Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Discount Reminder

Hey everybody, this is a quick note to remind you all that the 2012 discount for a pure natural, botanical perfume ends tonight. If you have made an order at some point and would like to take advantage of it make sure to follow the direction in the original post here.

Wishing you all a beautful end point to the year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

California Christmas 2012

Once again on Christmas morning Greg, Eve and I journeyed southward to Hermosa Beach to spend the festive day with the Neuhart clan.

Outside the day was cold with a dreary grey cast, inside was colorful and festive with the scent of food wafting from the kitchen. First thing we did was pose for the yearly family photo shot by Andrew. We never actually see these photos....hmmm.

 The Santas this year were arranged with poinsettia on the low living room table with one lonely little guy on the settee to welcome you as you entered the house.

Once the family photo was taken, we were assigned seating positions for the opening of gifts.

Marilyn in the background with and Greg.

Ben and Andrew, can you tell these two are brothers?

Bob, One of the resident kitties, who also goes by a bunch of other names, including Bobo.

While we played with our new toys Marilyn and Ben did the final prep on the feast. 
Andrew showing Eve the benefits of her new light meter.

Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast. And they'd feast!  And they'd feast! And they'd FEAST!                 
They would feast on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast-beast.

After the feast Ben and I got into our super geek mode and helped Eve put together her brand new twin reflex camera from China. The directions were wrong which made things very challenging. Thanks to the internet we were able to follow other peoples directions.

That's me, photo taken by Eve, while I sit at one of the long white work tables in the studio. attempting to decipher camera instructions.

A small fragment of Marilyns inspiration board in the studio. 

I didn't put on perfume that morning, but the green wool sweater I was wearing smelled of Chaparral.
We didn't return home until late at night.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry and Bright!

Wishing you all a very merry and bright holiday season! Greg, Eve and I are heading down to Hermosa Beach this morning for our traditional gathering with the Neuhart clan. If all goes well I'll report back about our California Christmas with delicious photos.

In the meantime take deep breaths of pure, unscented air, anoint yourselves with intention and the scents of nature and most of all Bee Jolly!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Greg and I have created a LookBook based on the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. The inspiration for this gift guide came my way via fellow maker Jill Hoff. Intrigued by the song I  did a little research and discovered that the origin is as a cumulative chant, most likely french. It is believed to have started off as a "memories-and-forfeits" game on Twelfth Night where the leader recited a verse, each of the players repeated the verse, then the leader added another verse, and so on. As the game proceeds players and would make a mistake, leaving one player at the end.

I mentioned the idea of doing a gift guide relating to the song to my husband Greg. He was keen, thus we began the work of re-wording the lyrics to accommodate our wares. Once that was in place Greg created the cover and designs and then we began plugging in our existing images.

We wish you all a very joyful holiday season and hope you enjoy our little visual treat.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Movie Monday: Cloud Atlas

On Friday evening, September 7th I came across the trailer for Cloud Atlas which took me down a rabbit hole as I realized it was directed by the Wachowski brothers (now actually a brother and sister) and Tom Tykwer. In fact, I was so captivated by the trailer I even wrote a post about it here.

We went to see the film the weekend it came out, I needed a break from perfume bonanza and was really curious about it. I figured it would be stunning visually but wasn't too sure about the story telling component.

 The film is two hours and fifty two minutes long, telling an extremely complicated tale that takes us into the past and far into the future. I am not even going to begin to explain the film since it is so incredibly complex and personally suggest seeing it without too much explanation. I realized about twenty minutes into the film that when I let go of trying to keep everything organized in my head, it all began to make sense. This is not a film for cerebral folk unless it is someone who is very well versed and open to spiritual concepts.

The story is complex and deep. I have the book on my bed side table and can't wait to dive into it as soon as I am done with A Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire. I'd love to speak with someone who has read the David Mitchell book and seen the movie adaptation. Seeing the difference between the book and TV versions of Game of Thrones for example has been very interesting and as usual I prefer the book.

Overall I really enjoyed Cloud Atlas despite some challenges with actors make-up and some confusion with the story line. The scope of the project was huge and perhaps way too large for a three hour film. I pondered the tale and concepts for over a week after seeing it. When I attempt to pin point exactly why I liked it I can verbalize it which makes me realize it worked on me on a more intuitive creative level. Meaning my right brain totally dug it.

