What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Friday, June 24, 2016


July brings the sixth anniversary of Olympic Orchids Perfumes. It seems like only yesterday that we started out as a business, but as new artisan, indie and niche brands, along with mass-market “luxury” niche wannabe spinoffs, sprout up like mushrooms after a rain, it is starting to feel like we are suddenly one of the old, established owner-perfumer brands (I guess that’s analogous to singer-songwriter).

The year since our last anniversary has been quite eventful, with the launch of a popular new orchid fragrance, White Cattleya, a branching out to create a fragrance for another brand, resulting in my second Institute for Art and Olfaction Award for Zoologist Perfumes Bat, and a steady growth of our Olympic Orchids Perfumes business. We even have a new Instagram account, Olympic_Orchids_Perfume! I’m posting some sort of photo every day, trying to avoid being too “commercial” by mixing in interesting random photos like the baby seagulls that I showed yesterday, so check it out.

Because I’m planning all sorts of fun things to celebrate 6 years of perfume-making, I want to start early with a summer sale and a contest. The sale will be announced in the newsletter, on our Facebook page, Twitter, and wherever else seems appropriate. It will start with a 20% discount that starts now and runs until July 6 (code = SIXYEARS1), 15% until July 16 (SIXYEARS2), and 10% until the end of July (SIXYEARS3). This means that those who see the announcements early will get the best discounts, but even those who are as out of touch as I usually am will still get a break on prices. The codes are the same on the Flagship Store and the Original Boutique. I used this method on my orchid nursery website (10 years in June!) and it seems to have worked well.

The other thing I want to do is sponsor two different  photo contests. The first one will be a “product glamour shot” contest. For this contest, anyone who owns any size Olympic Orchids fragrance is invited to take a photo of it in some sort of interesting and appropriate setting. Photos can be submitted via e-mail attachment (olympicorchids at gmail dot com) or Facebook message upload.  Full instructions will be forthcoming this weekend, so start thinking about what kind of visual setting you might use for your Olympic Orchids fragrances, or just go ahead, take some photos, and submit now! Winners will receive a voucher for their choice of a full bottle or discovery set of their choice. Photos will be displayed on the website home page, with your photo credit.

I have relatively few commitments during the month of July, so I’m looking forward to having a lot of time to work and play in the perfume studio!

[Cake photo greatly modified from Wikimedia; shop display photo straight from Wikimedia, baby seagulls photo is mine; Woodcut bottle by Antonia Kohl] 


  1. Hi Ellen,
    Two Happy Birthdays to you! Congratulations on both.
    Re photos: I wish I would have had a camera with me the other day when Fender and I encountered 20 or so baby quail (all in one place) while we were out on our daily walk. They were beyond cute!

    1. Gail, baby quail really are cute! We have had a family of California quail living around here, too, and they would come by with their babies from time to time. I haven't seen them this year, though. Get your camera (or phone) out!

  2. Congratulations! I read that most indie brands only last a year or so; therefore you are an established artisan and then some. Most don't realize the intense work that goes with the artistic vision to make a small artisan business grow and thrive. It is intense! I will happily try a few photos, you've got me thinking of some good backgrounds. Have a great weekend!

    1. Marla, I don't doubt that most indie brands last less than a year because it is so much work and requires several years investment before it starts to pay off. I see a lot of people with unrealistic expectations, too, which doesn't help matters. I look forward to seeing your photos!!