Roses of May

The beautiful month of May is the season of the Rose in the Grasse region of the south of France.  In the fields of roses, which still exist in the region around the old perfume city, the pickers go out every morning throughout the short season, and harvest the open blossoms.  These are then taken to the factories where primarily solvent extraction takes place to yield the concrete, and then the absolute of rose.  The Rose de Mai is traditionally the Rosa centifolia variety, but there is also some production of Rosa damascena in the area.   In the new collection of perfumes soon to be announced from 1000 Flowers,  we will be featuring an organic Rosa damascena extract sourced from a small producer near Grasse.

In the meantime, here is a lovely report from French TV about the current season of roses.

http://www.wat.tv/embedframe/194453chuPP3r13000083“>Roses of May- Report France TF-1

 

Spring in Grasse

It’s once again Spring in the south of France.   This year, the various seasonal flowers (such as mimosa)  were all blooming and finishing their blooming cycle about 1 month earlier than usual.  We really didn’t have much of a winter, and the cold part of the season actually happened in March.

However, here we are 2 days before my birthday, and the flowers that always mark this day for me, are opening now, right on cue.  These are the fragrant and graceful purple wisteria with the first roses, that cover many garden walls, and fences, and arbours of the region.  And at the same time, the intoxicating spring jasmine is also now in bloom, tumbling over walls and fences.  So all is well in the world.

Otherwise, as I have written in recent posts, I have been working for the last several months on the new collection of 4 fragrances called The Blue Collection.  These are taking longer than I anticipated, as I am determined that they will be as close to perfection as I can possibly make them.  This said, as an independent perfumer, working alone in my little lab in Grasse, like the perfume days of the past, 4 great perfumes take longer than 4 weeks to create.   But we are almost there, and have now connected with some amazing designers and printers in Croatia, (ask me for contacts if you are looking for this kind of service), and the labels will go to print next week.  The ribbon must be ordered, and the outer boxes modified and prepped.  And then…. FINALLY, we will launch.   I will keep you posted.

In other news:  we have just launched a travel-size spray (8ml) for the 5 original fragrances, including of course, Reglisse Noire, and they are available in the 1000 Flowers boutique as of today.  They retail for 22CAD each (plus minimal shipping since they are light and compact).  This is a great way to try the fragrances, but also as a purse/pocket travel format, since they are refillable as well.

Also, all 1000 Flowers fragrances are now made with  100% certified organic alcohol.

So, that’s all for now!  Life as an expat perfumer living in Grasse continues!  Please don’t hesitate to write to me if you have any ideas, questions, suggestions comments etc.  I feel far away from my native land and all my wonderful clients sometimes, hidden away in my atelier, so it’s always nice to have some news.

Happy Spring!

Violets in the Wild

The Blue Collection Update

Just a little update to say that we are hard at work designing the packaging for the new fragrance collection.  Here is an image of the latest prototype.  Blue glass, metal clip for the removable spray, silver chain so the clip won’t get lost, elegant ribbon, and the mock up label.  The label will have silver metal to enhance the colours, and to match the silver pump.

Don’t forget that as a small independent business, raising capital can be a challenge. So the Indiegogo platform is what we are utilising to fund this project.  You can find it here.  And once again, thank you!

Other news: we have a guest writer who has just done a tour of the International Museum of Perfumery here in Grasse, and written in detail about the experience.  That article you will see under the Guest Contributor tab to the right.

Wishing you all a very happy week!

Orange Blossom Ganache

The Blue Collection explained

It is an interesting & challenging balancing act to be an independent perfumer and an entrepreneur.    One must wear many hats, and life becomes very full.   This is why some time has passed since the last fragrances were launched from 1000 Flowers.. (Ode for Him and Love is Sweet, Dec 2012).  However. the time has come to talk about a new collection that is soon to be released, called the Blue Collection.

This time, I have chosen to write (in scent) about my surroundings, and that is the Mediterranean region.  I love this place, and it’s been four years that I have lived and worked here full time.  Here, the intensity of the sunshine illuminates everything, the plants and flowers, the blue sky, and the blue sea.  It gets inside the soul, and is like no other place I have ever been.

orange blossoms7

So the new collection of perfumes will talk about the plants and flowers that one finds in the region- like the heady scent of blooming orange trees, the pink pepper berries that one can pick, the smell of ripe fruit in summer at the beach, and wild carrot near the sea, the smell of pine and other conifers in the mountains behind Grasse, and roses and roses and roses…

There will be four fragrances, housed in cobalt blue glass.  The bottles are refillable, and the labels are big, bright and colourful interpretations of Mediterranean tiles.  I have developed connections with some amazing French suppliers, a couple of them artisan distillers, who grow, harvest, and extract essential oils and absolutes.  And since the Mediterranean climate is so perfect for growing everything from jasmine to roses to clary sage, with many wild fragrant plants like labdanum and various herbs, the region is a veritable treasure trove of perfume ingredients.

So with all that at one’s fingertips, it is natural so to speak, to focus on these raw materials in the context of perfumery.  That is not to say that the collection is ‘all natural’. It is not. I do work with a palette of man-made molecules, and as an artist, I really appreciate their importance in perfume creation.  But I do not use polycyclic musks, (non biodegradable molecules that are used extensively in commercial fragrances), or phthalates. And I do adhere to IFRA safety standards.  (You can read here about what IFRA is).

Also this way, you will have precious molecules from Mediterranean plants and flowers, bottled, and delivered to your door….

