Here we are in November already! This Autumn has been flying by, as time does when one is busy every waking hour.
Since first launching in the summer, I’m happy to report that Reglisse Noire has been enthusiastically received by perfumistas everywhere.
In Canada, Reglisse is available in a stylish little boutique in Nelson called Habits.
And in the US, Reglisse is now sold at the Scent Bar at 8327 Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles as well as on their new site dedicated to niche and artisan perfumers… Indie Scents.
Recently, I was interviewed by Michelyn Camen from Cafleurbon… you can read it here. As well, please leave a comment following the article as 5 names will be drawn to win a 5ml pocket-size decant of Reglisse Noire eau de toilette.
It’s been fun to google Reglisse just to see what it being said out there. It’s such an adventure to launch a perfume and then to watch its solo adventures out into the world as it’s discovered and experienced and shared by people whom I have never met. Here is an example- a sweet little review from the perfume blog- Perfume Smellin’ Things.
One of the things I have been asked recently is- ‘What’s next?’ Since I have been in Canada for most of this year, I have been yearning for Grasse with those sunny Mediterranean days and the perfume-infused culture. My heart is always there and so I will be returning next month to explore some new ideas.
I have two perfumes on the drawing board and while one is still secret, the other will be dedicated to the well-being of the honey bee. This is a subject close to my heart and one that is of grave importance.
The pollinators are suffering and dying, due to many human activities especially (super)pesticide use both in home gardens and on the large agro-farms. Without these little creatures, we will suffer major consequences to food production. So I would like to dedicate a portion of sales to really push for positive change. If any of you have suggestions as how to most effectively do this, I would love to hear your thoughts.
All images and content copyright by 1000 Flowers -2010
This blog began in January of 2007 with my journey to Grasse, France to study perfumery. Since then, following my studies and internships there, I have been focusing all my attention on the subsequent portion of the dream- to create beautiful perfumes, and to realize a successful career at the same time. No small feat!!
I returned to Canada 7 months ago, and have been working day-in and day-out on all the details of launching the first fragrance. To say the least, this has involved an enormous amount of work. More facets than one can even imagine!! (although, such a wonderful challenge!)
Since being back, I have also been taking classes in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to learn graphic design so that I can fully express all visual aspects (that accompany imagining of the perfume formula itself) of this creative process. To be honest- more and more, this project feels like an artist’s installation. Such a multi-faceted creation that involves digging deeper into my creative depths than I ever have in my life.
So, subsequently introducing the new outer packaging (as developed in Canada) for Reglisse Noire- the perfume that was born in France ….
The box is solid British Columbia cedar (from off-cuts, leftover from home building), stained pure white with titanium dioxide powder and water, and sealed with a cigar-box style label to guarantee the purity and hand-made nature of each batch of perfume.
My goal has been to create an outer packaging that is an item of beauty to be kept…. thereby having a super light footstep on the Earth. (‘recyclable’, in my humble opinion, just doesn’t cut it anymore…) Refills will be available soon. The lockable vintage-style atomizer is removable, unlike most perfume bottles. Standard perfume bottles, even from luxury and niche brands, have what is called a ‘crimped’ spray top. These are permanently attached, therefore making the bottle, once empty, impossible to recycle or to reuse. For years I have struggled to find a solution to this problem… and finally, the technology has been developed- an atomizer that threads on, that also has a locking mechanism.. so it can be sealed for transport and to prevent evaporation of the precious juice inside.
So there. Years of work at the drawing board… with the goal of bringing into the world a product that represents beauty and that has a light environmental impact….
Perfume. An art form that, now more than ever, is sweeping the world in a multi-layered storm. It’s interesting to see so many people captured by this fascination! I myself am completely engulfed by it. I have given up everything in the pursuit of the knowledge of how to compose perfume…. my house, my country and all my treasured belongings. I will never be the same again. I have been bitten by the bug and now must live with my own deliriously wonderful fever.
On the flip side, there is a growing body of antagonists those who lobby for perfume-free workplaces, schools, and public places in general. On this side of the fence, one also finds those who are the most pro-natural and anti-‘synthetic’.
