Two Upcoming Events: B.A.ZAAR and Cam’s Harvest Festival

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Happy Friday, friends! If you’re looking for something new and fun to do this weekend — and like the idea of supporting local artists and makers — you should definitely come and check out B.A.ZAAR on Saturday! This is the first year for the show, so let’s make it a success! You can sniff and sample Plume perfumes, as well as shop for jewelry, paper goods, soaps, candles, original art…and loads more goodies. It will be a great way to get ahead on holiday shopping.

I am also excited to be a part of Cam’s Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29th, from 10-2:00. Cam’s is a local market and cafe that will be opening in downtown Tulsa in the Spring of 2012 (and they just might be selling Plume’s full line of natural perfumes…*hint*). To kick off the opening festivities and drum up excitement, Cam’s is holding an outdoor festival that will feature local farmers, entertainment, coffee, local artists and makers, food and more. The festival has been created to celebrate the 2011 growing season, local fall harvests, and Food Day.

I am thrilled for both events…but a little nervous about this sudden cold weather we have been having (both events are outside)…so don’t hesitate to stop by my booth and bring me some hot cocoa…you just might get a free sample if you do!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

News: Plume Website…and a Price Point Change

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I hope your week has started off well! I am dropping in to tell you about two recent changes at Plume Perfume (one exciting change…and one necessary change).

First, Plume has a new website…well, it’s the same web address, but with a different look. I wanted a web home-base that would offer a more comprehensive array of links and information about the company. I’ve added links for retail locations, testimonials, press features, wholesale info, and more. I would love to hear what you think!

I created the site through indiemade.com — a great little platform for artists and indie business owners. I highly recommend it if you are a small business and do not have the money or means to design your own site from scratch (like me!).

In addition, I wanted to let you know about a price point change I’ve made in the Etsy shop. The 8.5 ml natural perfume oils (which were $34) are now priced at $40. This was a decision I made reluctantly (nobody likes raised prices after all), but I put a lot of thought into it, and felt it was time. My decision was based on two main considerations: the rising prices of many rare natural botanicals that I use in my perfumes, and the ever-increasing amount of time (and love!) that I have been putting into research, development, and formulation. I truly hope you understand–

Let me know if you have any questions or comments, friends. Have a great week!

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for the Plume newsletter yet, now is a great time to do it  — newsletter subscribers receive a FREE SHIPPING coupon code for the Etsy shop, good through the end of November.

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Shop Update: Lockets and Lip Balms – Oh, My!

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The Plume shop has two new locket designs available in vintage silver or brass finish. Each locket is filled-to-order with the solid perfume of your choice (choose from any of the current ten available in the shop).

I really love the antique-inspired floral design on these! They are perfect to wear with Fall dresses, silky blouses, and soft sweaters. The new lockets come on a matching antique-finish 28 cm chain with a lobster-clasp closure. These perfume lockets are an elegant way to wear fragrance — the warmth from your body allows the subtle perfume to surround you throughout the day.

Also, just in time for chapped-lip season: Plume’s new Botanical Lip Crèmes are finally available in the shop! Choose from three scents: Vanilla + Anise (my current favorite), Ginger + Rose, and Cocoa + Orange. You can also purchase all three in a gift set!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

The “Flowering” of Consciousness

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I just started reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (again), and the first chapter really struck a cord with me this time around. Tolle believes that flowers played an essential role in the evolution of human consciousness — inspiring countless artists and philosophers to contemplate the meaning of beauty over the centuries. I feel honored that my work as a natural perfumer is connected to the sacredness of flowers — their precious, fragile nature is an inspiration to me…I wanted to share this excerpt from Chapter 1 of A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle: “The Flowering of Human Consciousness.” I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!

Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun. Prior to this momentous event that heralds an evolutionary transformation in the life of plants, the planet had already been covered in vegetation for millions of years. The first flower probably did not survive for long, and flowers must have remained rare and isolated  phenomena, since conditions were most likely not yet favorable for a widespread flowering to occur. One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of color and scent all over the planet—if a perceiving consciousness had been there to witness it.

