It is an interesting & challenging balancing act to be an independent perfumer and an entrepreneur. One must wear many hats, and life becomes very full. This is why some time has passed since the last fragrances were launched from 1000 Flowers.. (Ode for Him and Love is Sweet, Dec 2012). However. the time has come to talk about a new collection that is soon to be released, called the Blue Collection.
This time, I have chosen to write (in scent) about my surroundings, and that is the Mediterranean region. I love this place, and it’s been four years that I have lived and worked here full time. Here, the intensity of the sunshine illuminates everything, the plants and flowers, the blue sky, and the blue sea. It gets inside the soul, and is like no other place I have ever been.
So the new collection of perfumes will talk about the plants and flowers that one finds in the region- like the heady scent of blooming orange trees, the pink pepper berries that one can pick, the smell of ripe fruit in summer at the beach, and wild carrot near the sea, the smell of pine and other conifers in the mountains behind Grasse, and roses and roses and roses…
There will be four fragrances, housed in cobalt blue glass. The bottles are refillable, and the labels are big, bright and colourful interpretations of Mediterranean tiles. I have developed connections with some amazing French suppliers, a couple of them artisan distillers, who grow, harvest, and extract essential oils and absolutes. And since the Mediterranean climate is so perfect for growing everything from jasmine to roses to clary sage, with many wild fragrant plants like labdanum and various herbs, the region is a veritable treasure trove of perfume ingredients.
So with all that at one’s fingertips, it is natural so to speak, to focus on these raw materials in the context of perfumery. That is not to say that the collection is ‘all natural’. It is not. I do work with a palette of man-made molecules, and as an artist, I really appreciate their importance in perfume creation. But I do not use polycyclic musks, (non biodegradable molecules that are used extensively in commercial fragrances), or phthalates. And I do adhere to IFRA safety standards. (You can read here about what IFRA is).
Also this way, you will have precious molecules from Mediterranean plants and flowers, bottled, and delivered to your door….
Happy November everyone! After a lot of work and a big learning curve, we have just beta launched the new site for 1000 Flowers, and it is now mobile friendly!
In 2010, when I was last in Canada, I attended a number of small business training courses to deepen my knowledge of the Adobe design programs, and also of web design. Our amazing teacher told us then how mobile capability was going to be one of the most important things for successful online business. And one can see how digital life has changed in general just in that 5 years since. Everyone is mobile, either by phone or tablet, and the home PC is now being used less and less. I have also seen several longtime dedicated bloggers discontinuing their work, since amongst other reasons, the mobile readers are less likely to follow a full length blog entry than the short little blurbs on Instagram or other more mobile friendly, fast-paced platforms. Also, people have definitely become more comfortable and confident shopping from their mobiles. So we are very happy to have joined the mobile world with 1000 Flowers! (SITE)
You will see a few changes in the boutique: our 15ml splash version is discontinued, and all fragrances are now available in 30ml, with Reglisse Noire available in 30ml and 50ml format. In about 1 month, we will be announcing a brand new collection of fragrances from 1000 Flowers, inspired by the Mediterranean region, with all new packaging and a sunny, vibrant theme. And in the coming days, we will tell you how you can be part of the launching of that collection.
To celebrate the new site, for the next 7 days (until Nov 7th), we will offer a coupon worth 15% from your purchase- just enter the code: ‘sunshine’ on the checkout page (all lowercase). Also, since we are still beta, feel free to comment and let us know how you find your experience navigating the site.
Also, you will be seeing some informative posts appearing here on the blog, written by a guest writer, an intern here at 1000 Flowers, who will be exploring various subjects relating to Grasse, perfumery, and the region. So sign up if you haven’t already, and stay tuned! Have a happy day!
