Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Timely Hiatus To Work Locally Helping Neighbors

Today is the one year anniversary of Hurrican Wilma hitting us here in South Florida. My house was without power for fifteen days. I was lucky that there was no damage to my house. Others, however, a year later, still have blue tarps on their roofs, no repairmen or supplies in sight, and are living in substandard conditions. We're all also suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome; children cry during rainstorms, and adults get tight-lipped and worried with each gust of wind.

It's estimated that 15,000 homes in Dade and Broward are without solid, safe roofs, subject to flooding in the next storm. Every rain storm brings news reports of more people made homeless as the blue tarps fly off, exposing their homes and apartments to the rain.

My business and personal life is very busy, so I had to find something(s) to eliminate right now. I'm going to take some time off from this blog to help with the efforts to rebuild South Florida, and also to aid in the struggle for affordable housing. We now have a "tent city" that has been established in our poorest neighborhood in an attempt to bring political attention to the plight of the people with *no* place to live.

The blog is fun, and I'll get back to it, but I want to spend my spare time in local efforts right now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Recognizing Redefining Perfume: Letter to Natural Health Magazine on Natural Botanical Perfumery

On July 27, 2006 I was chatting on a thread on the natural perfumery group I host on Yahoo (link on the right) about an article on natural perfumers in the then-current Natural Health magazine. There were several "regular" perfumers included in the article, and the mention of phthalates made it seem like we use them. With Mandy Aftel's help, I drafted a letter to the magazine. They just published the letter, edited of course, in the November issue! It's so wonderful to see the name of the Guild and natural perfumery presented in a positive light in the media ;-)

Here's the original letter I sent.

Dear Editor:

I am the President of the Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild, founded by
Mandy Aftel, and I'm the host of a 900+ member Yahoo group for natural perfumers.

Natural perfumers define themselves as artists who use only aromatics from
nature, such as absolutes, concretes and essential oils from plants. They
may also use natural source beeswax, and perhaps ambergris and other animal products.

We're so pleased you're covering natural perfumery and are continuing to
make the public aware of it. I have read articles in Natural Health
previously on this subject. I am a subscriber and enjoy every issue.

On behalf of the natural perfumers, I would like to address some
misconceptions put forth in your article :

1. Several of the perfumers you featured in the article do use synthetic
fragrance oils, and are not natural perfumers.

2. Natural perfumers do not use, nor have they ever used, phthalates.

The natural aromatics, such as glorious rose otto, refreshing grapefruit
oil, and musky ambrette seed are part of our palette that is redefining
perfumery in the 21st century. That is the real focus of natural perfumery,
and in that area, some use only organic materials, or may produce vegan,
traditional, or sustainable products, according to their philosophy.
Education is a priority now, since we are such a new art form, and I thank
you for the chance to communicate these points.

Back to October 2006 - the only updates are that the natural perfumery group is now over 1000 members, and the Guild has grown tremendously since it opened in June. There are now more than 75 members, including professional perfumers, suppliers and stores, associates and enthusiasts.
It's really gratifying to see such a positive response to the art we love so much, an art that pleases our senses and gives us creative outlet to our inspiration and talent.
The Guild members come from the USA, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Britan, France and Barbados. It's very exciting to see the interest in natural perfumery growing worldwide and so many businesses sprouting up.