Wednesday, March 12, 2014

teaching perfumery...and the natural perfume playset

Well, the question has reared it's head again....Ive been asked so many times over the years to teach classes on natural perfumery...and I'm still torn.
On one hand, I love teaching....and sharing my 30 years of perfume research and knowledge is a very tempting idea..
On the other hand, I've worked so hard to gain the knowledge I have...and I'm not sure how I feel about sharing my secrets and bredding my own competition so to speak.
Anyway, last week a lovely young woman walked into my shop and asked me to teach her. And I sort of got talked into it...
Ive been thinking about how I would do this for a long time. My methods and approach are a bit different to most of those I have seen out there. And beyond anything, I think you first of all need to educate your nose and learn how to "smell" really.
Ive had this idea of putting together a sort of "playbox" of premixed scent ingredients, so that would be perfumers can have a go at putting together scents of their own. And providing a booklet with it to guide them through approaching their experiments in a way that will teach them the basics of perfume making as they go along.
And I found these delightful little dropper bottles a while back which are just perfect (I'm such a sucker for pretty bottles!).

It's not easy deciding which oils to include in the set. I have so many favourites, but I don't want to make it too complex, because
a) it makes it too confusing and
b) too expensive
So I've chosen 9 of the most important oils in perfumery. I've picked a collection of oils that will almost all work together harmoniously, so that you can actually make really lovely scents with them. And I've also added a few that will work with some, and not with others. This is on purpose, to give you an idea of how easily you can go from a lovely blend to a yucky muddy clashing nightmare, and most importantly, to teach you WHY this happens.
It's a pretty versatile collection, allowing you to make everything from sweet musky florals to herbal men's colognes. Daniela will be the first person to receive one of these, so it will be interesting to see how she finds it!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Green Mandarin Friday

Working on new bath and body oil bends...and today it's green mandarin that I'm playing with.
This stuff has been begging me to play ever since I got it...
And now I finally have time and space to do so....

It's such yummy stuff...the freshness of mandarin, without the fruity bite! It's so soft, and well, green!
What you can see in the bottles are blue corn flowers... the colour backs up the fresh restfulness of the scent, but corn flowers are also some of the few safe flowers to use in infusions for skin too....
I'm combining it with mint in a few different forms....
just lush and soft and fresh.....Suggestions anyone?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Website Rebuilt

My new Webshop
Well, after a few weeks of sleepless nights and tearing my hair out in frustration, my new website is finally up and running!
I loved the look of my old website, but it was handmade by another programmer, and I simply didnt speak enough techie to be able to update it at all....
So this one was built on a shopping platform by a friend of mine, Rowan from and I can actually upload new products onto it myself, edit the shipping etc etc....
There's still some bots which need fiddling with, but at least its working, and my customers can place orders through it!
And best of all, it's finally got all the perfumes on it that weren't available through my old one! Things like "Avalon" and "Craving" and my beloved "Sense of Honour".
I'll also be able to offer short runs of wierd and wonderful things I come up with now that I've got time and space in my new workshop!
And the very first is a range of "Love Potion" Bath and Body oil!
I used to sell this one years ago, and people have been asking for here it is again! It makes a lovely after shower moisturizer too if you pour a small amount into your hands and rub it over your still damp skin! All over body scent.....

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Opening Party

Opening Party February 14th
Shop9/ 18 Centennial Circuit
Byron Arts and Industry Estate
(from 2 pm)

Well, I'm officially opening the perfumery to the public on Valentine's day...and I'm all a panicking! The Northern Star came by the other day and took a stack of embarrassing photos of me holding perfume bottles...hopefully the bottles will come out ok, grin. Must find out what day the article is coming out!
Theres still boxes all over the place, the beautiful handmade display tables and shelves from Nimbin wont be here for a week or so (when the guy has organized his new ute) ...I need to rewrite and print out backdrops and stories for each perfume and and and...
The credit card machine wont be here till next week of course, so it will all have to be cash only on the day! Arrgghhh!!!!
What do I need for an opening party?
I mean, my original workshop furniture has finally arrived from down south, so the perfumes are all out on display...I'm frantically bottling in our new snazzy mini sample atomizers and stocking up on "Love Potion" and "Death by Chocolate"...
And I've got music via stereo, will lay on a supply of bubbly..and have friends and old customers coming to help me celebrate...
Now if only I knew some local musos....
I've also got a stack of beautiful new "Love Potion" Bath and Body oils in their gorgeous new bottles...with 3 different labels at this stage as I cant make up my mind which ones work best...maybe I should have a competition and let my customers choose?

