A New Chapter

This is a hard post to write. I’m making some major changes in my life this year, and I wrote this post to explain my plans as well as a little about the reasons behind them. I apologize that this news will come as a surprise, but this seems like the only way to handle things. I think the changes can be a win/win for everyone over the long term, though I regret that this news will be disappointing to some in the short term.

I have decided that it is time for me to find someone to take over SSS from me. Given my physical limitations, I have had to restrict orders to what I can handle, and I would enjoy seeing SSS go to someone who could take it further and allow it to grow more. Someone new could keep the store open 365 days a year, could do more international shipping, and could say yes to some of the numerous boutiques that have wanted to carry SSS. I’m in conversation with people and am confident that I can place SSS in good hands.

I’ve had a good, long run since 2004, but I need to do some other things that I can’t do when I’m busy with SSS. I want to remain active in the fragrance community because I love the friends I have made here. This is an amazing group of bright, caring, creative, generous people.

I have been thinking about making this change for a while, and a number of things in addition to my own needs have factored into the current timing. My parents are amazing for their ages, but they are in their eighties and I want to have more time for them. My Dad is likely having some surgery soon, which is scary at his age even though he is in great shape. Also, my assistant of three years has taken another job and can’t do my part-time job anymore (I have been blessed with several wonderful assistants over the years). Everything is coming together now leading me to make this change.

I’m not going to put the cart back up, but I have juice left for some of the scents and will take some orders for bottles via email during the last week or two of January and all of February (UPDATE: Now Sold Out). I will take orders in the order of the emails I receive at info@sonomascentstudio.com. I will not be doing sample orders, and I am out of 17 ml sprayers. I can offer 34 ml plus 5 ml and 10 ml travel sprays. I will start a new post for info/questions about ordering the remaining stock.

I understand that someone new will likely want to make changes to the scent lineup over time (and add new things!), but it makes sense to keep the most popular SSS scents going. I will be sure to leave SSS with someone who will treat customers well because that is a core brand value that I want to see carried forward. I will be available to help with anything needed for a while during and after the transition.

Long term, I would love to do some freelance work supporting small artisan businesses by helping with projects in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I enjoy working on websites and auxiliary branding items like sample cards, business cards, labels, brochures, website images, signs, and flyers. Small artisans rarely have access to Adobe Illustrator and can’t always afford a graphic artist, so this might be a niche I could serve, especially given that I have direct experience with producing these items for fragrance products. This work would be low key compared to running a perfume business and would be much easier for me (the projects would be more limited in scope and would not require inventory, batching, pipette work, or shipping).

I plan to keep my blog, though I will eventually transition away from its focus on SSS. I’d like to cover topics that relate to artisan and indie businesses, with an emphasis on perfume but also branching out a bit to other areas. We have a thriving artisan community here in Sonoma County, and it would be fun to feature some of our local artisans too.

When I first started SSS, I was recovering from a painful divorce (is there any other kind?) and inventing ways to work around a difficult set of physical limitations. SSS helped me feel useful and gave me lots of new things to learn, both about perfumery and about small business. Growing SSS has brought me much satisfaction over the years. I’ve loved getting to know people in the fragrance community and hearing customers say that my scents have added pleasure to their lives. Even though I often regret my limitations (don’t we all!), I feel fortunate that SSS has done as well as it has.

This announcement will likely bring me quite a few email responses, more than I can answer in a timely fashion, but I will do my best to get back to people over the next few weeks. I thank you ahead for your patience and understanding.

I will enjoy having more time to spend with family, being able to take better care of my health, and being able to do some other activities in daily life. I would also be thrilled to see SSS grow and thrive with someone new. I can’t thank everyone enough for your support and encouragement over the years, and for so many of you touching my life and enriching it. I will still be here, just changing roles, and I hope to keep my fragrance friendships going beyond SSS. Much love to you all.

79 thoughts on “A New Chapter

  1. Wishing you all the best in your new endeavours. 🙂
    It’s a truly brave thing to follow one’s inner spirit.
    And good health to you and your parents.

  2. Dear Laurie,
    you poured your heart and soul into Sonoma Scent Studio and that will never be forgotten, even decades after you finally pass the batton to someone else.
    We highly value your talent and all the beautiful fragrances you made through the years.

    I believe we’ll keep in touch after your departure from SSS duties.

    If I can be of any help as an industry insider, please do let me know. I’m up to many things to maintain the spirit of SSS alive 🙂

    Wishing you all the best

  3. so smart to take the direction in a way you want to go, think ahead and plan with clarity and take everything important into consideration. Congratulations on the success you’ve made of this indie perfume business and looking forward to your next incarnation, and the next version and growth of the perfumes.

  4. What wonderful news for you and your family. Thank you for the beauty and comfort you’ve given to us in your perfumes. Sending so many good wishes for your success and happiness Laurie!

