Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bottle Buy for the members of the Natural Perfumers Guild - and a giveaway

The Natural Perfumers Guild has added a new benefit to membership: group bottle buys.  What this does is bring affordable, beautiful bottles into the micro-businesses that make up the Guild.  No matter what category membership a Guild member holds, they can take part in this.  Elise Pearlstine generously offered to help organize the buy and administer it.  She made the initial contact with suppliers to identify what was available in case lots, then she received samples from them, and she and I evaluated them.

We looked at the bottles and caps available, and determined that yes, even though five or six Guild members might be sharing the same buy, with different caps and labels, there would be enough of an aesthetic difference so that the perfume bottle would be "their own" as it were.

After presenting about nine different bottles/sizes to the Guild members via a photo gallery in our private Yahoo group, bottles G and J were selected by those participating in the buy.  I forgot to mention there was also a purse spray bottle offered, but I don't think anyone selected that.

I also particpated, in a way.  As Elise and I poured over the supplier's offerings, I found the perfect bottle for the soon-to-launch Food and Drink line.  Ironically, the bottle is called the Elise!

The perfumers benefiting from the buy, which includes Elise, as she's revamping her packaging, are splitting cases.  Some may be buying only 50 bottles - and what artisan perfumer doesn't know the agony of not being able to buy the bottle they want, because the only ones available were in cases of 200 or more?  One buyer is in South Africa, far from any source of perfume bottles.  It's really gratifying to know we're able to provide this service to our members.

Our next buy will be in a month or so, because the Italian glassworks shut down for the summer.  In the Fall, we're going to look into crystal glass-stopper bottles and crimp top bottles for sprayers.

Elise is really to be thanked for this, because she put many hours, and two visits to one nearby glass company (70 miles from her house, one way) to establish relationships, suss out the lingo and procedures and otherwise make this buy painless for the Guild members. Thanks so much Elise!

Any Guild members or non-Guild members reading this - I'd like to ask what other benefits you'd like to add to what the Guild offers? Please leave a comment.  Any non-Guild member who comments will be in the random draw for a free one-year membership in the Guild!  Any Guild member who comments will be in the random drawing receive half off their renewal fee when it is due this year.

Also, please sign up to subscribe to this blog, as I am going to be blogging here frequently, and there will be lots of prizes and giveaways.

If you're not signed up for my newsletter, please do so because I always have surprises and special announcements there for newsletter subscribers only.

Leave your comment by April 2nd to be in the drawing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Contest: Fresh ginger, fresh ginger, wherefort art thou fresh ginger?

Can you help me?  I need two things from my readers. There will be a freebie gift for two helpful souls who reply, one for each subject.

First:  Back in late 2006, I stumbled across *fresh* ginger root essential oil at liberty natural.  There were two - one from Madagascar, one from Indonesia.  I immediately told my perfumery friends about it, and I used the fresh version in the kits for my students.  Why the excitement?

Fresh grated ginger - zest, fresh, hot, spicy fragrance
Previously, the only ginger root oil available was from the peeled, sun-dried roots, and it was a middle note for perfumery.  It had a mellow, soft fragrance, much like the dried ginger powder you get for baking purposes.  This fresh ginger, on the other hand, smelled just like the fresh cut or grated root!  Hot, spicy, wet, luscious, and a top note!

I've used the aged, dried ginger EO, because it is valuable in perfumery and for food and drink purposes, but its soft character was just that, soft, comfortable, warm.
Peeled, aged, dried ginger root being packaged in India.
So imagine my surprise when I purchased a sample of some (fresh) ginger oil from the original supplier, in anticipation of the launch of my food and drink line.  It was the dried, aged oil.  I checked some stock I had purchased, unsampled, from a trusted supplier in anticipation of my student's kits and my food and drink project, and again, the aged, dried oil. I then sampled from another supplier, it was fresh!  I ordered bulk quantity, and the aged, dried arrived.  (I'll be on the phone with them this afternoon).

So, anyone who can help me source the fresh ginger EO will win three samples of my perfume, their choice of fragrance, or one four milliliter bottle of one of my food and drink oils.  The line won't launch until next month.  I'm keeping the list of oils private until then, but I'll let the winner know the list, so they can make a choice. :-)

Second:  I now am going to sell the aged, dried oil as part of my food and drink line.  I use it in drinks and baked goods, where it imparts a lovely level of flavor.  If I'm going to call the fresh ginger well, fresh, so what should I call the traditional ginger oil?  I've mentioned the word mellow to describe it, but I'm hoping somebody can come up with another name for me to consider.  This will really help me, readers, I need your input.