Actually a competition sounds great... A "Which is the most romantic fragrance" competition...with a giveaway of a bottle of their favorite as a prize!
 But it is SOOOOO cool to finally have enough space to spread out and focus entirely on making perfume! To have a public space I can invite people in to share what I do, to see and smell what I work with so they can experience how different botanical perfumes are!
Even before the official opening date passers by have been wandering in and they've all been fascinated and delighted! Its such a lovely thing to hear "I don't really like perfumes...but yours are so different! Wow!"
Bringing Mother Nature's real scents back into peoples lives, grin! My new sock of Moroccan Rose Absolute arrived yesterday too....oh how beautiful it is! New stock of "Goddess" in progress...and it came with a few new goodies to try from my favorite distiller too! Amazing Oud CO2...and some awesome Vanilla....after the opening party I will definitely finally get to work on that Vanilla perfume everyone has been asking for for so long.....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Byron Bay Workshop..the adventure begins!

Well, I finally did it! A real public workshop! Found a beautiful small factory space in the Byron Arts and Industry Estate and am now in the process of fiddling with furniture, unpacking boxes and working out displays and workspaces. Its' so exciting to finally have space to really spread out my things again... dedicated workbenches that don't need to be cleared at the end of the day, lovely solid wooden shelves to put all my bottles and jars where I can see them instead of sorting through endless boxes trying to find what I need! Oh the bliss of coming to work and having a whole studio to play in!
It's a wonderful space, with enough room to have
a proper public shop display as well as a large workspace for filling and blending. And as an added bonus, a lovely mezzanine that I'm going to set up as a proper consulting room for custom design, where I can sit with clients and show them samples and discuss projects in elegant peace and quiet!
There's already been a few random walk in customers who came in to see what I was up to and sniff through the few perfume bottles I have on display so far in my half set up chaos....
I've printed a whole stack of rack cards to distribute all over the place, and I'm having a Grand Opening Party on Valentines Day afternoon here 9Shop 9/ 18 Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay Arts and Industry Estate NSW 2481 Australia) with belly dancing, music, champagne and of course lot's of specials....including the new and lovely mini perfume sprays I've found to give people
a cheap way of buying and trying my wares before they invest in a full sized bottle...
All up it's incredibly exciting! I'm so looking forward to being able to make small runs of special perfumes now...indulging in experimental runs of things I can only ever make say 10 bottles of because I can never get that particular ingredient again! Weird and wonderful things I can make and offer to the public without having to be able to keep them in stock as part of the regular range on the website...And now to get back to packaging "Love Potion" for next week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bush Perfuming

my workbench with bush views
Well, I've finally escaped suburbia and moved up to the North Coast of New South Wales where am currently living out in the bush with a friend...It's such a relief to be back in the bush where I used to live 20 years ago...It's part of my plan to grow the perfumery to a proper professional public place, where people can come in and sample perfumes, sit down and have relaxed custom design consultations and maybe even hold classes! So many of you have asked to come and visit and see the perfumery in person over the years, and while it was always lovely sharing my workplace and home with visitors, I have long dreamt of having a large workshop where I can really play, with space for everything, so that you don't have to pack the tools of one project away just to attend to packaging the orders for the week....
It's beautiful and relaxing here, and I have my workshop set up where I can sit and see out over the valley, soft breezes wafting through the window and light filtering through the trees to play on my collections of perfume bases and bottled goodies...But it's small.
Oh, the idea of finally having enough space! And Shelves, whole walls full of shelves! And 3 large workbenches, and a small shop out the front with my perfumes displayed on some of the beautiful cast iron displays I've used at shows over the years...
Fresh flowers, and beautiful large mason jars full of herbs and resins...
my new granite dropper holders
Basically being able to have all of my wonderful fascinating weird and fragrant collection out where I can look at them and share them with my customers!
And I'll be able to do short runs of interesting stuff too!
Perfumes that are too complex and special to mass produce, things like solid potpourri perfume for putting in small lockets, maybe soaps and candles too!
I've got my eye on a perfect little place in Byron Bay, and put an application in for it today!
It's a small workshop space in the arts and crafts part of the industrial estate, where I'd be surrounded by other small artisan businesses, and it comes with some business assistance and advice available from the council too, which is what I could certainly do with too!. The premises themselves are light and airy, with high ceilings, a sky light and even a mezanine where I can sit with clients on comfy chairs and talk about what they really want from their perfumes...and share a cup of coffee in between smelling bouts!I'm so excited I'm terrified they may turn down my application, it's just too too perfect! I ran into an old friend who is making films nowadays, and we've already chatted about her and her partner making a small youtube video...or even a series of them to go with and advertise the new chatting about perfumery and showing how the scents are made...sounds like awesome fun and great advertising too....
The Dream is slowly coming together......I'll keep you posted as it grows!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Travelling Perfume

