By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
I’ve been working to integrate the “Shop Local” philosophy into my life. That means buying fruits, vegetables and meats from local farmers. I buy soaps and body products from local makers. And, if I must buy big brands, I buy them from locally owned stores.
When I travel I bring home souvenirs that were made locally. When I can’t “shop local” I shop “independent.” By that I mean, a maker, crafts-person, artist. Think art festivals. Think etsy.com.
Working to be socially responsible and sustainable can be consuming, but it helps me move thoughtfully through my world.
Recently, I stumbled on a cologne – Ondine — created by William Varney, owner of URBANHerbal in Fredericksburg, Texas. He mixes mandarin, grapefruit, lemon, bergamot, ylang ylang, Turkish rose, geranium, vetiver, carrot seeds, nutmeg, apricot, cloves, cedar, and musk.
How do you buy cologne without sampling it? Read the description? Varney’s description was flowery, nearly over the top, so I approached it with caution. I’m also cautious because most perfumes smell like baby powder or soap when they dry on my skin.
One spritz and I found Ondine has a head layer of floral, heart of spice and closing note of fresh citrus-cedar. It’s complex and clean. And, it just may become my new, signature scent.
Ondine opened a door for me. Previously, I had thought fragrance was the playing field of professional chemists and the French. But, anyone with a few key ingredients could dabble. Or at least try.
Varney took a scientific path before entering the retail marketplace. “Years ago, I realized I needed to learn more about cologne. So, I hired a retired chemist, put him up for two weeks in a B&B that I owned. He stayed and we worked every day on different products. I had a big notebook. I kept figuring things out. It’s a matter of learning what goes together.”
That in mind my fingers chattered over to etsy.com to see what other makers had put together. More than 1,250 entries popped up after a search for “handmade women’s cologne” in the bath and body category. Descriptions varied.
Varney and etsy have inspired me. Now, I can’t decide if I should order samples or start mixing essential oils. Then, again, I don’t need more cologne. Ondine is enough. For now.
William Varney’s URBANHerbal, 407 Whitney Street, Fredericksburg, Texas, 78624, is a business member of The Herb Society of America. The company operates a gift shop, cooking school, greenhouse and garden and provides unique herbal products for cooking, personal care and medicinal uses.