Actually, I am joking a little when writing the first part of the title for this post. As much as France (and its culture) is charming and amazing in so many ways, I will always be la Canadienne! Integrated, yes- but comfortable with keeping my own cultural identity. However, the same can not be said for my company. While strongly identified with its roots, 1000 Flowers has officially made the transition to becoming French. Making this happen has been a challenging process in some ways (nothing is simple in France), and relatively easy in others. I decided to start small, and to begin in the category of ‘autoentrepreneur’. I attended the 3 hour training session at the Chambre des Metiers et des Artisanats, in order to fill in the registration form correctly, and then compiled the stack of documents that are required to complete the application. The first submission was rejected, due to several missing said documents, but round two, was accepted, and yesterday I received in the post, my certificate of inscription with the Repertoire des Entreprises et des Etablissements. As such, I am the proud recipient of a ‘Identifiant SIREN et SIRET’.
The journey to arrive to this point has been long, and has taken many steps to complete. Normally, for a foreigner to create a company in France, it is a complex and very expensive process. But since I entered on the ‘Talents et Competance’ Visa, after having been validated via the acceptance into a business incubator (Pepiniere), I was given permission to create my project in France under this particular visa. Having done my formal training here was also very helpful. I don’t have the right to work outside of my own field, and will submit my taxes here, plus qualify for the medical system. Technically at this point, (five years of living in France), I could also apply for citizenship….but this isn’t a priority at the moment.
Also, just as a follow up: I wanted to address the subject of the InnovaGrasse incubator. As I had reported in a previous post (Grasse- Being in Perfume ), I worked for months to write a comprehensive business plan to be accepted into this program, and subsequently in 2011, I was accepted. This was an incredibly exciting prospect, and a great experience in the process, but in the end- I did not enter the program, and decided to continue my project independently. (Still adhering to the requirements of my visa in doing so). The reasons for this were simple- cost, and practicality. Primarily, it was only an office space, without the basic requirements of a lab- ie a sink with running water. I had been told at the onset, that I would have access to a small lab on the main floor- but when I arrived back in France, this was not the case. So all in all, I made the decision to create my own lab in a large and airy room in my apartment in the centre of the old city of Grasse. This is where I have been happily working ever since.
Once again, it has been far too long since I’ve written. I’ve been here in Grasse since August, and life has been so full and exciting and stressful and all-consuming that blogging has fallen rather by the wayside. However, yesterday was my birthday, and one of the resolutions I made for this new year, is to once again share with you what life is like here in the Country of Grasse (Le Pays de Grasse).
Let me begin, by speaking about a trip to Milan last weekend that I had the good fortune of sharing with 2 perfumers who also live here in Grasse (one French and the other Russian).
This year was the second year of the Esxence- The Art of Perfumery event that takes place in the centre of Milano, Italie. This magical city is only 4 hours by car from Grasse, so on the morning of the 31st, we set out early so we could have the afternoon to begin exploring perfumes.
We arrived around lunchtime, and after we had installed ourselves in our lovely apartment in the region of the city where there are canals (empty this time of year) designed by Leonardo de Vinci (we rented a place through http://www.airbnb.com), we made our way to the Esxence event via the Metro.
Nothing could have prepared us for the immensity of this event. Two expansive floors of booths showcasing hundreds of niche perfume brands. We hadn’t even made a dent in the exhibition when it was closing time for the day. We were however, invited to a private launch party of the new collection of fragrances from the renowned French perfume house, Piguet. This was held in an amazing wisteria covered outdoor patio at the Sheraton hotel not far away.
After champagne and some wonderful conversations with old and new friends of the perfumed world, we were famished. At a certain point, food must become more important than perfume. It was already 11pm when we found an adorable and packed full (the Italians eat late) little restaurant, where we stood in line until a table came up. It was worth the wait, and dinner was delectable.
The next morning, I was determined to make a thorough tour of the event and get my nose around as many perfumes as absolutely possible. This would also include an extended visit to the Osmotheque booth to smell vintage perfumes composed in their original formulae.
I also attended a very interesting conference on the subject of the synthetic raw material, Hedione, presented by the man from Osmotheque- Bernard Bourgeois, which was very interesting indeed.
The most unusual booth I saw at the event was of the brand Nasomatto.
