Artist Interview: Smoke Perfume
1. How did you get started on your path working with plants? What inspired you to start your brand? How has it changed your life?
I've always been super into plants and nature and holistic health, but it was when I took Rosemary Gladstar's intro to herbalism course (I think in 2015?), that I became completely plant-obsessed. It was the first time I felt truly empowered to go out into nature and commune directly with plants, to form working relationships, and to support myself with plant allies. I then began incorporating what I'd learned into my already existing brand, and I think my background of herbalism has made my brand stronger. It has certainly enriched my experience of building my brand because I get to work directly with plants, forage for ingredients, and form relationships with farmers. Overall, it has made me a more conscious human and consumer.
2. What is your favorite plant and why? What has been your journey with this plant?
There are many, but the first that comes to mind are roses! I've always loved them, but the definitely speak to me directly. I feel roses instantly connect me to my heart center. I feel my heart to be a rose in full bloom. Roses have a mildly psychedelic effect on me because of how they drop me into my heart and body. As a perfumer, the scent of rose may be the most classic of them all! Passionflower is a close second, and nettle is my favorite infusion to drink!
3. What are some of the local flowers and herbs near you that you might use in your products?
I forage fresh Cypress leaves for my New Moon Cypress Body oil, and I work with a local rose grower who grows organic roses for my Full Moon Rose Body Oil, Herbal Smoking Blend, and Rose Glycerite.
4. Is the creation process behind your products by instinct or was there a lot of studying behind each herb and plant you use?
A bit of both. I rely deeply on my intuition to guide me to a particular essential oil, ingredient, or herb, and then I delve into it further by studying it more, reading up on folklore, etc. Not every exploration leads to a new product:)
5. What is one of your favorite products you make and why? Why are these ingredients good for your body?
I'll always be partial to my original perfume, Smoke, because it was the first perfume I ever made, and it launched my entire company. I feel it is more than just a perfume, it transports me and grounds me. The vetiver oil is extremely grounding, and the citrus and jasmine are uplifting and sensual. I'm also partial to my new scent, Night Cloud, because it's been challenging to make, and a long road to get to launching it! The Rose Glycerite is a close second, again for that heart opening rose vibe iI get from it!
6. What are some ways your business is eco friendly, environmentally conscious or helps grow more plants?
I am committed to working with other artisans, therefore injecting cash directly into my economy. My laser etcher, woodworkers, and rose grower all come to mind here. I am also committed to working with sustainable and fair trade companies, and am diligent about where my ingredients come from.
7. What has your experience been like on this journey? What is some advice you would give to aspiring plant artists? Any books or educational recommendations?
Launching Smoke has changed my life in so many ways. Building my brand has been one of the most educating and empowering things I could have done for myself. It's extremely challenging, too. It's certainly not for the faint of heart, but I guess the biggest advice I'd give is to trust your gut and follow your intuition. I launched with no clear business plan or real aspirations. While I've made a ton of mistakes along the way, I've also always just tried my best to take the next right step, to keep moving forward. Oh, and find at least one trusted mentor! Especially one who can teach you the craft of what you are seeking.
8. What is your vision for your future work with plants? With wildcrafting and foraging? Its an important way for us as awakened plant people to connect with plants but is this still a viable option? What are your opinions?
As my company grows, I rely less on foraging for materials for the product in my brand, preferring instead to work with reputable growers, farmers, and herb farms. I now practice wildcrafting as part of my own personal self care/spiritual work with the natural world. That's how it started for me, and it's still so important to me. I do think there is a danger to over harvesting if too many people approach it without mindfulness. At the end of the day, foraging is about having a direct spiritual relationships with the plant world. Intention is everything, so coming at it from a more holy intention is where it's at. I think fostering this relationship is so healing, and we don't need to do it with the goal of taking from the land! If more people just went to nature, got to know even one plant intimately, and made offering to the land, we'd see so much growth and healing!