Autumn Begins — Checking in

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Happy Fall! The photo above is a red abutilon flower on my porch backlit by the afternoon sun. I love the light this time of year.

I wanted to give a little update about SSS and what’s been going on in my life.

SSS Site: If anyone noticed that the SSS site was down for a few days (Sept 21-24), the reason was a web host transfer that took a little longer than planned. If you emailed info@sonomascentstudio.com during that time and did not hear back, you might want to re-send your email.

I will probably replace the SSS home page soon with a notice about closing and I will restrict access to the rest of the site. I’ve left the site up while deciding what do with SSS, but some people miss the messages on the site about the closure so I will restrict the site to the home page and put a message there.

SSS Company Sale: I was communicating with someone who wanted to purchase SSS. In the process of working on the sales contract, I learned about some changes to tax laws that mean I need to sell SSS over time instead of an all-cash, all-in-one-year deal. I was not able to work out that sort of plan with the people who had made the offer, so I’m not sure what I will do now. I am in no hurry because I’ve been working on my health (my wrists are improving all the time!) and working on cleaning up. I’m still interested in finding the right person to carry on with SSS or to take over some of the top-selling scents, but I’m working on other things in the meantime.

SSS Remaining Bottle Sale: All the bottles I had offered in previous blog posts are in the hands of people who requested them. I don’t have anything else for sale at this time, but if that changes I will post again.

Family: Four weeks ago my sweet Dad fell and broke his right upper arm (humerus) clear through. He has weekly doctor appointments for x-rays and adjustment of the brace, and we’re hoping he can heal and avoid surgery.  Today the doctor referred him to a specialist for another opinion because the injury is borderline for whether surgery needs to be done. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. He is right-handed, so this has been very challenging for him, and he is not the sort of person who likes a lot of down time.

Photos: I’ll finish this post by sharing a few pictures I’ve taken this summer. First up is a picture of a monarch butterfly in the garden, taken yesterday. The monarchs will be migrating south (Pacific Grove in CA is one spot in which they gather).

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Here is my new garden gate. We replaced the old wooden gate this summer because it had deteriorated too much to be latched and couldn’t be repaired anymore. This iron gate won’t shrink/swell in the summer/winter so it should last much longer. So easy for me to use too!

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Here are a couple photos of one of the fawns that has been living here this summer. We’ve had one doe with two fawns and one doe with one fawn. They love to eat acorns this time of year (the acorns drop to the ground in fall). Low res pics because I was too far away, but still cute.

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I had a great crop of tomatoes in June/July (Sweet 100 and Early Girl) and now I’m getting another crop of the cherry tomatoes this fall. I’ve already frozen lots of tomatoes to use later, so I’m juicing some of this crop. They make amazing, thick, tomato juice. Yum.

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The juice collects in one bowl and the seeds/skins collect in the other bowl. I’ve set up a juicing/food prep station in what used to be my lab. Unlike the kitchen sink, the sink in the old lab room allows my chair to roll under, so it is easy to use.

I love this time of year, as long as fires don’t strike. Fall is fire season in CA, and we’ve already had serious fires in 2018 even before heading into fall. Hoping we do not have a repeat of last year.

I will post more when I can!

Some Final Bottles Available

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The last several months I have contacted many people who had written to me in Jan/Feb to request bottles. I’ve filled about as many of those requests as I can with what I had in stock (minus a few people that I couldn’t reach via email).  I’m now listing the few remaining bottles here. These bottles have been stored in my lab refrigerator. I have some 34 ml bottles of Incense Pure ready to go and enough juice left to make another couple Incense Pure bottles beyond that, plus just a few bottles of a few other scents (full list given below).

If you see something you’d like to purchase and you have a USA shipping address, please send me an email at info@sonomascentstudio.com. I’ll take requests in the order that I receive them. My wrists are improved but still can’t type very much, so I’ll be copying/pasting some standard messages to set things up and my replies might not be lightening fast. This final round will go much faster than the first round though, especially since all the bottles are made and ready to ship. Personal checks and US Postal money orders are preferred to PayPal, when possible.

Bottles In Stock & Available:
all out right now, assuming all orders in progress follow through

sold out:
0 x 34 ml Winter Woods ($80 each)
0 x 34 ml Velvet Rose  ($75 each)
0 x 10 ml  Pacific Forest ($40)
0 x 5 ml Pacific Forest ($25)
0 x 34 ml Forest Walk  ($100 each)
0 x 5 ml Fireside Intense ($18)
0 x 5 ml Nostalgie ($20)
0 x 34 ml Incense Pure ($80 each)
0 x 34 ml Fireside Intense ($80)
0 x 5 ml Incense Pure ($17)
0 x 34 ml Amber Incense ($125)
0 x 17 ml Incense Pure ($45)
0 x 5ml Amber Incense ($25 each or $40 for two)

I think I have found someone excellent to carry on with SSS, but it is still too early to say more here on the blog. Meantime, I’ve been converting my lab room back to personal use, which is a big project but is gaining me some very helpful extra storage space and work space (every bit counts in a small cottage!).