‘Summer Flowers’ by John William Godward

Much later, those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of another species. Humans would increasingly be drawn to and fascinated by them. As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a “silent sermon” once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it. After a while, one of those present, a monk called Mahakasyapa, began to smile. He is said to have been the only one who had understood the sermon. According to legend, that smile (that is to say, realization) was handed down by twenty-eight successive  masters and much later became the origin of Zen.

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word “enlightenment” in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.

'An Offering to Venus' by John william Godward

Since time immemorial, flowers, crystals, precious stones, and birds have held special significance for the human spirit. Like all life-forms, they are, of course, temporary manifestations of the underlying one Life, one Consciousness. Their special significance and the reason why humans feel such fascination for and affinity with them can be attributed to their ethereal quality.

Botanical No. 5551 by kariherer on Etsy

Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence, the one indwelling consciousness or spirit in every creature, every life-form, recognize it as one with their own essence and so love it as themselves. Until this happens, however, most humans see only the outer forms, unaware of the inner essence, just as they are unaware of their own essence and identify only with their own physical and psychological form. In the case of a flower, a crystal, precious stone, or bird, however, even someone with little or no Presence can occasionally sense that there is more there than the mere physical existence of that form, without knowing that this is the reason why he or she is drawn toward it, feels an affinity with it. Because of its ethereal nature, its form obscures the indwelling spirit to a lesser degree than is the case with other life-forms.

'La Ghirlandata' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

So when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless. There is an inner opening, however slight, into the realm of spirit…” ~Eckhart Tolle

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

The Lust-List

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It seems I have come down with my annual October cold — oddly, as I sit here sniffling (and temporarily unable to smell anything), all I can think of is the aroma of fresh herbs, spicy teas, and exotic blossoms. Here are a few goodies my nose has been lusting after:This organic tea sampler by pastry chef and herbal/essential oil guru Briar Winters (at Marble and Milkweed) looks like just the thing to keep me cozy through the winter. The Modern Chai No. 2 (with chocolate and saffron) sounds particularly intriguing.This gift set of soaps for men by Roots Soap Co. (with fragrances like Coffee and Bay Clove) sound wonderfully invigorating…and if my boyfriend is lucky, I MIGHT let him use them.I love the idea of being able to switch-up the scents of my household cleaning products, and this gentle, eco-friendly household cleaning spray by Ophelia’s Apothecary comes in a variety of tempting fragrances.

I have a weakness for Jasmine, and this decadent face cream by the Spa Goddess would give me an excuse to slather it on! The cream is made with essential oils of jasmine, rose, neroli, and sandalwood.I need all the help I can get when it comes to a good-night’s sleep. This dream-worthy pillow by Phoenix Botanicals — brimming with magical mugwort, lavender, and rose — is said to aid in sleep and help you remember your dreams!

What have you been lusting after lately??

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Sweet Anthem: A New Source for Indie Perfumes

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I sent off my first wholesale order yesterday! As a newbie business owner, every little milestone feels huge — like receiving an award for all of my hard work!

I couldn’t be happier that Plume’s first stockist will be the soon-to-open Sweet Anthem atelier in Seattle, WA. Sweet Anthem is owned by Meredith Smith, an indie perfumer and founder of the Independent Perfumer’s Guild.

Meredith is incredibly supportive of indie perfumers, and she is an all-around smart, talented, and kind human being.

I hope if you live near the Seattle area, you will stop by Sweet Anthem, where you will be able to shop from Meredith’s own line of vegan perfumes, as well as fragrances by other niche, indie, and hard-to-find brands, such as Marble and Milkweed and Rebel & Mercury.

Good luck to Meredith and all of the other indie perfumers who will be involved —

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Sniffing Booth: Indie Emporium

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I had such a wonderful time on Friday and Saturday selling my wares at Indie Emporium. Thanks so much to all of the folks who stopped by the Plume booth to chat…and sniff!

This was my first time being a vendor at a show, so I was all aflutter with nerves and excitement. I barely ate or slept last week!  I was concerned about my booth being up to par (there are some pretty amazing booths at Indie), but in the end I was happy with how it turned out. I kept it classic, with a few Art Nouveau touches…and of course, some peacock feathers.I made A LOT of stock for the show (more than I had ever made before), and it was lovely to see all of my perfumes and potions arranged just-so. Most importantly, I loved having the opportunity to let people smell and test my fragrances. It can be a challenge to sell fragrance online — people like to experience fragrance, to know how it reacts with their skin. This gave people the chance to do just that!