We also recently saw The Life of Pi, another gorgeous film based on a book. Unlike Cloud Atlas, Life of Pi left me feeling empty. The feast of visuals was absolutely glorious, but I wasn't keen how the story was wrapped up in the end and I had a hard time having any empathy for the visiting writer character. From what I have read, the ending of the book is the same as the film, thus I am speculating that the book probably communicated the ending in a more compelling manner.

On my list to go see is the SkyFall, The Hobbit (of course) and Hyde Park....and I am very intrigued by Lincoln.Meanwhile I still haven't seen The Hunger Games and Prometheus which I'd like to see. Into the future, gosh Oblivion with Tom Cruise looks amazing, my inner geek can't wait!

Things Remembered

As a special request large oval lockets were created with an illumination of GreenWitch and Gregs Bee Quan Yin. Only two of each were made to test the waters to see if there is interest in these pieces. One of each of these is currently for sale, or was when I wrote this. More are available upon special request.

Large oval emerald green bee lockets (pictured above) have been created and listed in the E-shop they are scheduled to arrive this week.

If you desire a specific illuminated image that Greg or I have created placed in a large oval locket please let me know and we can have it made for you. I'm thinking the original Vespertina image or the white honey comb picture might look real fine. New lockets and perfume cases will be debuting soon. The first batch is a very limited edition with more arriving after the holidays.

Since both Greg and I ship items out of the studio, we can combine shipping by giving us a heads up.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Round and round

I've been on a quest to get rid of as much plastic from my line as possible. At this point I don't see the little pink pots leaving the scene since the are much loved. However, there are several possibilities for replacing the natural honey pot tubs.

One is glass jars, which are currently on their way and the other is simple round tins. I'm not sure if the tins are quite right with the branding, thus I am not going to offer them in the shop as of yet. However, I would like to offer them to all the readers of this blog. There is a contingent of loyal patrons that is only considered with the end product and not the packaging, thus the tins are perfect for you.

These round, steel tins have the honey bee wax seal on the top of the smaller sizes and a letterpress label on the top of the large size. Here is a list of the sizes I have and what they might hold. I'm still running experiments of the quantity of solid perfume that will fit into each one, but this will give you an idea...

2 oz round tin, letterpress label: holds about 28 grams of solid perfume, more or less.
1 oz round tin: holds about 14 grams of solid perfume, more or less.
1/2 oz round tin: holds about 7 grams of solid perfume, more or less.
1/4 oz round tin: holds about 3.5 grams of solid perfume, more or less.

The tins arrive in a velour or velveteen pouch with the little informational cards.

The prices will be based on the 5 gram honey pot size, for example 5 grams of Aumbre is $30, thus 10 grams of Aumbre will be $60. If you desire pricing on a specific amount, send me a note and I will give you the price. I just wanted to post this here now since I am already making these for several customers.

I have a new sampler set of the little pink pots in the tin with the letterpress label, here are a few photos, this option is now available in the E-shop.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Let's get authentic, shall we - Part 1

The biggest challenge for the authentic, botanical perfumer is that many people have no clue as to what a "botanical" perfume is, let alone one that is made by hand with a mission to illuminate the hearts and minds of sentient beings around the world.

Although I do everything I can think of to describe my products with as much clarity as possible, there always seems to be room for more, thanks the nemesis who is willing and ready to help you refine.

Here's a case in point, a gal purchased 1 gram of Impromptu in a vial, I packaged up the order and sent out the next day. She received it within one day and wrote...

"The fragrance is admittedly exquisite - I can't stop smelling the wrist I applied it to - but the quantity is simply too little for the price.. especially given that this a relatively dilute alcohol-based product."

So, she loved the actual item but thought it was too much money. Ummm, Impromptu is the less expensive perfume in my shop, gee, good thing she didn't order GreenWitch! Dilute, Impromptu, wow I have never heard that term associated with this fragrance. She must be using some pretty toxic synthetic perfumes or her nose is totally fried. Probably both.

I contacted her back to get some clarity and explained that I make perfumes by hand using botanical materials. She wrote back the following...

