Question & Answer

I’ve seen people sell naturals for way less – why are your products more expensive?

Question: I’ve seen people sell naturals for way less – why are your products more expensive?

They’re not.

I’ve seen some well-known shops charge very low rates for delicious sounding perfumes like “Gardenia” and it infuriates me. Not because of the rate, but because they are obviously selling synthetic aromas under the guise of natural. Gardenia is a good example because it is such a complicated scent to achieve in natural perfumery; it requires a lot of enfleurage work, this means it needs many pounds worth of flowers to produce even a small vial of the essence, not to mention the labor involved. That brings the cost to several hundred dollars for a tiny vial; not something so low as $14 for a 0.35 (10 ml) vial of perfume. It is unrealistic in the current world to produce natural gardenia scents and certainly unrealistic for the commercial market. I have faith that many of these sellers do not know much about perfume or ingredients and are buying “essential oils” from unscrupulous sellers. I do not think they are purposely misleading folks, but it still gets me so fired up. However, if people enjoy their scents for what they are and do not care that they are synthetic, that’s absolutely fine. It is the misinformation that some shops spread (likely unknowingly) that bothers me through and through.

Natural perfumes are not expensive, however, they aren’t inexpensive either. Natural ingredients are costly because they are time-consuming to produce. I grow Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) and it is a beautiful plant; but it takes time to grow, dry and then infuse or otherwise extract its essence. A lot of time – it doesn’t matter if you buy it from a company or make it yourself. I do it because I personally need to have that connection with dirt and plants that I receive not just from growing but from manipulating the output. I love that time spent; I love the crafting of essences into a fragrance blend and seeing how it dances with different notes. However, that entire process takes years. Not days. And it contributes to the overall cost. Natural perfumery, for all its blessings, is not a high margin business.

Natural ingredients require time to extract as well as mature, and their fleeting nature makes them all the more magical. There’s really no substitute to their qualities, and those qualities are worth paying for. 

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