My new lip balms seemed to be a hit (no, I haven’t posted them in the shop yet, but will soon — I promise). The hands-down most popular perfume of the weekend was my new Fall/Winter scent, Coffee & Cedarwood. Both men and women seemed to love it. One customer commented that she couldn’t wait to wear it because she knew her husband would want to nibble her neck 😉I really couldn’t have done it without my boyfriend and my sister Ashley’s generous help. Thanks so much to you both! Can’t hardly wait until next year…

If you didn’t get a chance to visit Indie Emporium, I will be at another show at the end of the month: B.A.zaar in Broken Arrow. I grew up in Broken Arrow, so it will be fun to go back there and see how much the town has grown and changed.

Until then…

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

A Better Balm: All-Natural Lip Balm Recipe

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I will admit it: I am a lip balm addict. I keep tubes stashed in my nightstand, in the desk, on the coffee table, the bathroom countertop, and in my purse. I recently became frustrated by the fact that (despite my constant re-application) my lips were still dry!

I did some research and learned that the synthetic flavorings most over-the-counter lip balms are made with cause us to lick our lips more than usual – which, in turn, causes our lips to dry out! So, to battle this cycle of dryness, I decided to start making my own balms.

After some experimenting, I found a formula that is easy, nourishing, smells great – and doesn’t include any synthetics or flavorings. The ingredients can be found at any health food store, and you can customize the scent with essential oils and botanical extracts of your choice. What follows is the basic recipe I use in my own Lip Cremès™ — which will for sale for the first time this weekend at Tulsa’s Indie Emporium (and also available in my Etsy shop soon)! **P.S. The balms are now available in the shop here!!**

Tools/Equipment:

A heat-proof container with a spout (a glass measuring cup works well)

A hot pad or coffee maker

A measuring spoon (tsp.)

Something to stir with (a chopstick is perfect)

1 or 2 empty lip balm tubes or small lip balm pots with lids

Ingredients:

2 tsp. Cocoa butter

1 tsp. Beeswax (you can buy the pellets or grate your own)

1 tsp Jojoba oil (or coconut oil)

2-3 drops liquid Vitamin E (optional)

A couple drops of the essential oils of your choice (also optional)

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients (except the essential oil) to your glass measuring cup. Place the cup on your heating source. Stir regularly until the ingredients melt completely. Add your essential oils and stir again. Remove and carefully pour the ingredients into your containers. This recipe should make approx. 2 tubes of balm. Let the balm cool for at least 10 minutes before using. Voila!

Helpful Hints:

  • Don’t use more than 5-10 drops of essential oil for this recipe. EO’s are very strong and should only be used small amounts when applied to the skin.
  • Feel free to experiment with the ratios – more beeswax for a waxier balm or more oil for a glossier feel.
  • I personally like using essential oils with edible smells (note: most essential oils do not have a taste in small quantities) — ginger, anise, citrus oils, spicy oils, vanilla, cocoa are a few favorites.

If you try out this recipe, let me know how it goes!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Customer Query: Which Perfume Should I Choose — Oil or Solid?

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I receive a lot of great questions from customers, and I decided to start a new series of blog posts that will hopefully help to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. One of the most regular queries I receive is: What is the difference between your oil and solid perfumes? Or, more to the point: Which should I choose?

I always answer that this is a matter of preference (because it really is!), but to help clarify why you might choose one over the other, here are a few tidbits of info to make the decision easier:

First, the basic recipes for all of my perfumes are the same, whether solid or oil, so you can be assured that the fragrance is relatively consistent (as consistent as small-batch, artisan perfumes can be, that is). The only difference you might notice is that the solid perfumes have a slightly more honeyed aroma because of the additional of beeswax. In addition —

Oil-based perfumes are:

  • Made from a blend of jojoba oil and botanical extracts (jojoba is a lovely, nourishing oil that is not too greasy).
  • A more traditional choice — people are often more comfortable with the oil-based scents, because they are more familiar with the texture and how to apply them.
  • More popular with male customers — my male customers seem to feel more comfortable with the oil-based perfumes.
  • Relatively quick to sink into your skin.
  • Easy to apply anywhere on the body.