  5. Laurie. Your work has been my most ardent and true love when it comes to perfume. I will be sending you an email for sure so that I may stock up but first and foremost I want to send you my best regards. I wish you all the best and am glad we became friends. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Julie! I’m glad for our friendship, too! Love what you do on your blog and your sweet family pics on Facebook! Hoping we can stay connected online. 🙂

  6. Dear Laurie. I feel like a friend of yours even though we’ve never met. That’s got everything to do with your great kindness, humour and generosity of spirit. I know there’s been much soul-searching to come to this decision and while that might have stirred up all sorts of feelings, it was important work. You are nothing if not one very smart cookie: I’m sure you’ll make all the best decisions in turning SSS over to new folks. Family is so important, and time with your parents is more precious than ever; I’m sure the fires and all the upset has brought that home to you that much more poignantly. Indeed, a new chapter in your life is just beginning, as you say, and it will be a lovely one.

    Yours is an incredible success story, Miss L. I wish I could pop down from Roberts Creek here in B.C. to take you out for a nice glass of Sonoma County bubbly to celebrate (and grab 34mls of Bee’s Bliss and a bunch of other gorgeous scented creations while I was at it 😉 ). If you ever come up this way please let me know and we’ll give you a proper Canadian welcome. All the best, my darling,

    Love,
    Auntie Robin

    P.S. I will wear lots of Nostalgie tonight in honour of your many talents . . .

    • I feel like you’re a friend too, Robin! You are always so sweet. Would love to say hi if you ever visit Sonoma County. Thanks so much for your good wishes and for your support and friendship over the years! Hugs!

      • I AM a friend, my dear. I would love to meet you one day. I will definitely let you know if I’m heading your way.

        Gosh, I’m a little sad. SSS just won’t be the same without you. I will cherish all my precious bottles that much more. Do keep in touch. And hugs to you, too, Laurie.

  7. You have built a wonderful line of perfumes that won’t ever be forgotten. You put your all into your little business, that’s grown into something bigger than you ever thought, and all with love. You have to do what’s best for YOU. Best of luck, and thanks for all the support at PLP, when it was around. Much love.

    Carlos.

    • Thanks so much Carlos! It’s true, when I started SSS I had no idea what a wonderful journey it would be. It connected me to all of you, which is the best lasting gift it could give. 🙂

  8. Laurie,
    You’ve created many beautiful scents over the years. That’s quite an accomplishment! Sounds like you have some great plans to keep you plenty busy. It’s time to sit back and enjoy your new venture.

    Meanwhile, I’ll have to see if I can pick up one more bottle.

    Take care and best of all to your family! ❤

  9. What a difficult decision this must have been – sometimes things just make sense though and I wish you the best as you excel in different ways and take care of yourself, your family, and others that are important to you. I will treasure my SSS fragrances and look forward to your future posts.
    Thank you,
    sandy

  10. Dear Laurie, what a brave and focused decision you have made. Bravo for thinking of other artisans who may now use your skills to better their websites, etc. Thoughts of love and support to you as you care for your aging parents, and best wishes for your future.

    Your longtime perfume pal,
    Anya

  11. Best wishes in whatever direction(s) you take yourself, dear Laurie. Thank you so much for the pleasure you’ve given me and so many others over the years, and although I am very sorry to see SSS pass into someone else’s hands, I also thank you for recognizing that it’s special to so many of us. XO XO

  12. Sending you warm wishes for the next chapter in your life! And thank you for selling the business rather than just shutting down, hopefully your best selling scents will be preserved going forward! I feel so thankful for all the beautiful creations you’ve shared with us.

    • Thanks, Tara! I gave it a lot of thought, and I think passing it on will be a good option. It would be too hard to see all the work just end. Appreciate your thoughts! ❤

  13. Dear Laurie
    I wish you the very best for the future. I’m sure you came to this decision after much soul-searching. I admire your work tremendously and as it’s your baby, so to speak, you’ll want it in a safe pair of hands. You’re obviously a very determined and focused person and I have no doubt you’ll be successful in whatever venture you choose to go forward with. Will email you soon.

  14. I am so sorry to hear of your leaving SSS. Your fragrances rank among the best. May your chosen path bring you happiness and health, your special touch will be missed. Like other perfumers I know, talent is not limited to conjuring special perfumes. I among many others will miss you very much, but also have faith that whomever you choose to follow your perfume dream, he/she will recognize the unique place you hold.
    Best of everything Laurie.

    MCL

  15. Many good wishes as you move on. It’s such a pleasure to wear your scents – they are so beautiful and unique.
    You will be missed!!

  16. In my 47 years of perfume wearing no perfumes have resonated with me as much as yours have. Your extraordinary talent as a perfumer will be missed. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to wear your lovely creations. There is no doubt in my mind that your creative juices will once again flow in another endeavor.

