Monday, November 27, 2006
Thanksgiving weekend has given me a reason to be extra-thankful. No hurricanes this season (yay!), I placed over 70 families in an emergency situation re: collapsing roofs (due to Hurricane Wilma-weakened roofs) into new housing in the past month when they were made homeless by October/November rains, and finally got my website store up and running.
Life interferes when you're trying to make perfumes!;-) It's been a struggle through two hurricane seasons, since I ended my private label contracts with South Beach hotels that were longtime business associates, launched Anya's Garden, launched the Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild, refused a number of custom perfume contracts due to priority obligations, well, Whew! I think the hard work is over, it's going to be all about the great fragrances from now on.
Natural perfumers tend to be sticklers for control. We have to. Our perfumes must meet the highest standards, our packaging must reflect our aesthetic and philosophy, and our ability to meet customer's expectations has to be number one. If I'm lucky, I'll even get a breather and be able to start blending again next month.
It's all about the juice, dear readers, the beautiful perfume that is at the soul of us all, the fragrances that rule our noses, our lives. So many customers were delighted by the samples that have been available for a few months, they were writing me constantly about getting the store together. The bottles are wonderfully suited for my philosophy. The minis for the perfume extrait are so tiny, such a sensual delight in the hand, I just love them.
I'm glad you'll be able to click this photo on and see it enlarged here. I still have to figure out how to do that on Anya's Garden. I took this photo yesterday. I rambled around my garden, sad that the only jasmine azoridum was in bloom 10 feet up, where the vigorous vine had clambered up the hibiscus "tree". With rain, the lower sprays of the vine may bloom today or tomorrow, but in the meantime I had to settle for this clereodendron, and boy, and I glad I chose it! So architectural and wild, so tropical, the massive scale of the flower plays off my tiny bottles beautifully. With the photo, you can see the little "treasure chest" box the minis will be packaged in. Doing the happy dance over this. Oh, if you can believe it, that clereo is a close relative of the clereo flower that is pictured on the homepage of Anya's Garden. So different looking from each other!
My spray bottles are not crimped. Many perfumers prefer crimped, and I may someday go that route, but I want the customer to be able to open the bottle, perhaps pour some into a little vial to share with a friend, or decant some for a vial for their purse or pocket. The 15ml EdT size is, however, on its own, a good travel size. A spritz of EdT is wonderful, the vaporization really opens the scent up. Yum!
Back to the sticklers bit: most of the photos on the site were taken by me, I designed the new logo, wrote the copy, did the html coding, etc. I think the only photo I didn't take is for spa illustration, but I'll get one of my own up soon. It's all part of being a natural perfumer, I tell you - exhausting stuff, lol. We're artisans. Everything is handcrafted. Wouldn't be surprised if some NPer out there starts blowing glass for the bottles, lol. If we can't make the stuff, we look for other artisans who do. The woman who provides the silk pouches made from recycled Nepalese clothing scraps has her son and his family produce them. I like the fact that I'm in communication with her, and the money I spend helps keep her son and his family employed, albeit on a tiny scale, from my end.
My boxes are made from recycled paper, and the pouches with the perfume bottles are placed inside the box, much more expensive than the typical cardboard/waffle board packaging, but much more luxurious and personal an experience when my customer opens the box and is surprised by a beautiful brocade pouch for the perfume.
Recycled can be beautiful! The boxes have a slight sheen to them, which gives a luxe feel. They're either a forest green on muted gold, the colors I've chosen for Anya's Garden.
It's an affair of the heart: the gold scrolls in the logo were emailed to me in June 2005 when some wonderful, supportive folks were helping me launch http://naturalperfumery.com. The green colors in my logo and packaging reflect my "green" lifestyle, and the gold reflects the color of my hair and eyes. I like the scrolly art because my hair is curly. Oh, I'm such a goofball -- a very happy one, with all the colors and memories and intentions that mean so much to me.
This is a very exciting time for me. In 1992, when I started selling Anya's Tropical Essences (natural oil perfumes) on South Beach, things were much simpler, moved much faster, but were much more solitary. Now, with the internet, I'm connected in a way with other natural perfumers in a manner I never dreamed of 15 years ago. Then, I was, to my knowledge, the only person selling natural perfumes here in the States. I sold to individuals, hotels, stores, etc., just jobbing the bottles around myself. It was *lots* of fun, and led to great, exciting things, but the internet, the Guild, the community that is being built now is exciting to the max.
And I'm just so happy that Anya's Garden is but a fragrant plot of land in the midst of it, a fragrant atelier where gardening, perfumery, art and soul come together.
Posted by Anya McCoy at 11/27/2006 12:28:00 PM