Ethos, Inspiration & Story
It is very trendy these days to stand out with your ethical views and highly sustainable products on the market as a manufacturer, but as a consumer you probably have no idea how difficult it is to maintain the level and especially start the whole idea behind a brand. Every product starts with a story which, of course, has to develop, as our views and principles change wth time. For me it had to be my real, naked, self-defining me, because only when you truly love something you can present it to other people. When you see my social media posts and the words I use, you see me, nothing idealized, nothing artificially created, it is me, a person who passionately loves reading classics, loves organic beauty products, simplicity and minimalism in life and all the beauty around us. I love catching special moments in life, I love talking about self- awareness to myself, and I like putting that all down in verse but for now my poems stay with me. And all this was not achieved in one day. I also used to be someone who knew nothing about toxins and environmental harm our every day products may cause... I also used to have a hectic life, trying to make as much as possible during the day when one day I realized we can't fully enjoy life, hoard things (including excessive use of beauty products) unless we stop and ask ourselves: Am I truly enjoying all I have around me?
I love seeing new ethical brands appearing on the market but I truly enjoy reading how they promote the ideas and educate their own customers...
I see most of the beauty in the art of prose and poetry and that is why my perfume descriptions can be read as book excerpts... It has been 6 months since I opened my new website and I can definitely say that it was difficult, satisfying and really exciting to hear your feedback, to see some perfumes fly off my shelves and get unusual and unexpected customers (I wish I could tell you more but I am afraid I can't), so before a new season starts I wanted to talk about myself, my philosophy, inspiration and share some random thoughts about being a natural perfumer ...
Perhaps, the most difficult part of being a natural perfumer is trying to keep all elements eco-friendly. While ingredients can be natural, vegan and sustainable (with lots of research, compliance with the current regulations, etc.), packaging stays an everyday achievement. When I was writing an article (soon to be published in Earth Island Journal) on sustainability of perfume ingredients, I knew that the situation with sustainability of some vulnerable materials was a sensitive topic and what was hidden behind some rare popular perfume oils is a black market industry. That is, probably, the main reason, why I avoid some ingredients (mainly Indian sandalwood, for example). My experience and logic have always been telling me that one can make a beautiful fragrance using other rare, beautiful but sustainable oils. And, believe me, most of them are very underestimated! It is not the cost of oil which determines the final result and the price of a fragrance, not at all (although most expensive oils are indeed amazing). It is the artistry of a perfumer. I very much appreciate the overall plot around a perfume.
Seeing recycled paper boxes for the first time I was surprised how beautiful the quality of paper could be. The boxes I use for my perfumes are made in the EU. I used to have insert cards but at the moment I am working on the ones made of recycled paper too. The texture, colours and quality are beautiful and they remind me of some vintage post cards.
Perfume bottles also have to reflect my philosophy but I wish there were more sustainable options for spray pumps! While looking for quality glass and caps (mine are made in France), I got really disappointed with the options an indie perfumer had. So in this situation a proper way of sorting your garbage is the only wise solution. If plastic is recycled in your country, put it into an appropriate container, remember to remove the pump off the bottle in any case! You can use pliers for that, it is very easy. The same concerns sample bottles.
The new bottles which are going to be available in autumn 2018 will also include a new version for extraits de parfum. And I hope the latter ones will have even fewer plastic parts or almost zero. 15ml flacons are beautiful but, on the other hand, I think smaller versions at an even higher or maximum concentration might be a better option. I am still working on that. Eau de parfum bottles will be more compact and much lighter which means mini perfumes will not be necessary anymore. What is interesting about my perfumes is that my formulas contain more base notes while they remain well-balanced in their accords. This means that spraying one-two times is all you need for eau de parfum. I recommend to have two versions: eau de parfum (if you really love the ritual of spraying, especially in summer) and parfum extrait (to carry it with you, since the flacons are smaller, and also for special occasions, especially for evenings and more intimate application). In this case your perfume will last much longer.
But remember to be an eco-conscious consumer, it is not only necessary to look for transparancy in brands but also to not be afraid to ask questions about ingredients, packaging, etc. Perfumes are part of the luxury industry but luxury should not come at a high cost for our planet.
What comfort there is in the skin of someone you love!
― Erich Maria Remarque, The Night in Lisbon
It is interesting to know that botanical perfumes love skin that is well cared of. Clean, well moisturized skin will keep the perfume much longer, it is a fact. You cannot expect the same performance of a fragrance on different people's skin. So when you see a review of a perfume, do not think you will smell the same. Natural perfumes need to be tested on your skin, not on clothes, not on perfume strips, not on your friend's skin, and definitely not out of a bottle!
Probably, you have noticed that even our skin smells differently even without any perfume, there are many factors which influence it: part of the day, season, health, diet, etc. And that all determines how a certain perfume will smell on your skin. It is all about a blend of chemicals, from your body and from essential oils.
It is interesting how we perceive perfumes, some like to leave a long sillage, an invisible trace of molecules in the air, some love having it between them and their signature scent, an intimate moment when only you can smell your perfume and only those who are close enough to hug or kiss you are able to sense it.
I know my skin smells powdery in the mornings, and very often I avoid perfumes at such moments or apply very little but very often I feel like I need a certain scent, thus I apply perfumes not for other people around me because I want to smell good, I do it for myself. Natural perfumes certainly have aromatherapy qualities but it is also the ambiance they create and that is the main reason I love them.
But the moments scents serve us best are those when we combine them with the sense of touch. Whether it is our child, spouse, mother or a pet, we absorb the scents better trying to remember those amazing moments. I like it when natural perfumes can complement our own natural skin scent, bring new sensations and enrich our olfactive experience but I think some moments cannot and should not have substitutes, and each of those special moments is so personal and intimate...
Moments are temporary, transitional and are only small parts of our life. But they may define some essential things in our life. I speak about the pleasure we take in life, use of natural perfumes and the natural world around us in moments. I believe it is important to catch them.
What is it to use natural perfumes? It is to take a small bit of nature in the form of oils, absolutes, tinctures, etc., blend them in the most creative way and enjoy the harmonious accords. Just like poetry botanical perfumes change as you read their notes. For me, they make me want to stop and even put down the moment when notes change. But what new horizons you may open when you realize that top notes are not only fresh citrus oils but some exquisite and rare oils, some oils can have both a top and heart profile depending on the origin and season, so, for example, lavender can be presented in the top and middle notes too. These amazing qualities of oils create a smooth transition between the three accords designed by a perfumer. So while some people try to come to a common conclusion about the longevity of natural perfumes, I prefer to talk about their beauty and unique character. Just as you like inhaling the aromas of the garden of summer herbs, botanical perfumes can create beautiful bouquets.
If you think it is hard for you to separate oils in an accord, it would be really interesting to practice and train your nose. You can start with the spices and herbs you have at home. Even a couple of minutes a day can make a big difference for your future olfactive experience! You can also use essential oils which you probably use for aromatherapy. Make sure they are of good quality. Use very small amounts, one-two drops, since essential oils are very concentrated. On the other hand, you may also notice that fresh lavender bloom, dried lavender buds and essential oil of lavender can smell so differently, even if the source is the same. It is all about molecules, constituents of oil which define the aroma profile.
I believe in the power of natural perfumes and use them not to impress people around me (but that happens unintentionally too) but in the power of nature, its all-embracing beauty, how it can consonantly blend with man-made creations making new forms of art. As we take moments to enjoy a poem, a fiction story, a painting, we can also slow down and enjoy the moments we spend with natural perfumes, from its application to the final tunes in the drydown.