Today it finally arrived in my humble abode!
The Travelling Perfume Bottle is the Mind Child of the wonderful Monica Miller of Perfume Pharmer.

"I wanted to make a Perfume for PEACE
I wanted to travel all around the world collecting ingredients...prayers for PEACE...things like....
from the Zapatista people in Mexico...the FREEDOM that they crave ..if we put in the bottle the prayer for FREEDOM from people who so fervently pray for FREEDOM then that prayer is carried throughout the world in the bottle and becomes part of the homeopathic medicine....there is s song..."everything is everything" and there is a saying... that in everything is the seed of its apparent opposite
I came to understand that I didnt have to travel all over the world collecting ingredients and I began to see it as not so much a personal project but a co created project".

taken on patrol in a small village with the Taliban shooting from the right.
It started off with one of the Grandmother's of Natural Perfumery, the great Jeanne Rose. Her son is fighting in Aphganistan. And she tinctured one of his combat gloves. What a start for a perfume project for Peace?!!!
It has since travelled through many countries, and many perfumers, each adding a few drops of oil, special herbs or sacred waters...and it's quite an amazing thing...
As I open the bottle, it's like the impact of hundreds of different many scents, so many layers have been added as it travelled. It's dark brown, sticky and full of wierd bit's and bobs, like some kind of primordial ooze....There are flower scents, and herbs, and deep musky an over the top kaleidoscope of perfumes from many cultures...
I have to put the bottle down and take a deep breath as my head is spinning just from one sniff!
I take a few more carefull sniffs and then start thinking about what I can add to this....
I've just come back from working out in the Australian desert as a remote area nurse for a month...and what I have brought back with me is a deep sense of Peace...the wide open spaces, the ancient mountain ranges, impossibly blue skies and the glowing warm red sand....
Australia is an ancient country....and travelling out to the Outback, you begin to understand just how small and new us humans really are....ancient landscapes that have been here since long before humans started to create their "civilisation" and beging to squabble over territory and money....
So I am am adding that sense of ancient Peace:
Australian Sandalwood for it's deep healing properties. Oz sandalwood is drier than carries with it that tang of the desert and the hot sun that forces you to relax, not matter how stressed you are. Sandalwood is one of those magic perfume ingredients that connects all other elements gently and warmly, giving them a base to work together.....which feel very fitting for this potion.
Cinnamon oriental magical ingredient to give warmth and life to everything. It's heat and sharp bring a touch of clarity to the many voices in the Travelling Perfume.
Cardamon and Coriander to add a touch of Love and Passion, because after all, these are what truly bring us together...
One of the Creation Stories of the Anangu People of Central Australia, is that of the Great Mother Snake called  "Kunia". She was very pregnant, and travelled far and wide through the Land, looking for a safe place to lay her babies...she travelled all over the country, from the top end, to the bottom South, From East where the Sun rises, to the Western Coast where she go's to sleep, and she couldn't find a place that was safe and peaceful enough....and eventually she came to Uluru, the huge Sandstone Rock in the centre of the desert that calls so many tourists from all over the world nowadays....and here she came to rest. She laid her eggs, and her children were born. It is truly one of the strongest, most peaceful places in the world.
So this I give to the Travelling Perfume of Peace...a little touch of the Great Mother, protecter of her children from out in the Red Centre of Australia.
And a new word I learnt in Pitjanjara: "Palya!" All is Good!