    All the best to you, Laurie!

    xxoo
    B.

  17. Thank you for the joy you gave me through your perfumes. I am also grateful for your gift of Yin & Ylang many Sniffapalooza’s ago; I had since spread the love. Best wishes for this new chapter in your life and I am glad you will remain affiliated in some fashion with the world of perfume!

    • Thank you for the good wishes, hajusuuri! That Yin & Ylang Sniffa event was fun to do! I’m glad to remain active in the fragrance community — such great people here. ❤

  18. You leave behind a beautiful body of work, Laurie. I’m just so sad as a perfume lover that your efforts will no longer be directed toward fragrance creation. May your talents shine in your new endeavors too.

  19. Oh wow – what bittersweet news. You are my favorite indie perfumeer and incense pure is my favorite incense. Your creations are just so smooth and precise. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavors Lori – we well!

  20. I hope things will come out even better than you expect, Laurie! Wishing you blissful years ahead and happy time with your family! I loved and still love your violets Wood Violet, Forest Walk and Voile de Violette! I hope that the new people at SSS will keep the spirit and the treasures!

  21. I suppose all things eventually must change. I admire you doing what you feel is right for you. I hate to see you give up the SSS but I understand. I’m sure you will find someone to carry on the tradition of fabulous scents and customer service for you. I cherish the fragrances I have from your line and am happy you aren’t shutting things completely down. I wish you all the best in whatever you do. Keep blogging, even if it isn’t about perfume.

  22. Laurie, I wish you and your parents the best of things to come in 2018. You will always be my “adoptive” family and a huge part of my life. Good luck!
    Julie

  23. Pingback: Spring seeking, Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss | Chemist in the Bottle

  24. I have so enjoyed your artistry with scent, and regret that I missed this letter when it was first sent, only discovering the news when I decided to order a travel spray of Bee’s Bliss! Congratulations on your new journeys. I think what is best about most small niche businesses and endeavors is also what is their limitation:hat they reflect the enormous talent and dedication of those that create them. Therefore they are often hard to “grow” or challenging to sustain over a long period of time.
    Now I am wondering where I will purchase a new bottle of Jour Ensoleille (my daughter’s favorite on me) and where and when I will have the opportunity to try Bee’s Bliss! P.S I really appreciated your personal replies regarding fragrance questions over the years. Thank you and best wishes!

    • Thanks, Fleurycat! I’m glad we’ve been able to connect over the years, and I appreciate your support! Agree that what makes small artisan businesses special is also what makes them challenging to sustain over a long period of time. Please check in for updates about passing Sonoma Scent Studio on to someone new.

  25. I’m brand new to your line, just received samples December, just getting to trying them now. I tested a citrus blend and was very impressed, considering I’m normally never a fan of citrus-style fragrances. It is often the case that when I find things I like, they are discontinued…so before I try any of the other samples I received, will bottles be available sometime soon for purchase? Wish I found SSS sooner.

    Thanks and best wishes.

    • Thanks, Tim! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed Spiced Citrus Vetiver (I love it too). I’m sorry for the timing, Please check in for updates. I’m hoping the successor will love the brand as I have and will keep everyone’s favorite scents available. It will take a little time though. 🙂

  26. Laurie, I am very impressed with your decision which so clearly is for all the right reasons for you moving forward into different life phases. I am wishing you every joy, health, success and warmth as you move on to different things.
    I also have to say, (albeit selfishly) that you are my favorite indie perfumer, loving cocoa sandalwood, fig tree and was looking forward to bee’s bliss. Whenever I wear your art, I am both complimented and told that the fragrance is totally unusual. Yay! I have recommended you very often and was just about to turn my son onto your work (looking for THE scent)…it’ll wait.
    Thank you so very much for working so hard and bringing these lovelies into our lives. Its a large piece of yourself and its so appreciated. If you do end up having any juice left (i need some travel sizes) please post that. I know that you will leave this baby in good hands but you will be missed.

    Lari F.

  27. So, so so sorry to see you go as I only discovered your wonderful line of perfumes a couple of years ago and haven’t had the chance to try as many as I was hoping to 😭 But, I certainly can understand your reason and hope all the best for you and hope whoever takes over your business will be as good as you. Will we know who that is by your blog posts?

    • Thank you, Loretta. I am sorry for the timing; wish you’d had more time to try more of the scents, too. I will update the blog with news when I know it. Thanks again for your support!

  28. Wishing you all the best in your new direction and lots of healing. I would be so interested in consulting with you regarding the business end of perfuming. Will you post here? How can we be informed?

  29. Dear L..when allergens ovwrwhelmed me in deadly heat..fierce cold..there you were..with sumptuous delicacies..don’t go..so excited about uour new path..but,golly..you’ll be missed

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