 

Going Mobile at 1000 Flowers

Happy November everyone!    After a lot of work and a big learning curve, we have just beta launched the new site for 1000 Flowers, and it is now mobile friendly!

30ml set

In 2010, when I was last in Canada, I attended a number of small business training courses to deepen my knowledge of the Adobe design programs, and also of web design.  Our amazing teacher told us then how mobile capability was going to be one of the most important things for successful online business.  And one can see how digital life has changed in general just in that 5 years since.  Everyone is mobile, either by phone or tablet, and the home PC is now being used less and less.  I have also seen several longtime dedicated bloggers discontinuing their work, since amongst other reasons, the mobile readers are less likely to follow a full length blog entry than the short little blurbs on Instagram or other more mobile friendly, fast-paced platforms.  Also, people have definitely become more comfortable and confident shopping from their mobiles.  So we are very happy to have joined the mobile world with 1000 Flowers! (SITE)

You will see a few changes in the boutique:  our 15ml splash version is discontinued, and all fragrances are now available in 30ml, with Reglisse Noire available in 30ml and 50ml format.  In about 1 month, we will be announcing a brand new collection of fragrances from 1000 Flowers, inspired by the Mediterranean region, with all new packaging and a sunny, vibrant theme. And in the coming days, we will tell you how you can be part of the launching of that collection.

To celebrate the new site, for the next 7 days (until Nov 7th), we will offer a coupon worth 15% from your purchase- just enter the code: ‘sunshine’ on the checkout page (all lowercase).   Also, since we are still beta, feel free to comment and let us know how you find your experience navigating the site.

Also, you will be seeing some informative posts appearing here on the blog, written by a guest writer, an intern here at 1000 Flowers, who will be exploring various subjects relating to Grasse, perfumery, and the region.   So sign up if you haven’t already, and stay tuned!   Have a happy day!

Update from Grasse

Amazingly, almost to the day, one year has passed since my last post to this blog.  The year since last October has clearly been a very busy one, as I have been working on perfume creation for clients, and have had very little time to work on new fragrances for 1000 Flowers.  I have been enjoying this developing side of my work, as it is a very rewarding experience to translate someone else’s brief into a commercial fragrance, rather than always drawing on my own ideas for new fragrances.  I have been learning a lot too, refining my skills, and am now working with a very esteemed lab near Grasse who takes my formulae, and mixes up the final perfume concentrate from their stock of the best raw materials available.   Slowly but surely I am becoming more established on this path of being an independent perfumer in Grasse.

Otherwise, as you know from previous posts, I had planned to completely repackage the 1000 Flowers brand.  As it turns out, this was not to happen overnight.  Mostly that is because all my work in sourcing exactly the components I wanted for the new bottles and sprays, was for naught since they are simply not available in realistic quantities. (or at all)  There will be another post about this in the not too distant future.  This is the challenge of every small company, but especially for me, since I have certain eco standards that severely limit the options, and also since what I am trying to achieve is really not supported for small projects.  But more about that later….

Actually, there will soon be much more activity here on the blog, as well as via our new channel on Youtube, since I have just accepted two lovely interns from the American University of Paris, and we are looking at some really exciting campaigns for 1000 Flowers.   And yes, there is also a new fragrance collection in the works.

In the meantime, here is the new format for Reglisse Noire. (Available in 30ml & 50ml).

Blue Dreams

Change is in the air

Change is inevitable, whether in life or in business.  And change is now in the works here at 1000 Flowers.

In 2010, we launched the first fragrance, Reglisse Noire, in NYC, at the Sniffapalooza Spring Fling.  I had spent a great deal of time planning and designing the packaging for our first fragrance, wanting it to represent the ecological values that are important to 1000 Flowers.  After much brainstorming, the choice was set on a custom-made box made of Canadian red cedar wood.  They arrived as bare wood, and I hand painted them with paint made from titanium dioxide powder and acrylic medium (to get the whitest white possible), and the artwork was applied via a water-slide decal resembling the thinnest layer of paint, a process that was incredibly difficult to do successfully.  For the spray component, I decided to use a threaded bulb atomizer rather than the typical crimped spray, since this also represented an eco choice, being that the bottle could be recycled or reused once the fragrance was gone. Since that time, more than a 1000 of these hand-made-with-love boxes have been sent out.

Here are a few images of the design process that led to the final packaging.

Since that time, of course, 1000 Flowers and I moved to France in 2011.  As it was not practical to import the cedar boxes from Canada, I sourced a furniture maker in Morocco to make the same boxes, but this time from a much denser, still very fragrant, thuya cedar wood.

Now, in 2014, with Reglisse Noire still as the bestselling fragrance in the collection, I am reviewing the practicality of this packaging, and have decided that it will be discontinued.  The boxes are very expensive, heavy, and very labour intensive to produce, and the bulb atomizers do not last forever, and are not as appealing for some of our male audience.

(Please note that Reglisse Noire is not being discontinued…only the 50ml format in the cedar box.  The 15ml splash for all the fragrances will remain available in the boutique online. Also, a very limited number of boxes will be available at Indie Scents Canada, and Habits Clothing in Nelson, BC) *All cedar boxes are now out of stock.

As for what comes next?  We are gathering a team of designers and creating a new concept, new flacons, and new packaging for the fragrance collection.  Plans for relaunch will be later this year.

In the meantime, I would like to send a heart-felt thank-you to all those of you who have supported this fragranced journey since 2010, and I hope those Reglisse Noire cedar boxes last a lifetime. (and beyond) xoxo