Same prize as the First question - perfumes or food and drink oil of your choice.

Note: all the oils in my food and drink line are usable in perfumery, and they come from my own perfumery stock.  

You must reply here to be in the drawing, and the drawing will be held Saturday, April 2, 2011.

Thanks in advance for helping me!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Don't Supply Formulas for Students of the Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute

Nowhere in the 350 page textbook, nor in the online study area of the website (access via password to the private area) will at student of the Natural Perfumery Institute find a formula.  Not a formula for an accord.  Not a formula for a basic perfume.  I don't instruct students to study existing perfumes, either mainstream or niche, synthetic types, or natural.

Students are given the skill set to properly evaluate, analyze and categorize the array of natural aromatics that they obtain, either by purchasing the course kits, or have purchased on their own.  They are instructed how to create accords and evaluate how the aromatics interact.  They then are given instructions on how make a perfume.

This system works beautifully, in my opinion, and allows the students intellect and creativity to combine, allowing them to set their own aesthetic.  They still adhere to the fragrance family paradigm, and select a cohesive theme for their perfume, say, a gourmand floral, but they arrive at that perfume by their own power, not because "xyz" that they constructed under someone else's tutelage gave them the idea.

This quote sums it up:
There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys; they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves. -Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher (1813-1855) 
Thanks to Anastasia on FB for sharing that quote.  It fits my philosophy about learning precisely. 
ETA: several comments and lots of "likes" on Facebook - the energy it takes away from blogs is always very noticeable.  I'm going to start giveaways here that only work if you leave a comment *here*.  Blogs were the first lines of communication on the 'Net, and I respect that. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Ask the Perfumer is open for questions from hot and humid Miami - summer is giving us a sneak peek with 90F-degree weather today.  I'm just in from watering my plants, which, since we're on water restrictions, is only on Wednesday and Sunday, and I'm wilting.  Perk me up with your questions.

And today is a very special day for Mandy Aftel, master natural perfumer - she's nominated for three FiFi Awards from the Fragrance Foundation.  I believe it's the first ever Indie Awards by them, so it's quite a coup. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, March 20, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

In the Spring, do your thoughts turn to lighter perfumes? Ask the Perfumer is open for questions today, and with a gentle reminder: please do not post follow-up questions to me privately during the week.  This is the forum for all questions.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

It's a beautiful day here in Miami, and I'll be working on extracting the scent of hyacinths both by enfleurage and tincturing.  I hope you have a beautiful day, too, and if you have any perfumery questions, I'll be here until 10 PM.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, March 6, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

I'm here until 10 PM to answer questions you have about perfumery.  There may be a time lag until your questions appear, as I'm in and out all day.  Have a beautiful Sunday!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Anya's Garden Perfume Kaffir Reviewed on Perfume Posse

I'm really going to be blogging a lot more, especially since I realize that I failed to mention Tom Pease's review of Kaffir perfume on Perfume Posse on February 7th! I did tweet about the review, calling it "stunningly accurate", but that's definitely not the same as posting here, on the blog.

Some of Tom's comments did stun me - in a great way.  To hear that my perfumes are his "armor" and "heartlessly chic", in the vein of Bandit, an iconic mainstream perfume was just wonderful.  Too often, we perfumers work in solitude, and yes, sales can indicate that customers love our creations, but we also don't get direct feedback, except from bloggers.

When I wake up every day, the first business thought on my mind is - how can I help my customers?  Sound odd.  It isn't, if you think about it.  Tom was helped by a perfume so feisty, that he felt it was like "Bandit" and provided him with "armor".  Most females, I would guess, would think of a more romantic or empowering experience when they wear my perfumes.  But I guess "armor" is empowering, of course, and a manly way of looking at it.

Would you please share with me your thoughts on what my highly unique natural perfumes do for you?  I hope to elicit responses that will give me some artistic keywords or nuances to work with.  Always working from the jumping off point of the beauty of the aromatic heart of the perfume, I think your feedback could help me focus in ways outside of my personality.

PS Mercy, I'm rusty at writing.  I can see it/feel it.  Hope you will bear with me as I get back inot blogging.  You can also suggest topics for blogs. Thanks, Anya.