To make a long story short- I was far too ambitious in my attempts to take in almost every single booth. Later that evening, as I reflected on the day when we were finally enroute home to Grasse- I realized that it was almost a complete blur. I had taken in far too much information, both visually and olfactively.
I did however, leave with a sense of being inspired by the finesse and beauty of the presentation of fragrance brands. This is a luxury product- in an artistic, refined, expensive, and beauty-based kind of way. Many flacons are works of art and design in themselves. The careful choices of colour, of shape, of texture to present an alurring identity of a brand, that then must somehow be balanced with the beauty and appeal of the juice inside the bottles themselves. To be honest, often I found that the fragrance of the juice didn’t captivate me as strongly as the visual impact. I would be wowed by the bottle, the artwork, the logo, the display, and then the perfume would somehow fall flat and be disappointing in comparison.
There was one brand however, who stood out to me, that presented a luxury, haute gamme beauty, with beautiful hardwood cases housing golden flacons of scent. These fragrances I also found quite gorgeous. This was Maison Dorin from Paris.
So for the future, I would recommend preparing beforehand for an event such as this, in order to maximize the benefits. This for me, would include studying the list of exhibitors, and choosing the ones that I would specifically like to see. If any time was left over after that, I could make a more general tour. I would not repeat, however, my attempt to take in everything as I did in Milan. Lessons learned by a first-timer!
As a closing note, I must say, that I LOVED Milano! It was not what at all what I expected. It was artistic and active, with little funky boutiques lining cobbled streets, vintage clothing shops, graffiti (both banal and amazing) everywhere… and lots of young people dressed in wild and creative ensembles. At one in the morning, the streets were full of people of all ages out socializing. I was reminded in a way of the arts scene in Vancouver, Canada… and in that, was touched by my experience. My impression of the Italians in general, is that they are much more expressive and fearless in the creative process than (dare I say it?)…. the French. Also, they are extremely friendly and warm. All in all, a super weekend!
As many of you know, I am an artisan perfumer, and the founder of 1000 Flowers. I’m known for having big dreams and a lot of courage.
Today I have a very humble and honest post to share with you.
I created this small business many years ago in the mountains of western Canada. After much success, many hardships and a whole lot of determination, planning and dreaming, I sold my house so as to attend a year of perfumery school in the south of France, followed by some internships in a French company or two.
Since then, I’ve clung, ironclad, to my dream of creating a niche perfume house with a collection of perfumes based on naturals and with a green and ethical approach to both creation and business.
This Spring, I worked long hours to write a business plan and proposal to present to a business incubator here in Grasse- and I was accepted!
I then returned to Canada to apply for my 3 year visa, worked to attain new clients, and to launch a new perfume. I spent 4 months working like mad, and returned to Grasse one month ago.
Since then, I have been biting my nails is regard to how to pay for this venture. I have looked at angel investors, applied for the Dragon’s Den, and other ideas too… but so far, no one is interested in such a ‘small fish’… they all want big and they want to charge a hefty fee to even orchestrate matching of investors with entrepreneurs. At this point, I am more idea and potential, then actual. Not everyone dares to dream as I do.
To get to the point- I have realized that I may have to pack up and give up….. I have exhausted myself, my resources (I have put about 60,000 Canadian dollars of my own money into this venture), and my nerves. There have been months where I had money for only one meal a day, since all possible funds have to go into developing the business. (raw materials, bottles, boxes etc.)
I have done everything myself by hand so far, created and launched two perfumes, designed and created the packaging, built the website, done all my own photography, packed my things back and forth between Grasse and Canada etc etc etc.
So…. for all of you who know me, and all of you who might not- I am making an appeal with all my heart. My first perfume, many of you know well- REGLISSE NOIRE- has been a great hit… much loved and appreciated by all ages, and men and women alike.
To keep going, to grow my company here in Grasse by entering into this business development program- I can’t do it alone. I need your help!!
In exchange for your support, for the next 2 weeks, I offer you Reglisse Noire at a greatly reduced price. $23 each for the 15ml flacon. (normally priced at $45)
The shipping is $8.50 to anywhere in the world.