn't customize layouts, something which would have been achieved had I handed over the project to a professional, but alas, I am ever the micro managing control freak) wherein I vacillated between focusing on perfume or on skin care, never giving my full undivided attention to either. Then there came the Academy where I wrote and edited and edited and edited and yes, edited, both a text book and a workbook, and then the subsequent course(s) with several students each, several personalities, language barriers, miscommunications, and on my end, exhaustion. Again, the focus on perfume became more fuzzy. Once again, I faced change. My Etsy customers are separate entities from my perfume customers, I've learned over the past year. My Etsy regulars prefer scented skin care and effective skin care over super frilly slightly expensive eaux de parfum. And, hey! Can I get a review? I know I may be perceived as coming from the wrong side of the tracks, but give me some credit, yeah? I've worked as hard as anyone to hone my craft, and I try not to invent stories about my years of experience, though I am prone to blitherty blather at times, just ask my soap and perfume students at Intermountain Nursery, or simply trust your judgment after reading this weird post ~ ha! Anyway . . . once I realized my Etsy people were different from the perfume people, I decided to start up an Artfire shop for my perfumes. Can I just say something here about Artfire? They're fabulous. They don't get their knickers in knots if you refer your customers to that other place, or anywhere else on the web. And they don't nickle and dime every single listing or sale. Flat rate out the gate, that's it, even if you sell one thing or sell five hundred, you pay just what you agreed to when you set up shop, finito, end of story. It's refreshing not to get slammed at the end of the month with a huge bill, which, by the way, can be double what you paid for your own private website. And let me get back to website (see? I'm all over the place here -- so be it), I do have one currently on the books, I just haven't built it yet, for the same flippin' reason I rid myself of the last one! Again, the micro managing control freak raises her shaggy head. So, back to the skin care stuff. I split, or am in the process of splitting, the Etsy skin care from the Artfire perfumes, and once again began the tedious task of researching current trends in natural skin care. Did I say tedious? I'm not on soap forums or lists, nor anything like them, so I don't know what all the chatter is these days, I'm just winging it, as they say. One thing I have been focused on is olive leaf. I live in a place where olive trees are as numerous as the people who tend them, myself being one. Years ago I prepared an olive leaf extract for a co-worker who was suffering for years with a horrible yeast infection, an infection so pervasive that even doctor prescribed medications couldn't keep it under control. But my little home brew did. A few drops under her tongue before bed every night and no more yeast infection! Since that time, lots of research has been done on the powerful healing effects of olive leaf, and since I can attest to the truth of it, I have decided, with earnestness, to create a line of olive leaf skin care products. I'm thinking a soap and a balm, with base ingredients created in my little copper still, combinations of olive leaves, rosemary and rose geranium to be used as water tonics for skin, the oil portions used in balms or butters, and more of the water used in soaps, as well as more, more, more herbage.

It's either that or take up knitting.


  1. Anonymous9:33 PM

    J, you rock! I think olive leaf sounds fabulous. Can't recall anyone else doing that. I hear you on the knitting!! I have been churning out projects like a mad woman for Christmas. Definitely will start earlier next year. A yarn habit is just as expensive as an aromatic one, lol. Especially if you have a weakness for natural fibers. :) Ever heard of Qiviut?


  2. No, I've never heard of Qiviut, but I will definitely look into it. I used to knit 25 or so years ago, and not very well :) I taught myself and learned what I learned through trial and error (pre-internet days so no cheating). I was just getting the hang of it, creating near perfect stitches, when I moved and everything changed. A theme is emerging here, see? As for the olive leaf, I've seen a couple of companies selling olive leaf extract infused soaps and skin balms, but nothing that was all natural (except perhaps the soap) or made in the way I'm planning to do it -- co-distillating olive leaf with herbs to create some of the oil and hydrosol necessary to compound the end products. In fact, I'm off to strip branches (okay, they call it "pruning") from the olive trees sacrificing their bounty for this endeavor. Wish me luck!

  3. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Hello J,

    The Olive leaf project sounds very promising. I'd be keen to try your skin balm in particular, because it seems to me that you proceed from the best possible starting point: these ingredients are good for the skin so here they are in the simplest, purest, least mucked-about formulation. If it was suitable for use on the face, I'd be super keen.

    I'm not any kind of businessperson, and you may do all this already, but your business predicament got me thinking. You have two separate discrete customer bases: can you identify an overlap between the Skin Care demands and Perfumery products to enable you to bring about a merger between those areas?

    Scented Skin Care, which you mentioned, must be an area of potential overlap between these separate customer bases.
    Is there a way of making an entry-level Perfume product (solid or rollerball, perhaps) that utilises the scents of your most popular Scented Skin Care products that already sell well? That would enable Scented Skin Care customers to extend the pleasurable experience of the range they already like to include using a Practical Perfume product too (so they don't perceive it as "super frilly" ie non-essential and frivolous, which is why I suggested adopting an entry-level simple means of applying perfume). Once they like that, they might be intrigued enough to "cross over" to the Perfume territory again and try something else.

    Similarly, if the Perfume customers could be offered Scented Skin Care "layering" opportunities for the most popular Perfume scents, they would be drawn into the other territory too. The high-quality nature of the Scented Skin Care is what will appeal to the current Perfume customers, enabling them to get great skin whilst enjoying the Perfumes they already love in an additional way.

    You probably have all this covered but I wanted to respond to your dilemma.

    Good luck in whatever you do, and I hope things work out for you in 2011.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh



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