What inspired you to start your own brand?
A culmination of many things. I began studying aromatherapy in 1997. I walked into a store and was amazed that Cedarwood and Sandalwood had the ability to alter my state of mind. I was grieving over the loss of a loved one and these two oils gave me comfort. Some years later I studied herbal medicine and with that grew my respect for plants and their ability to heal. When I became pregnant I was concerned about the chemicals used in perfume and cosmetics (a pretty much everything that touches the skin) that had detrimental effects on my body and my babies. Making my own products made sense. I had been making herbal based and aromatherapy skincare for my patients so the progression was natural. The effect of scent, particularly, has intrigued me. It's ability to alter the psyche and transport the wearer makes it special. I wanted to create natural perfumes that were structured and elegant, without the detrimental side effects (headache, eye irritation, sinus irritation + long term effects of synthetic perfumery additives). I love perfume. I always have, so here I find myself!
How did you go about launching your skincare and perfume range?
Softly, in an organic way. I was making facial oils already, so I added aroma blend roll ons, some classic herbal ointments and designed my first eau de parfum and took it to the markets. I had three small children, so it was my side hustle, but I put all my creative energy into it. I set up my website, connected to the Gram (IG) and continued creating my products.
What has been one of the biggest challenges that you have faced since starting, and what have you learned from it?
Letting the unnecessary things fall away. There can be a tendency to hold on to something because it cost a lot of time, effort or money. But, if it's not working, let it go.
Have you had to adapt your business during COVID-19? If so, how?
I have reviewed my online presence and improved it. I always wanted to sell online because it suited my life with small children, now I see it as the frontline of my business. I also teach natural perfume making, so I did a lot of Zoom perfumery classes. Who would have thought!
What makes your brand unique?
Natural aromatics are complex - They have a story to tell. I think of my perfumes as Olfactory Landscapes - adventures into the realm of scent. Every ingredient has been selected for it's clarity and quality. I handmake perfume tinctures, and design the fragrance from scratch. I don't use preformulated bases. It's very time consuming, involving patience and subtlety, so the perfumes are truly artisanal. I think that we can make a connection to the beauty in life through scent. The skin oils are antioxidant and anti-aging, but they are also naturally fragranced with essential oils which enhance mood.
What advice would you give others who are wanting to start a business?
It's a long game! So give yourself time to grow and develop your own style.
Why do you think it is important to support local businesses?
A community benefits when people support it. There is so much local talent and industry out there. I'm loving that more people actively look for local products and want to support them.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I'm a very creative person, so I see my ideas brought into the real world.