 "Thanks for getting back to me. Let me reiterate that 'Impromptu' is phenomenal - one of the most gorgeous fragrances I've ever experienced. I also acknowledge that it is a hand-made product.
However, the price ($15) still seems too high for the quantity (.5 g). For instance, a .7 ml 'sample' of By Kilian's 'Incense Oud' Eau de Parfum, one of the higher-priced 'niche' fragrances, is available at an online supplier for $5. Both 'Impromptu' and the 'Incense Oud' EDP are alcohol-based. If .7 mL of pure alcohol is equal to .5 grams of the same (I ran the calculation based on an 18 mL = 14 g conversion formula supplied on a U.S. government web site), then you are charging three times the cost of a By Kilian oud/agarwood eau de parfum for your product.

I would suggest charging a more realistic price for your product, one that's more in line with what your competitors in the marketplace are charging."

I am being compared to Killian, how fascinating. Gosh, there is so much here to address, I could write a book. Here is what I am considering writing back, feel free to give me ideas...

"Thanks again for getting back to me with your insights. I am really grateful for this dialogue as it has helped me refine my listing of Impromptu and myself as an artist

Impromptu is a handmade, botanical perfume. Thus, to compare apples to apples I suggest running the numbers based on a comparable brand.

Let's break things down, here is an article titled "Behind the Spritz" which goes into perfume costs for big brands, notice the marketing budget.

The reason these fragrances are so inexpensive is that they are using synthetic fragrance materials. One of the perks of these materials, besides that they are very cheap, is that they are stable and since they are fabricated with petro chemicals (plastics) will last on the skin for a very long time, sometimes forever, like the prevalent synthetic musk keytones.

In your note you mention alcohol, this is a really good example to use as a comparison. Bigger brands like Killian use standard perfumers alcohol which is ethanol combined with other ingredients. The alcohol I use comes from a small lab in Oregon that produces beverage/pharmaceutical grade, 190 proof grape alcohol. I often infuse my alcohol with plant matter, usually grown organically from my native plant garden.

Unlike Killian, who by the way doesn't actually make his perfume, he is just an art director working with a perfume house. I work on all levels of my product, from concept, formulation, growing the plant materials and everything involved with marketing including the photographs, graphics and words. My palette is botanical, the way perfumes were made hundreds of years ago before synthetics were synthesized in a lab. Although I refrain from using isolates and historic animal ingredients. Since I have a background in aromatherapy I bring that knowledge to my work as well as the very finest raw materials available to both the aromatherapist and the botanical perfumer.

For the Killian brand this is not even an option because they would have to charge exuberant fees for their fragrances and also could not compete in the world-wide, retail perfume world, which btw, I am not part of.

My intention is to make the most exquisite botanical perfumes that will bring awareness to nature, thus the word "illuminated" in my company title.

Impromptu has garnered a huge following and raves by the perfume blogging arena. My niche market isn't those who buy Killian, it is a much smaller, select group of aware individuals. Roxana Illuminated Perfume is appreciated in over 70 different countries and within every single state in the US. The customer base ranges from: those who are allergic to synthetics; want to support the lost art of botanical perfume; the vision of the brand; those who want a perfume crafted by the hand of an artist; those who want to support nature and a combination of those. As you can see, this has nothing to do with the brand Killian or even the product they produce which is almost completely synthetic, although they don't want you to believe that. Also, take into account that Killian is being sold at retail outlets, my fragrances are only sold by me, online, at the moment.

Of all my fragrances Impromptu is the least expensive because it was created as a gift to my patrons, all my other 1 gram samples begin at $25."

So there you have it, the ball is back in her court.

Talking to someone about botanical vs synthetic is akin to talking to a Republican, it is probably point less. However, at the very least it helps me to refine my position.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Woodland Fresh

Spontaneous new photo of the Sierra Solid Gold mini compact. Although Vera and Page 47 are the fragrances that are trending at the moment, Sierra seems the obvious choice to me for the holidays. The evergreens in the solid perfume are orchestrated with a special prosperity chord that contains frankincense and myrrh. There is also spice and vanilla which counters the fresh conifers with a warm, gourmand notes.

Here is what a customer in NYC, who recently ordered a compact says about it: "Sierra: outdoorsy, mystical, energizing, alluring. This makes me feel so alive and vibrant. Thank you!"