In 2000, I started a perfumery group on the old idma.com server. It was populated by about two dozen folks that I knew from aromatherapy and fashion groups, and it served its purpose, but there were a lot of elements that could make it more educational, fun and personal missing. So, on June 14, 2002, I started a group on Yahoo dedicated to natural perfumery. Little did I realize that as the first few souls trickled in that it would grow to over 1500 members in six years. Six years on I need moderators to help me manage the group, and they're wonderful, dedicated friends who I can trust to pick up the work in their respective time zones around the world - a big thanks to Claire, Elise, Chris, Carol, Laura, Jennifer and Patty!
It's wonderful to read the happiness in the posts of those who discover the group and realize they aren't alone in their love of natural perfumes. Some have shared that they felt they were the only people in the world loving natural perfumes since the art doesn't get a lot of press, and natural perfumes still don't appear on store shelves. Over the six years, the group members have generously shared links, tips, insights into their creative process, fears, ambitions and basically all the elements that go into making a natural perfumer.
I've seen folks post passionately for a few weeks or month until they got their bearings, and then they fade a bit, perhaps never to post again. They're still reading, getting the emails or digests every day, but as I have found over the years, most perfumers are shy, introspective and so their "lurking" is welcome and they know they have a place to go when needed, to find some information and then become quiet again.
My friend Chris will celebrate eight years of her group Oils, Herbs etc next month with a roster of over 1700 members. We often share the joys and trials of being list moms to such huge groups. Some times the "kids" are chatty and sharing, other times a bit cantankerous, and we list moms just try to encourage the good and deflect the grouchy stuff, just like in real life. At the end of the day the rewards of having such a family from all over the world is our reward, the stuff dreams are made of, the stuff that puts a smile on our lips as we fall to sleep at night.
Why? Because on the other side of the world, one of the group members is just waking up, logging on to see the latest posts, check the archives for a answer to one of the pressing problems concerning an aromatic, or just noodling around the site to pick up some new angle. It's all good, and Yahoo is to be thanked for providing such a home base for so many people. I know it's helped natural perfumery grow, helped a community build, and will continue to help all the newbies who, perhaps tomorrow, do a web search and find a group of kindred souls who share their passion for natural aromatics.