Liquorice Dreams (s.o.s!)

Dear all,

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.

$23 (about 18euro) (until Sept 13th)

The boutique is at

I thank you in advance for this and please know that you’re contributing to a dream that is pure and true. (plus receiving a fabulous perfume in exchange.)

With lots of love,
Jessica September Buchanan

(ps I will also reduce Fleur N01 by 25% in honour of this occasion. )

Mood and the psychology of scent

After a chilly and cloudy day yesterday, with the general mood of the class (and me- what a difficult day!) to match, it was a relief to step out of the old wood door into the quiet coolness of my little street this morning and ascend the steep route up through the honeycomb of the centre ville into the blazing glory of a sunny day.  My mood was good; another one of those days I love when I am overcome by happiness at being able to experience the beauty that surrounds me here.  There is pure art all around.  The colours, the light, the sounds, the shapes and angles, the general composition of everything.  My photographer’s eye is constantly sated with so many beautiful possibilities that I don’t even know where to point my camera- so I don’t.  I just take it all in.  It feels like everything is too beautiful to capture.

Today at school was chemistry.  We are learning material that is at a  fairly advanced high-school/first year college level- and at

Flowers in winter

a a speed that condenses three years into about 5 weeks.  It is all  relevant to perfumery of course and today the subject was the science of gas chromatography.  We will be learning how to read the highly technical reports that are produced by these machines and we will also be able to understand the chemical structure of all the components in the materials being analyzed. (both essential oils and synthetic chemicals)  Part of the work will be to choose a perfume to put through the gas chromatography process, then be able analyze the result and decipher the formula of the perfume.  (we can choose anything- Chanel 5 or one of  my favourites, Annick Goutal and at the end, after extensive study and comparative work, we will have a very good idea of the basic formula.)  Because of this technology, there are no secrets in formulation anymore.  Copies happen all the time- it is normal. There are no secrets. So from my what I gather, it comes down mostly to the name.  Yves St Laurent, for example, or Chanel,  could be copied exactly, but it doesn’t really threaten them, because the consumer wants the prestige of the NAME-  Yves St Laurent or Chanel- on their dressing table, and on their body, socially. This can matter more than the actual appreciation of the fragrance itself.  This effect is subtle- hard to pin absolutely, because the power of scent is so emotional that it infiltrates an individual’s experience to such a degree that they don’t even know if they like how something smells because of its name, or because of how it actually smells.  Association plays a roll as well- if it smells how we have been conditioned to think ‘expensive and prestigious’ smells, then in this day and age, we want it.

That said, there is serious research going on these days in the area of aromachology.  Especially in Japan.  (one of my classmates is a biologist who works for Shiseido in this area).      Aromachology* is the study of odour psychology and of human responses to odours. Aromachology does not distinguish between natural or synthetic chemicals.  Heliotropin, for example, has been shown to have a calming effect on the subjects studied, despite being a synthetic material (although it is available from natural sources as well)  The results of these studies is beginning to play a serious role in the formulation of perfumes. We are being chemically influenced by the perfume industry without being aware of it.  Historically, the ultimate goal of the perfume industry has been a healthy bottom-line- not our general well-being. My hope is that the two will inadvertently or eventually coincide.

All this is fabulously interesting and is expanding my perspective in many different directions.  I realize how easy it is to become limited by my beliefs, by what I think I know.   A beginner’s mind, always, seems to allow for an incredibly rich experience in this life……….

*A service mark of the Olfactory Research Fund

Now, my window is open, as usual these warm Spring evenings, and I can hear a cat yowling, and people walking by, laughing and talking, in French, below.  Once in a while, a car roars by, with inches to spare on either side, blasting either hip-hop in a foreign language or Moroccan pop- but otherwise, the heaped up ancient rooms that form this beautiful cluster of humanity isquieting down for the night.  By 10:30, all will be so silent, I can hear my ears ring, and sleep will creep in and encompass all who dwell behind the wood  shutters that are ritually closed by every household, every night……….