Friday, October 1, 2010

Meet our teammate Amanda from AbsintheDragonfly!

by one9designs

O9D: How did you get into making custom perfumes?
AD: I used to go to a store in a mall called Garden Botanica, and they had a perfume bar. It was lots of fun. When I went out of business, I was pretty disappointed. Then for Christmas 2009, my husband had read an article about a perfume maker, and she had a "DIY" perfume making kit available for sale. He asked me if I'd like one, and I said, "Sure!" Mixed it up, had fun, and waited the appropriate amount of time. When it was “done,” I smelled it, and thought, “Huh, that turned out pretty good…” I ordered another. Then I ordered Mandy Aftel’s book, and how-to course. Then I started ordering all sorts of fun substances to play with, from reputable businesses. I started putting this with that, with this other oil, and before you know it, I’m on perfume number 11! I asked someone on the online forums, "When do you know you're ready to sell your perfumes?" He answered, a bit cheekily, "When someone buys one?" I thought, why not? Esscentual Alchemy was born!

O9D: What makes your perfumes unique?
AD: This is a highly intimate, and sensual experience for people. You really can't smell this type of perfume on someone until you get up close to them. Botanical perfumes are unique to YOUR body chemistry. They don't smell the same on each person. These perfumes come directly from the Earth to you, and they ground and connect you to those plants.

It's very spiritual for me, working with these plant materials that have been used for thousands of years, and by such people as Cleopatra. It grounds me, and connects me to the Earth. I'm finding people pleasantly surprised at how emotionally involved they feel to a natural perfume!

My personal philosophy, is that we should be aware of what we ingest into our bodies, whether we are eating it, or using a substance. The skin is our largest organ, and it's frightening how many chemicals we dump on it during the course of a day, especially women.

O9D: What is the process for making one of your current perfumes like? How long does it take?
AD: The mood strikes me, and then I decide what to use. You mix them up and put the bottle into the refrigerator for 2 days, and on the 3rd day, you put your carrier in the bottle, and let it sit for at least a month. Perfume making is similar to making wine, as you must have patience to wait until enough time has passed for the alchemal magic to happen. Some perfumes take longer to mellow out into what they smell like, and some are fine after a month. One of the coolest parts is that they can even improve over time and change, and they don't go "off" like mass produced perfumes can.

O9D: What is the process for a custom perfume - such as with your bridal package, over a long distance, how do ensure that you create something the person will love?
AD: I offer a bespoke perfume service. That is what you call a personalized perfume, which after it's made, is never made for anyone else again. This is a perfect gift for a bride, or a special anniversary gift or birthday! There's something awesome about having something that no one else has. It's also a way for me to really get to know someone. What we do, is email first about what types of scents you like, what kind of mood you are looking to evoke, and then based on that, I make up several trial sizes with slight variations. We work until you find the one you like best, and then I put it in my Book of Perfume, or Essais, and I will never make that perfume for anyone but you. Refills are offered at a discount to you for life. I require half the amount up front, and the balance when the perfume is completed to your satisfaction. So, long answer short, as long as it takes for you to be happy with what you're getting.

O9D: How often do you create new scents? What inspires them?
AD: Sometimes a mood, sometimes some music, maybe a piece of visual art. The latest one was inspired with a friend sending me a mixture of mass produced perfumes, and when I smelled it, I was transported! I could tell what she was wanting to express scentwise, so I just remade it with botanicals.

O9D: In your shop, what is your own personal favorite?
AD: Oh that's a tough question. It's like asking me which of my children is my favorite, in some ways. I've created them, and they didn't exist before, and won't with anyone else. There's a couple I'm especially proud of, one being Kama. Kama started as me throwing into a bottle everything I had that came from India, that had been used for thousands of years, just for the hell of it. In fact, that was its working title for quite a while. Then after the initial aging period, I put some on, and asked my husband what he thought of it. This was his response: "It smells like I want to stare at you across the table during dinner, and enjoy you later..." I had been considering calling it Ode to India. After that quote though, what else could I call it? *grins*

O9D: Is this your day job? If not, what is?
AD: I live in Iowa, with my husband, Kevin, 4 children (2 girls and 2 boys), Morgen, Ewen, Bowie, and Teagan; 2 cats, Rocky and Shadow; and a bunny, George. I am a Graduate from Simpson College with a degree in Music, currently using that training to raise children and homeschool.

O9D: What are your dreams for the future?
AD: I would like to open up a small studio in Ames, in addition to keeping my online venues open.

O9D: Are there any other artistic ventures/hobbies you love?
AD: I like to bake, and knit. I'm also an astrologer, studying since 1998. I like to hike, and be outdoors, and go for walks in big forests that you might find a big, bad, wolf in LOL.

O9D: Is there anything else you want your teammates to know about you?
AD: I truly feel that my college degree in music has helped me be a better perfumer, due to the composition classes I had to take! You've got to have balanced chords and you're composition has to go somewhere, otherwise it's terribly boring!

And I LOVE this team!!!

PS ~ If you put "TD Blog" in notes to seller you'll get free shipping on any order, and 10% off of any purchase $25.00 or more, plus free shipping, as my way of saying thanks!

You can visit AbsintheDragonfly's store here!


SpareBedroomStudio said...

So nice to learn more about Amanda and her creative processes! Best wishes with evrything :)

Lola's Jewels said...

Wonderful interview and shop!! Best of luck with everything!

I love this team too!!!! :)

the merriweather council said...

i never knew perfumes making was such a long process!

wonderful interview!

onetruelovie said...

Great interview! I love learning more about fellow estians. I had no idea perfume took so long to make! Wishing you the best Amanda!

Tess, Gilded Days said...

I love reading how you got into perfume making. Great interview!

WhiteRabbit7 said...

Great interview!!

Kathleen Cavalaro said...

I found this very interesting! I never knew!

Also, if I knew about this when I got married years ago, I SO would have gone for your wedding kit. Hmmmm...maybe for a special anniversary.

Thanks to both one9 and absinthe for sharing this with us!

popwhiz said...

Loved reading about your creation process and the bespoke scents -- that's so cool! Great interview.