Thursday, February 21, 2008

Separated at birth? Two natural perfumers with a huge link


Left box and bottle: Ascent Natural Perfumes Right side: Janita Haan Perfumes

In August 2007 the Guild welcomed natural perfumer Rohanna Goodwin Smith of Ascent Natural Perfumes onboard as a Professional Perfumer. I noted that the similarities between her packaging, down to the size and shape of the box, the color of the box, the shape of the perfume bottles and the delicate, sophisticated style of her perfume was nearly identical to that of Janita Haan, another Guild Professional Perfumer, who joined June 2007. My photograph here does not show the color similarity so well. I think the flash brought out too much red in Janita's box, the one on the right with the larger bottle. The gold drops you see behind the bottle are from the sealing wax.

When anyone joins the Guild they submit some items to me for the Guild Library, so I've seen a lot of packaging, but never anything like the similarities between these two perfumers.

When Janita saw the name of Rohanna's company, her heart sank. Janita had been using the name Ascent Natural Perfumes for 10 years. Here's how she signed on the Natural Perfumery group: Janita ascent established 1998 www.hayspace.co.uk I don't think that site is up anymore, at least not just now when I checked. It was a site that hosted a lot of artisans, and Janita's page was found by clicking on perfume.

She didn't (still doesn't) have a website up, so the Ascent doppelganger didn't register with me. I spoke with her, and we didn't know quite what to do. Janita called up Rohanna, and in the spirit of good will decided to drop her claim on the name Ascent Natural Perfumes and go with Janita Haan Natural Perfumes. What a lovely and generous thing to do in this day of challenges over Trademarking. Janita is a quite famous person in her own right as the lead singer (great vintage photos here, and some video) of the Babe Ruth Band, so she'll go with a eponymous name for her company and website. Janita is also involved in several artistic projects in the UK such as The Flowers of Myddfai. She's a really, really, good person who chose to build bridges with another perfumer rather than burn bridges or cause a ruckus.

But that's not the whole story. Until I told Rohanna and Janita about the design and visual similarities, and aside from the name duplication, I found out they're both Taureans and both are singers. I think there are a few more elements I can't remember at this time. Well, they both live in remote, rural areas, Janita in Wales, and Rohanna in British Colombia. Some day they will have to meet, these two very lovely ladies, and compare notes. Two noses, separated at birth ;-)

Summary:

Ascent Natural Perfume
Same shape box for packaging
Almost identical color for box
Same shape bottles
Taureans
Singers
Life in remote, rural areas

Just a nice little story to share.

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