Saturday, October 31, 2009

Synthetic scents and marketing

I'm remembering a small town in Colorado during our recent trip west. One of the things we did upon occasion was drop in on businesses that just seemed interesting. Sometimes left samples, sometimes a 'finished product', sometimes an autographed copy of my book. "Marketing visits"

There was a charming little shop on a charming little Main Street. The signs out front advertised "Handmade Soaps and Toiletries." Oh, wow. Of course we had to visit!

Walked into a delightful shop. Packaging was attractive, nice range of products. The bell on the door rang as I opened it, and the resident soapmaker, complete with long apron and elbow length gloves came out from the back.

Unfortunately, I was headed for the door as she arrived. Not sure what fragrances she was using in her products, but I could feel an asthma attack coming on. My throat and chest were closing up, going into a spasm, and I knew if I didn't get out of there we would be headed to the ER.

I apologized to her, said that I couldn't BREATHE in there. She nodded understandingly. I forget her comment; but it was clear that I was not the first person to react that way to her shop. She was familiar with the reaction.

That struck me as so sad. Now, I have topical reactions to many of our Essential Oils...I've managed to develop Multiple chemical Sensitivity because of unwise use of undiluted oils decades ago. But I never have respiratory problems from exposure to pure, natural aromatics. (One possible exception...there is a "Bishop" in Greenland who insists on mailing us incense that he makes. We no longer allow his "gifts" in the building!)
But that only makes me question his ingredients.

This woman is devoting her life to creating her products. Her shop is charming, her products visually appealing. How much better they would be if she used pure essential oils to fragrance them? I know had I been able to stay, visit, and talk soapmaking I would have been a customer.

At the recent AIA convention, Debbie Freund gave a wonderful moving presentation on Olfaction. One of the points she made was how the toxins in our environment affect our blood chemistry, and she referenced the rising tide of diseases that, evidence shows, may be tied to the overload of synthetic scents that surround us. Our bodies are made to co-exist with natural aromas, not with synthetics. I remember that presentation while remembering the charming little shop I couldn't visit.

4 comments:

Susan said...

I suffer from a severe copd. I cannot even go near purfumes of any sort, I have been in the er many times with a tube down my throat because I could not breathe on my own. I did not realize any of this until I read your blog. I have just started using essential oils and have been very leary on what to try.. Thank you for the infomation

Marge said...

And you should be very cautious with pure botanicals as well, Susan. A person CAN react badly to any aromatic, natural or not. But after awhile you'll learn what tends to give you problems. For example, I have a dear friend who can't use any of the "floral" oils..no rose, jasmine, or even Lavender for her. But she does wonderfully with the herbs, the woods, citrus, etc. It's just realizing what you can and can't tolerate.

Marge said...

And you should be very cautious with pure botanicals as well, Susan. A person CAN react badly to any aromatic, natural or not. But after awhile you'll learn what tends to give you problems. For example, I have a dear friend who can't use any of the "floral" oils..no rose, jasmine, or even Lavender for her. But she does wonderfully with the herbs, the woods, citrus, etc. It's just realizing what you can and can't tolerate.

Marge said...

and why on earth did Blogger stutter that comment?