Thanks again so very much for your good wishes, and let’s find homes for these last remaining bottles! I will have more updates coming.

Bee’s Bliss is Finalist in 2018 Art and Olfaction Awards

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I’m very happy to announce that Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss is a Finalist in this year’s Artisan Category of the Art and Olfaction Awards! I’m so pleased and excited — this recognition really means a lot to me. The 2018 Finalists were announced in a special press event at Esxence in Milan today.

The Fifth Annual Art and Olfaction Awards event will take place in a public ceremony at the historic Tabernacle in London on April 21, 2018. This year’s entries included hundreds of perfumes from artisan and indie perfumers in countries around the world; I’m very honored to have Bee’s Bliss included in the top ten Finalists of the Artisan category. Congrats to all the Finalists!

Now I need to find the right person to take over this formula from me! I’m still looking for the right person/team to continue production of the SSS scents. It’s been hard to do much on that front since early January because my wrists have been out of commission, but I’m healing and can start working on that again.

More info about the awards from the IAO Press Release:

“The Art and Olfaction Awards are designed to raise public interest and awareness around new developments in independent perfumery. The Awards, established in 2014 by The Institute for Art and Olfaction, are given to outstanding creators in the categories of independent, artisan, and experimental perfume from across the globe, chosen for perfumes released in 2017.”

Happy Easter!

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We’ve had cold and rainy weather here for weeks, but the sunshine appeared on Wednesday and we’ve been enjoying a taste of spring for several days. It’s been beautiful with temps in the 80’s and the trees in their new spring green leaves.

I’ve been catching up on things — cleaning up and organizing the house (a massive   project after 14 years of SSS accumulation) as well as taking care of medical appointments. My wrists continue to improve, albeit slowly. I’ve let all the incoming emails with scent requests sit in my inbox for now. There are still too many for me to answer, but I hope to eventually have help with that. It does feel great to catch up with some non-SSS tasks that I’ve not had time to do the last few years. I also finished my taxes, and my Dad got through his surgery. Dad is not quite fully recovered, but we’re relieved that he is steadily improving and doing so well.

I still hope to find someone to take over my formulas, and I should have more wrist power for communicating with interested people in the coming weeks.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

2018 Perfumed Plume Awards Finalists

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I’m honored to be named a Finalist in the 2018 Perfumed Plume Awards for my post The Fragrance Creation Process: From Inspiration To Release. Sounds like last night was a fun evening at Perfumariē, where the Finalists were announced. The winners will be revealed on April 11 during an awards ceremony at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.

Many thanks to co-founders Mary Ellen Lapsansky and Lyn Leigh for all their work on the awards program. It’s great to see all the wonderful entries this year as well as the enthusiasm and camaraderie.

You can view the full list of the Finalists and categories here on the Perfumed Plume site. Congratulations to all the 2018 Finalists!

 

Update: Healing, Scent Requests, and SSS

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I wanted to check in with an update. I’m feeling slow, steady healing of my wrists (yay!). It will be a while more before I’m out of the dangerous phase, but patience is producing results. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to respond to your emails. I so appreciate all the good wishes, but I need to keep avoiding the keyboard (and pipettes) for now.

I still plan to finish working through the list of requests for the remaining scents in stock, but I am continuing my break for now to give my wrists time to heal. I haven’t forgotten about you though! Thank you for your patience. If I am able to fulfill your request, I will let you know as soon as I can.

I also wanted to let you know that I am still looking for the right person/team to take over Sonoma Scent Studio. I’ve had a number of people express interest, but I have not worked anything out yet. I’m taking time to find a good match. I will post more news as soon as I have something I can share.

Back in December I was working on a beautiful new format for the blog, with an eye toward its new expanded focus; I will get back to that, too, as soon as I can. Can’t wait to share it with you.

We had a month of really warm, beautiful weather, which brought out the daffodils, plum blossoms, rosemary, and snowdrops. Now it is cold and rainy, but we need the rain. I hope you’re seeing signs of spring where you are! Thinking of east coasters this weekend with the big storm and hoping all of you are ok.

Update

I am going to have to suspend the sale of remaining stock for now (I should not have tried to do this). I don’t have a lot left, and my wrists are too flared up to continue right now. I will resume when I can. I also can’t reply to the over one hundred fifty emails in my inbox — my wrists just can’t do it. I apologize. I will finish all orders currently in progress (anyone who sent payment) and will resume when I can. I appreciate your kind words of support and your enthusiasm, but I just can’t reply right now. Thanks so much for your understanding.

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Just posting an update here on 1/12/2018. I’m really overwhelmed with all the emails. I appreciate all your kind words of support. I so want to respond to everyone personally, but it will take some time (a few weeks). I will work through the list of requests and fill bottles to see how far it goes, but I can see I will not have enough stock for all the requests. Please know I’ll do all I can to help someone new take over and pick up where I am leaving off. Thanks so much!

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.