what’s the hurry?


Today’s quote isn’t really a quote per se, it’s more of an observation and a continuing question to myself…what’s the hurry? Where’s the fire? Where’s the race to finish learning perfumery and start selling perfumes to the public?

I have to ask myself this as a way to keep grounded and keep things real whenever I spend too much time online in my favourite perfume DIY forum, on Facebook pages or websites of perfumers that are already out there in the marketplace with 3 or 4 perfumes under their belt and here I am almost 3 years into it and still learning my materials, still working on accords, still no where.

Well that’s the B.S. I tell myself before I slap myself with an imaginary wet towel (followed by a nice hug and a warm kiss, of course) and remind myself that this is not a race…not even with myself. So stop the nonsense.

When did “make-money-doing-what-you-love-as-fast-as-you-can” become the ultimate goal for creatives? Why isn’t it just okay to be doing what you love? Why isn’t it okay to just create? Period. End of story.

I love to watch other artisan perfumers getting recognition and making money doing what they love to do. I love to cheerlead! But more often than not there is also an overwhelming sense that where I am, what I am, is never and will never be enough because I’ll just never catch up.  Hrmph! Shoulders slump, dejection sets in and I begin to wallow.

And so, for the last time, when I came out of this mist I told myself, that’s it. Maxine, the reality is you do not need to make money with perfumery to make ends meet, which is a most fortunate position to be in. Allow money to come into your life from wherever it comes from (currently from teaching) and do what you love to do. This moment is a gift. You have been given the gift of being able to study the things you’ve always wanted to learn with no pressure to earn a living at it.

Yes. Last week I gave myself a good talking to about what I should be doing and I took the words business and sales off the table indefinitely where it comes to perfume making. No. I have nothing against making money, on the contrary, I’m a firm believer in healthy capitalism. But. Pronouncing those words at such an early stage of learning adds a level of complexity and anxiety that is not conducive to learning for me. I recognise we’re all at different stages and that’s okay — there are classmates of mine that are already making money with their perfumery education and they are a great inspiration for me. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where I should be now or should be heading.

I breathed a wonderful sigh of relief as my heart settled down into a new space. Ahhhh! I may never end up seeing my perfumes for sale at LuckyScent, I may spend a lifetime making perfumes only for me, my family, friends and some private clients and, hey, that’s okay. For the moment I love writing this blog, developing it and helping others learn about the art and joy of perfume making!

Have a wonderful Monday and see you Wednesday for a profile on Ho Wood essential oil.



Image credit: Watercolor Texture Frost by Aurora Wienhold



mind the gap

Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry

Today’s image is a group of chemistry components. Ugh!

This is what I’m putting myself through to learn the art of perfume design and construction. It’s called love, folks.  What else would make me jump head first into a subject I have always detested and never was any good at? Or such was the tale I told myself. The sciences, but you might as well add maths to that too, could very well have been another planet to me. Just the thought of it would make me break out in a sweat. And yet…here I am, learning it. This time with a completely different state of mind. Why?

The pre-requisite for this Chemistry of Essential Oils course that I’m taking online is a basic knowledge of chemistry. Chemistry is an important part of perfume creation and strangely enough it’s the way I’m gravitating to naturally in combining my notes, so obviously I can’t be that bad at it.

But, like I said, I basically cancelled every trace of this from my memory the moment I got out of high school. But the gap (mine was more like a void) that not having at least a basic appreciation of the sciences nor a significant level of confidence in mathematics does, I have come to understand and admit, create fear and a lack of confidence that  as time goes by will, and left unfilled, will tend to infect other areas of our life, creating a serious obstacle to success. That could be said of anything really, reading, writing, maths, sciences; any of the basic, fundamental subjects that make up our formal education.  This is because leaving any hole in our understanding limits our success and by hole I mean subjects that leave us scratching our head going, huh? Subjects that we shrug off by saying “so what, I’m just not good at that, it’s not my strength”, but moving on anyway to the next level without truly getting it. In doing so we do ourselves a grave disservice; we leave parts of ourselves under nourished and ignored.

So many times I would literally freeze, internally freaking out when I had to give someone change and they would change up the amount.  I mean really?! This left a gap of me feeling stupid, but I’d erase it so fast I wouldn’t even realise I felt that way, but the gap would be there because whenever LV, who’s a whizz at maths, goes on and on about some simple math element in our daily routine my eyes glaze over and I feel myself slowly close up.  Not good.

Enter the science saviour – Salman Khan of the Khan Academy.

During the seven Basic Organic Chemistry Primer videos on YouTube (required viewing for the course) he gave me back my confidence in maths and sciences.  This man in 90 minutes made me realise that I can learn algebra and organic chemistry even at 47! He made me feel not stupid. He broke everything down into very understandable pieces.  I highly recommend it to anyone struggling with a math or science gap.

I adore foreign languages and have come to learn that maths is a language just as valid as any other foreign language and just as necessary to communicate with others.

I have also learned to love myself anyway in spite of and because of my gaps. Many I will attempt to fill, some I just won’t get, but as I resolve every blank I gain in strength and ability and improve my level of success in life.  And, since I define success as my ability to flow with life, anything that blocks this flow blocks my success. But, honestly, as I fill in the blanks of ignorance I lose my fear and gain an enormous sense of freedom.

Have a wonder-filled day!                                                                                            – M