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The cost of “smelling cheap”…

October 31, 2014

There are over 3,100 inexpensive aroma chemicals available to the perfume industry. Only 40% have been tested for safety, and the tested ones are known for their toxicity.

This is what conventional perfumes are made of: cheap, toxic chemicals in expensive bottles.

Does this really, really annoy you, too?

Synthetic perfumes, 99% of the perfume out there, are actually really cheap to make. What the consumer is paying for is the packaging, the name on the label and the massive marketing campaign behind it. (By comparison, with a brand like Stark, you are really mostly paying for the quality of the raw ingredients.). The trouble with synthetic perfumes is that the safety is not well tested, and many of the chemicals —and these are the known, listed chemicals in them- are known to be hormone-disrupting, carcinogenic and are highly allergenic. I think, in fact, we’re all at least a little allergic to aroma chemicals (but that’s really just anecdotal). The fact is that synthetic perfumes aren’t safe. Yes, they are legal to sell (because the laws around cosmetics, specifically fragrance, is weirdly out of date) but it’s buyer beware, and most people have no clue, or don’t care, about how toxic they smell. And cheap.

In an alternate universe, where I do things “just for the money” and say things like “how does this affect my bottom line?” and do not really care about health, the environment, business integrity, art, beauty, cats and the safety of my loved ones, I’d totally make perfume out of lab-made chemicals. Business-wise, it makes a lot of sense (and scents, badum-ching!). Aroma chemicals, compared to essential oils and the even pricier absolutes, are a tiny fraction of the cost. Just for a little clarity, if it costs me at least $15 to make one bottle of perfume in raw ingredients alone, it would cost me less than $1 to make a synthetic scent. You see the appeal, from a business standpoint. (By the way, this is basically the same story with skincare. There’s a reason all-natural, organic stuff is pricier than drugstore crap, but the naturals deliver a lot of value, and that’s what counts.)So here IS the bottom line. Natural perfuming is a costly process. As I mentioned in last week’s email, it’s a labour of love, but as you can see, it’s so much more. Working with natural fragrance is MUCH harder than working with synthetics (but way more fun, I’m sure.) This is one reason why I make the perfume in tiny batches, creating no more than 50 at a time. Most perfume houses would charge an insane amount of money for this kind of value, but I like to do things that make my accountant go crazy. Our first perfume is just $65.

Last week, I also said I was inspired to do something generous (I had a company almost randomly treat my family and I very well last week. Being pampered once in a while is really great!). So I want to be generous within my means, too. I am sending out a bottle of Stark’s first Huile de Parfum (02) to three Stark customers, chosen at random! You will receive an email from me before Monday if you’ve been chosen.

Have a fantastic weekend (and long weekend to my fellow Canadians!),


PS. Want to see what the Environmental Working Group has to say about what “perfume” is? Click here.

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