Solid perfumes are:

  • Made with jojoba oil and botanical extracts, with the addition of beeswax.
  • Creamy, not sticky. The consistency is similar to lip balm and they “melt” into the skin.
  • Great for portability — they don’t melt or spill, so you can throw them in your bag or travel pouch with ease.
  • Slightly longer-lasting on the skin than the oil-based perfumes, because the beeswax acts as a thicker emollient that lingers on your skin.
  • Recommended for application only on places where your skin will not be touching your clothes (neck, wrists, decollete, back of hands).

**TIP: I love to apply a perfume oil in the morning or after my shower and then carry the solid version with me in my bag so I can layer and re-apply the same scent throughout the day!

I hope this helps make your decision easier — and don’t ever hesitate to send me a message on Etsy or via: plumeperfume@gmail.com

Until next time —

Fragrantly Yours,

Tara

Plume’s Late Summer Shop Update: Summer Sale and Fall Pre-Order Special

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I decided to temporarily use these beautiful images by Alphonse Mucha for my Fall/Winter perfume line.

I cheerfully welcomed three new perfumes into my shop this past week: Saffron & Balsam, Coffee and & Cedar, and Gingerbread & Fir.

I was so excited about my Fall/Winter perfume line that I just couldn’t wait until mid-September to introduce them! That’s why I’ve decided to offer them for pre-order in the Etsy shop. Aside from the fact that you can receive your new scents before they are even “officially” available, there is another little incentive to pre-order — free shipping! Pre-orders will ship between September 5th and September 15th (depending on the date of your order), after which time the free shipping special ends and regular shipping prices kick back in.

Salammbo by Alphonse Mucha

The Fall/Winter fragrances can be summed up in three words: Woody. Spicy. Delicious.

My current favorite (yes, I’m already pretending it’s Fall) is Saffron & Balsam. This is one of the most complex perfumes I have made to date, and it encompasses every alluring scent that I associate with the far East. It features potent spices like saffron and cardamom blended with incense resins such as frankincense, labdanum and myrrh. It also highlights the sweet, heady blossoms of jasmine sambac, rose, orange blossom, and ylang ylang. Saffron & Balsam was inspired by the character of Salammbo in  the novel by French writer Gustave Flaubert: a dangerous beauty in the time of ancient Carthage. I think it captures her spirit well! And isn’t the image of her (above) by Alphonse Mucha amazing??

Coffee & Cedar has been a labor of love. I have been working on incorporating coffee extract into a perfume for some time now, and have finally come up with a blend that I adore. This fragrance is wonderfully unisex, woody, and brimming with the smell of fresh brewed coffee with just a hint of sugar. It also contains lavender, which I think gives it an unexpectedly bright, clean quality. This is definitely a “wrist-sniffer” (my term for a perfume that makes you keep sniffing your own wrist where you applied it, and thus making you look a little crazy).

Gingerbread & Fir is like a winter wonderland! It captures the sweet, nostalgic scent of winter — fragrant fir trees, traditional winter spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, and comforting vanilla. I must admit there is something about this perfume that makes me think of the story of Hansel and Gretel. As a girl, I imagined the fun of an entire house made of sweets…this brings me back to those musings: standing in the cold, snow-covered forest, inhaling the fragrance of a giant gingerbread house…ready to start nibbling! As an adult, it still sounds terribly tempting to my sweet tooth.

Summer Floral Mini Oil Trio from Plume

Another big event in the shop is Plume’s upcoming Summer Sale…

My three limited-edition summer floral perfumes will no longer be available after September (Damask Rose, Orange Blossom, and Indian Jasmine). All summer floral minis, oils, and solids will be 20% off starting on September 5th (Labor Day), so mark your calendars.

I am a little sad to see them go, but I will definitely consider bringing them back again in the future. If there was a particular scent that you really adored, let me know and I will keep it in mind for next year…

Well, I’ve chattered enough for now, my friends. I hope you enjoy the new perfumes as much as I do. Happy end of summer!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara