Reading that last entry.....it was like swimming with a weighted belt. I kept sinking into sleep, for a couple of weeks, didn’t manage anything really, except Enfleurage. And even there, especially there, I’ve been pretty useless. Finally staggered off to California and regenerated, like a chameleon! Fresh air, my people, being petted, mexican food, lymph work and a clean colon........everyone has their thing and that’ll suit me just fine, thanks.
The past year sure has been a whole lot of busy, wallah. It was about a year ago when we signed and started interviewing contractors for the 13th Street store. A year ago when I sat and entered endless data for the products on the new website, starting the long process of doing it “ourselves.” And it was about a year ago that my Omani company was finally formed, having sat in limbo for over two years, waiting for help from this or that sponsor, and endless empty promises, only to have it all snap back in a super-sized blessing when I realized I didn’t need the sponsor after all, and that I was free. It was a year ago I received my paperwork and started thinking about a location in Salalah, a year ago that I sold Ice Cream in the souq. A lot sure can happen in a year. And it’s not all done! There’s a whole lot of busy coming down that pike yet. I’d like to recap:
Almost a year later, the new store is finished and rocking. We scaled down, eliminating most of our inventory and now just focused on essential oils and a few natural incenses, mostly agarwood and frankincense. The design of the new place is super sweet, cool and elegant, and could hold its own anywhere in the world. The old Enfleurage was funkier, more in keeping with how Bleecker Street was when we moved into the neighborhood. We had a lot of foot traffic; passersby, tourists just strolling. And with Bleecker Street costs, we jolly well had to make every inch count. But that took us away from what we do best and what we care about, aromatics from the natural world. By trying to appeal to people who just stop in to check out the store, we diluted the essence of Enfleurage. Whether from Long Island or Europe, bargain hunters would sometimes try to get “a better deal.” That may be just fine in the souq, but at Enfleurage we were insulted. I remember once a woman in a full length mink coat asked for a discount on those soaps we used to carry. And every month it was a huge deal to pay the rent! I am so glad we don’t have to deal with any of it any longer. Our prices are low, considering the quality of our oils and the lengths we go to get them. And now we are 90% destination. And no more blending bar. I still love blending oils, but only when I am inspired either by my own brain or when someone asks for something interesting. My favorites are often blends for the grieving, dying, terminally ill, or demented. Essential oils are in their full glory at times like this and you can really make a huge difference and help people. When I’m inspired on my own it’s usually something that just hits me full force, and I have to make it. Sometimes it turns into a house blend--most of our synergies were birthed like that. And sometimes it’s just for me, like the patchouli-vanilla-bergamot-jasmine show I’ve been doing over and over like a crack rat, usually as a spray, changing the jasmine for other jasmines, or rose, and the bergamot for mandarin, yet keeping the basic flavor.
For me, the best and most interesting, delicious things are those that come with a bang and assert themselves in my mind, demanding conception. When I make a new blend, usually I will do what I think, then a few others similar, tinkering here and there, trying this and that but almost all of the time it’s the first one that I go with. It’s the first instinct that is usually the correct one. It’s the same kind of thunderous certainty I got about the conception of Enfleurage, the name Enfleurage, the new store, the distillery, all of it.
It’s very different from writing. I never know what I’m going to write about, other than maybe a vague idea, before I start. This blog entry was something else entirely. I have no idea how we got on this subject but it just comes out through my fingers. It’s hard to explain. Writing and blending do have something in common though and that is the buzz in my head when it’s finished and ok, time to stop. The buzz when I make a perfume is stronger, and more physical. The writing one is just the tap stopping and being punctuated by a beep. Both leave me spaced out and high.
The new website is up! It took so long! It’s not finished either, and I still have plenty of writing to do on it, but the site is up! We don’t have all our payment options up yet either, but we have something!
We have a pretty large web-presence now. The website, absolutetrygve, the store blog, our facebook and twitter pages, and Enfleurage Events, which Christina writes. She also has her own blog, Aromatic Lifestyle. (Link for all aromatic blogs to the right.) To me, this is enough. But I do understand that we need more, because there is never any cap on this. I love writing, and sometimes I love writing about essential oils, but I don’t like writing about aromatherapy and I hate discussing it. I also don’t like arguing about Young Living, or topical use, or oral use, or how stupid IFRA is. And in these cases, I don’t mind answering a few questions but I see that these debates and arguments are still going on all over the internet the same way there last time I checked, in 1998. There are still plenty of knowledgeable, educated essential oil people out there doing it though, and it’s good that they are, but I can’t stand it. The way I see it, I spend more than enough time staring at this screen, writing, answering emails, updating the social media, etc. Not to mention texting and whatsapp. I can’t understand why I should add more to this, and never mind doing it for fun. No way. That’s why you won’t see me on forums such as Basenotes, discussion groups on Linkedin, and why I don’t have a personal Facebook account. Better to get away from this stuff whenever you can.
The distillery is open and producing but still needs finishing touches. Won’t go into it now since this is long enough and I’m not in Salalah at the moment. That’s another huge thing though. The pot bubbles.
Over the past year I became intimately acquainted with ice cream and made this huge sidestep into a culinary world. And that pot is bubbling too.
Over the past year I finally had to admit that I suck at packaging and marketing. I’m probably the last one to realize this, and it’s liberating because I needn’t wander around those terrible trade shows looking for bottles anymore. Some people are great at it. To me its hell. And even if I try to apply myself it’s a disaster. So....that’s cool. Got it. It’s only horrible when I feel like I can do something if I just applied myself harder. But if there is no talent, no will, and no possibility for improvement, then it’s time to move on and hire someone else to do it, someone fabulous. And he is fabulous! So that pot is also bubbling.
Isn’t it amazing the directions life takes us, the things we learn about ourselves, and new paths we pursue? Just when we think we’re so smart, we can get hit upside the head with.....baked goods, music, robots, silks, aromatics, something we maybe had no idea we would enjoy and excel at and isn’t that just the coolest thing? And sometimes it’s a great pleasure to learn that something we think we’ve been striving for isn’t really what we want, that the path is a mistake and although it might be a nasty shock at first, it feels great to let it go and know you don’t have to pretend any more.