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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To Perfumery and Beyond - Ten Things I've learned in 2010

What a crazy, stressful, exciting year!  I "officially" launched my small natural perfumery business after spending years explaining to others why I couldn't.  I finally realized I could.  A now or never type of revelation.  Of course I made a ton of mistakes along the way.  I laughed, I cried, I drank gin, I blended perfume . . . not neccesarily in this order.  I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and compiled a list.  Here is a brief synopsis of what I've discovered this year.


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  1. Jasmine is amazing and blends with everything.  I challenge you to find something jasmine does not blend well with!  Sambac, grandiflorum, or articulum--I love you all.  You bring beauty and light to everything you touch.  I feel a deep sense of sadness for those who do not enjoy you.  Something is wrong with these people.
  2. Quickbooks is your friend.  Seriously.
  3. Never underestimate the importance of having a good photo of yourself at hand.  You will need this photo to send out to everyone and anyone while trying to get your name out there.  You will wish your photographer friend took you seriously when you requested that he " . . . photoshop the hell out of me--make me look like Cindy Crawford's baby sister." You were not joking.
  4. Photoshop cannot work miracles.
  5. If you find packaging you like, try and buy in excess.  You may find your supplier no longer carries the particular bottle, box, label etc. when you try and re-order.  You will then have to source new packaging, and have new pictures taken of your product.  Expensive and irritating.
  6. Sample as many different essential oils and absolutes from as many different suppliers as you can. If you find something you like, try and order a larger quantity as soon as possible.  You may find the French Rose de Mai you loved in September when you ordered a sample has been replaced with a new weak listless Rose de Mai in December.
  7. Some critics will never like your perfume.  Not a single one.  Deal with it.  Unfortunately, the inverse is not true.  Some critics who like your perfume will NOT always like it.  Deal with it.  If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: gin is not the answer.  Neither is chocolate.
  8. You are allowed to silently rejoice when you land a magazine article highlighting your perfumes.  Awesome!  You worked hard girl! You are allowed to rejoice slightly less when you discover the magazine is targeted solely for female Episcopalian ministers living in Alaska.
  9. Other people will become annoyed by your freakishly sensitive nose.  Especially when dramatically commenting on being assaulted by mysterious smells ranging from wet dog mixed with corn chips.  Others are not amused, nor can they small what you are painfully describing.
  10. Trust yourself.  It's easy to second guess yourself and let self-doubt reign free.  You got here by trusting your gut.  It's important to value others opinions and educate yourself, however when it comes down to it--Just Trust Yourself.

10 comments:

aromatarii said...

Wow,does this come straight from the heart! I feel both your pain and your passion. Congrat's on making it through your first year!

Denise
gardengate@aromatarii.com

Ragna Rostad-Ruffner said...

Congratulations on your first year of perfumery success!!! You have done it and your name is everywhere!!
thank you for your sincerity and dedication to your craft ;-)
Ragna

Lou Anne said...

Happy New Year! Trust your freakishly sensitive nose and keep blending luscious scents for us to enjoy in 2011.

Lou Anne

Lou Anne said...

Happy New Year! Trust your freakishly sensitive nose and keep blending luscious scents for us to enjoy in 2011.

Lou Anne

Tracy said...

All of them good but #1, 3, 6, 9, 10, yes, yes!

Freakishly sensitive nose becomes a horrible thing at times! I just had to laugh.

Says Tracy who just bathed a soiled dog!

Congratulations on your year!

Nikki Sherritt said...

Charna, you made me laugh out loud with this post! I have experienced many of these things (esp. the annoying super sensitive nose thing) and love how you put it into words. Good advice. I am expanding my perfumes this year and will take this with me into it.

Anya said...

Hey, Charna, you forgot to mention that it's fine to be an Outlaw ;-)

Oh, and on freakishly sensitive noses: Elise and I were in a crowded Thai restaurant for lunch today, and I announced I smelled something like a pot that had had all the water boiled out of it, and was scorching. A minute later she smelled it. You know we were the only two in that jammed joint that would notice it. And be able to immediately ID it.

PS: sandalwood goes with everything, too ;-)

Charna said...

Thank for the comments all!

Bellatrix said...

I will need this :D

AbdesSalaam Attar said...

Hello Charna, these are sound and good advices. The point n° 3 is important only for ladies I think.
Despite what you say there, I shall keep thinking that you are as lovely as your photo.