A few of you have asked me if I'm still doing wedding invitations. And the answer is YES. Weddings are the heart of my business, what got me started 13 years ago. But there is a deeper reason I create wedding invitations. About 6 years back, before the struggle of what to create next, I had reorganized my business to define its values. This was mainly an internal process, but it was essential in helping me make decisions. As a creative person, luckily, but also sometimes, a distraction, ideas are always coming. New directions, products, etc. But not all of them are worth time, effort or energy (silk screened underwear? um, no), so I had to develop a system to decide where they fit in to Sarah Drake Design.
Taking a day to get them out, I wrote all of the ideas on tiny pieces of colored paper and stared at them for awhile, realizing that they fell into three groups, and reorganized them into post-its into 3 different colors.
(the blurred ones are projects to come, you'll have to wait for those!)
The three categories they fell into became my company values: Connection, Craftsmanship, Growth. I see them as stages. The first being Why-Connection. It's all I really want to do - connect you to places, people, our pasts and memories. I do that by creating products that connect people to each other (wedding invitations), their history and families (crests and monograms), and their homes (china, linen).
Second is How - Craftsmanship, how they translate into products you can see, feel, use and connect with. Third - Growth. How to grow with these ideas for a sustainable long term business.
Since my "why" is connection, it totally made sense three years ago, sitting on the beach, journaling furiously about what was next for my business and I heard "scent" it only took me a minute to see how it would work as the next product for my business. Scent is a strong connection to people, places, our memories and our pasts.
Have you ever caught a whiff of a strangers perfume walking down a crowded street and suddenly you're transported back to that first slow dance with your high school crush? Or you're driving home from the beach, windows open and you're back in your grandmother's rose garden, listening to her instruct you how best to prune the roses? Or you pass by a restaurant and the scent of garlic fondly reminds you of your mom's famous garlic bread and takes you back to those family bbqs, surrounded by friends and family.
That's why I knew I had to make the scent for 735 Flora Vista. My contribution. It had to connect you to the people of El Salvador.
I had only my precious half ounce oils from France, and loved mixing and recording the combinations I made in my notebook, noticing how galbanum overtook everything, and geranium was too strong. I took my little vials everywhere I went, noting the preferences of anyone who would smell them. And finally landed on the right combination to connect you to El Salvador: The warm honeyed scent of the golden trumpet that grows everywhere (mimosa), the fresh white flower of gardenia (jasmine) and the crisp spiciness to give it a complexity and edge (neroli). The hibiscus and honey also add a bit to the scent, rounding out the smell to a fresh floral, light and subtle on your skin.
Finding the oils here to recreate the scent in mass proved to be a weeks long process. Who knew there were three different types of jasmine and gardenia oil doesn't smell like gardenia? My collection of scents was growing by the day as I ordered little vials to find the right honey smell to bring you to El Salvador. Turns out the scent I was searching for wasn't honey at all, but acacia. This process was fun and frustrating at times, trial and error, and I picked up fun scents along the way, grapefruit and seaweed, sandalwood and bergamot.
Because the scent is crafted from natural ingredients, it doesn't stay on your skin all day like an eau de parfum would. (alcohol is added to those to aid longevity) It's designed to transport you during your moment of connection in the mirror, during your skincare routine, and moments after; up to an hour if you don't layer other products on top of it.
When you pick up your bottle of 735 Flora Vista , I'd love to hear if the scent connects you to the people of El Salvador, or maybe something or somewhere else?