During the past two years, as I work to create my little perfume house- over and over, I have grappled with the question of ‘all-natural or not’? And it’s my own beliefs about this I have had to come to terms with through a lot of soul-searching. And I have been torn. To my surprise, I have come to love, for example- hedione and exaltolide, for example!!! They are a pleasure to work with and to smell! But they are not so-called ‘natural’, so in this climate, how can I include them in my palette? I too want the earth to survive forever and for all living beings to be healthy and happy and I also want to have creative freedom plus a successful business, so how can I find a balanced answer to these issues?
The words on everyone’s lips these days are…natural, organic, fair trade, sustainable etc. and this great! We are all waking up to the power we have as consumers and how we can really make a difference by how we spend our dollars plus knowing that what we put on our skin effects not only our health, but that of the planet.
But what does that mean for perfumery? The industry is traditionally owned by the big brands who have had the honour of giving us perfumery… as we know it, on a mass scale. And we love these perfumes. Guerlain, Chanel, Dior, and all the others who have been the names behind countless incredible masterpieces of perfume. But now the climate is definitely changing. The relatively recent media spotlight that has illuminated the creation process of perfume is slowly destroying the mystique, and at the same time, many many people are now asking for something different. The return to nature and purity. I read the other day that the green movement in cosmetics is now seen as not just a trend- but as a revolution.
As a perfumer, an entrepreneur and a consumer, I support this revolution wholeheartedly. But not blindly.
The perfume that I created in Grasse (Réglisse Noir) is half naturals and the other half is carefully chosen molecules (biodegradable musk, and others that have been tested thoroughly and have no allergy issues). I love this perfume, and everyone who tries it, does as well. Of two very well-known perfumers in Grasse who reviewed it for me… one said it was “harmonious and well-balanced”. The other said that it was “addictive”.
But how do I market this perfume? Many ask me, here in Canada, “Is it natural?” To simply answer “No”, is insufficient…. and leaves things open to immediate judgment and possible rejection. To say it is ‘artistic’ is true. Painters, for example, use synthetic colours to achieve their goals. But no one is talking about colour; and the public simply wants natural cosmetics.
If only we could find within ourselves balance and moderation rather than extremes…. the middle road so to speak…. and see the good that can be found in almost everything. Which is what I have decided to do. Create perfumes that are composed of various raw materials- predominately naturals of course, as they are my first love and I understand the therapeutic aspects of pure organic oils…. But I will also augment and enhance with some materials which have been created in a laboratory setting. These ones manmade will be biodegradable, (no Galaxolide for me), phthalate-free, and of course- in accordance with the now very stringent International Fragrance Association (IFRA) standards*. Besides, more and more isolated molecules are being created in a way considered natural… so the palette grows.
* (After-note…as I reread this statement about IFRA, I realize the naïveté of what I have just said. I was conditioned to have IFRA compliance as a norm, because this is how it is in the industry and it has been standard self-governing. And this has been for the purpose of the safety of the consumer. However, more recently, it could be said that IFRA is ruining the art of perfumery with its biased extremism and paranoia through the limiting or prohibiting of raw materials- in particular natural materials- based on questionable data. So far, amendment after amendment, the perfume industry has taken it lying down, reformulating classic formulas and even discontinuing perfumes that proved too difficult to comply with the new rules. There is a growing movement, among natural artisan perfumers in particular, to take a stand against this extremism, and I will be contacting some of the most active in this movement to find out if they are standing together on this and in what way. I will write about it once I hear back.)
I feel good about this decision. It was amazing how my education in Grasse opened my eyes to my own blind bias. However, knowing too much can be paralyzing as well..’the more I know the more I realize how much I don’t know’… until one makes friends with new information, deals with the identity crisis that may follow, and then simply moves forward with an open mind. Then, for me personally, the decision is made by choice rather than prejudice.
(After-note: I have utmost respect and admiration for perfumers who chose to work with only natural raw materials. This was my original direction as well, and it was difficult to hear industry people in France and elsewhere say, “you can’t make real perfume with only naturals”. Just in the last 2 years, finally, the school of natural perfumers is being taken much more seriously. The nay-sayers will be eating their words as more and more beautiful natural perfumes are created. )