Before I began I knew I needed to have some raw materials and spendt untold hours deciding which ones to get first. I found some great starter lists, such as Chris Bartlett’s list of important synthetics and naturals that he believes is a good starting place. Most of what he suggested I did add to my own starter list. Then of course there are so many suggestions offered by the members of Basenotes DIY forum like this one. The answer is first decide on what approach you want to take… slow and steady or full immersion? I, true to my nature, opted for the full immersion approach and after much hand-wringing about whether to invest in naturals or synthetics finally settled on a list (I’ll post it as a link to a PDF tomorrow). There are many places online that sell beginner kits like Perfumer’s Apprentice in the States or Olfactik here in Europe; these are great starting places.
How much to budget for in the beginning? This was answered for me when my husband, who I will refer to henceforth as LV, offered to get me a new iMac for my birthday last year and seeing as we already had a (dying) PC I chose to forego on the new computer and use the funds for a start up kit instead. So opportunities are everywhere to follow our dreams.
I can’t remember where I read this anymore but it strikes me as a fundamental part of making great perfume, start with the best: no matter what the budget, whether we have $100 or $1,000 to invest, start with the very best raw materials money can buy. If that means we end up starting off with 10 essential oils instead of 50 then so be it. I’ve kind of adopted it as my purchasing mantra and whenever I have to drop something from my list because of budget constraints I console myself knowing that the ones I did choose to buy are the best quality I could source at the time.
In the end what ended up in my organ, before I started training my nose, was a mix of months of research and personal preference, what I feel really drawn to, what speaks to me. And as I grow in this craft others call me to them for exploration – and of course I will answer.