Have you asked yourself: what's in my favorite soap, candle, perfume, cleanser or detergent? I try to with everything I buy and as I continue to try and make my purchases meaningful.
When I started my business 13 years ago, I was so excited to jump into the world of natural candle making and perfumery. Soy wax was all the rage and I loved it. I started blending fun scents I thought people would love into the wax and, voila, I had a candle line. I also found some jojoba oil and started making the first of my perfumes. I had no idea about where these ingredients came from or even asking myself was this supporting a local business? Was this sustainable? Was I buying something that supports an impoverished community or just giving my money to a large corporation?
I wanted to write about some of the things I have changed at Rebel and Mercury.
No More Soy Wax
If I was going to stay with soy, I wanted to find an organic option. I was unable to find a Non GMO verified and organic soy wax supplier. What I learned, unfortunately, there is no company who can create an organic soy wax. It just isn't possible with the process and all soy wax is blended with other various waxes to make it retain color and/or scent. It also takes a ton of pesticides to grow soy. All soy farmers grow the same small group of pesticide resistant GMO crops. When you buy any soy candle, this is what you are getting. Now, I would rather have soy than paraffin any day, but it is important to know what you are buying when you buy soy based candles. I now create my own, from scratch, coconut oil wax. I do not buy any premade coconut wax so that I can be sure I know what goes in.
Buying my essential oils and absolutes from reputable and local sources
This is big. You can buy essential oils from many, many sources. There are even Direct Marketing companies that sell EO's and Oil Blends. Essential Oils are NOT created equal. Many are adulterated (Lavender is the #1 oil that is adulterated so what you are getting is not 100 Lavender most of the time), many are not grown in sustainable ways. Here is where the supplier choice is very important: There are a small handful of people who know the Essential Oil business inside and out and I rely on their expertise to direct me to the best companies. Experts like John Steel (renowned Aromatherapist, author) or Christopher McMahon (of White Lotus) are some of the people I turn to to get the best oils for my candles and perfumes.
Organic and Local Grain Alcohol
Think your perfume base doesn't matter that much? It does. While it is great to learn the art of perfumery using a high proof vodka or a perfumer's alcohol from a perfume supply house; I don't recommend using this long-term. When Distilleries started popping up around Seattle, I took full advantage. Through another perfumer, I discovered a vodka distillery that would sell a high proof, organic alcohol to me. I love it. Not only does it support a local business, but it makes my blends more beautiful.
As we have access to more and more products, we have to make little changes in what we choose to buy and, if you are a maker/artisan, what you create.
Here are some other brands that I think are doing a phenomenal job of "conscientious creating":
LURK-They use organic and sustainable essences in all their beautiful, natural perfumes made in NY.
Velvet and Sweet Pea-They are a 100% cruelty free perfume brand (and one of my mentors/perfume idols). Laurie specializes in Natural Perfumes and the most amazing body butters I have ever tried.