This Week in the Twinkle Studio (5/20/23)
Another week gone, already?! Time flies when you're supplying the world with beautiful skin and body love. Here are the highlights from my week at Twinkle Apothecary.
Unbranded stickers are out, new labels (and new vibe) are here for good!
I have one more product to label and photograph (shimmer powders!) then my makeover will be complete. (For now!) I'm kidding - I plan to keep this look for a while so you'd better get used to it!
I'd been feeling like Twinkle Apothecary needed a change for a loooooonnnng time, and last summer I even hired designers to help me with a total re-brand.
Well, somehow summer turned into winter, and moving so slowly when I'm ready to change is simply not how I roll, so I scrapped the professional rebrand and went with "unbranded" stickers because I was just so anxious to share my new products with you already!
I had a lot of fun with the "unbrand" and, side note - I highly suggest giving yourself an excuse to play with stickers at work whenever you can - but once the dust of this crazy year settled and I found myself in a new location with a fresh perspective on what I want Twinkle Apothecary to be, I realized that I still had a hankering to finish the rebrand that I really had in mind.
Only - I think I couldn't know what I was going for until I got here.
Does that make sense?
I mean that Twinkle Apothecary had to try on a lot of hats to find its place in the world. I didn't come into this work as someone who thought of themselves as an artisan or a designer, or a master perfumer - when I started Twinkle Apothecary I had no skills. I had an idea, and an intuitive kind of knowing that this was something I needed to do, but otherwise I was basically flying by the seat of my pants. Was it going to be a "startup" where I'd eventually outsource the production and scale? Was it going to be a local boutique? Was it going to be a national chain? Was it going to be a complete failure? I had no idea. I was just going with it.
As the years went on, I realized that I had fallen deeply in love with my craft. Being a maker is now a big part of my identity, and I never want to give that up. I also don't want to outsource production or scale because I think the handmade aspect of my products is a big part of what makes them special. And, my minimal approach to skincare doesn't exactly align with the industry's approach to constantly pushing new and "improved" products into the world. For a long time, I felt stuck. I didn't want to be a part of the noise, but I didn't want to stop offering what I have to share with you either. I just wasn't sure how to describe what my business was anymore!
As sad as it was to close my local shop this spring, moving my work into my home feels right. Twinkle Apothecary makes more sense this way. I think this move allowed my creativity to resurface, and the ideas finally started flowing again!
So I came up with the tag line:
Lo-fi Beauty for Modern Humans
Lo-fi (fidelity) is a music term - it describes a production quality where imperfections are left in on purpose as a stylistic choice, but I think it also applies to what I do here. There's a raw quality to truly natural products and fragrances that I find very beautiful and healing. (Because I think it allows room for people - faces, skin, bodies - to be raw too - not literally of course, but in an "embracing your own rough edges" kind of way.) My products are of the highest quality, but they're still real. From the earth, not a lab. There's nothing slick or overly polished about them, which I believe is part of what makes them so special.
I don't have plans to scale my production or have my products in every store, so these simple little labels are all one needs when shopping online. The QR code allows you to have easy access to the full product details and it saves me from printing another sheet of stickers with ingredients in print so tiny that you can barely read it anyway. I'm always looking for the most minimal approach, and while I realize that it's unconventional, this look checks my boxes for both functionality and whimsy!
Fun fact - a life goal of mine is to someday learn how to draw - eventually I'd like to make my own sketches for every product! But for now, I guess this clip art I pulled from Canva Pro will suffice...
So, even though I haven't had time to re-write all of my product pages yet, please ignore what it says about unbranded packaging. There are now official labels on everything by default. I mean, if you really want a fun sticker I do still have some, but otherwise there's no reason to leave a note with your order. Unless you just want to say hi! I do always love getting fun notes from you!
2. Nag Champa
Scent profile: floral, fruity, sweet, woody
Notes: lemon, red champaca, sandalwood, tonka bean
No one ordered a perfume from the archives this week (how dare you!) But no matter - I got to make a big batch of Nag Champa - this was the surprise scent for May!
My take on Nag Champa is a far cry from the ubiquitous incense. It's a very simple but lovely blend of champaca, lemon, sandalwood, and tonka bean.
Champaca is a variety of magnolia:
As you can see, it's different than the trees we have in this part of the country, but I think that the mellow, lemony, warm, buttery, almost hay-like floral fragrance is quite similar. This bright, sweet, warm perfume smells like a bottle of sunshine. Also, this was my first time making it into a spray, and can I just say: wowza.
You can order it from the perfume archives listing, here.
And you can sign up for the June Surprise Scent (a bright, fruity, floral that smells like a day by the pool!) here.
3. May Flowers Sample Pack
Contains samples of Rose, Nectar, Tropic Flora, and Jasmine Dirt. A $20 value for just $15, available only through the end of May!
I'm no longer offering store-wide or seasonal sales because they are VERY overwhelming for me and in this economy the last thing any of us needs to be doing is more work for less money, but I love the idea of offering special little limited edition treats for you throughout the seasons!
Now is the perfect time to play with adding a new floral scent to your rotation - if you haven't tried these yet, or just aren't sure that florals are for you, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised! There's nothing over-the-top, too sweet, or stuffy about these. That's the great thing about 100% natural fragrances - they are inherently fresh, dynamic, and easy to wear. So grab yourself a sample pack before the month is over, and I'll think of something new to surprise you with for June!
4. Crushed Tuberose: Coming Soon!
After almost 2 years, my next stand-alone fragrance is finally almost ready!
I've been putting the finishing touches on this one all week and I think it's just about there, so keep an eye out for the release... coming very soon (I hope!)
Perfumery is such a quiet, solitary practice that it's almost a let down when the scent is finished and the work is over because no one will ever know how much I've struggled to get it just right! So, I guess I'm gonna tell you now! Haha!
I have been working on this scent almost two years. There are pages and pages in my notebook where I thought I had it but it just wasn't right so I had to cross everything out and start over. I've gone through multiple bottles of floral absolutes - it's a stupidly expensive process. And, I'm not even sure why I feel compelled to do it! I only know that I am on some deep, primal level where words and labels and "whys" don't even seem to matter. (Although I guess if I had to name it I'd say that for me, it's a celebration of the beauty of the earth, and an acknowledgement of gratitude for my temporary existence on this wild and wondrous planet?)
The work is like putting together a puzzle, but one that's constantly evolving as my knowledge and toolbox and craft becomes stronger and more expansive. There's always more to explore with fragrance, and that's what I love about it. There's also no technical end - it just ends when I feel I've achieved what I'm going for.
So I'll tell you what I'm going for.
Twinkle Apothecary has SO many fragrance options - in the beginning, I tried to make something for everyone - and most people wanted something "fresh and clean." But personally, I'm not very excited by the idea of "fresh and clean." It seems so... boring? Puritanical? Apparently I'm a heathen who's much more interested in the rough, dirty, rich, earthy, luscious side of life. Perfume is just about the safest possible way to explore those ideas, but you know what I mean... maybe?
If you want something fresh and clean, I've got plenty of that for you in the perfume archives, and also with my simple single note perfumes and essential oil rollers - but my stand-alone fragrances - these are where I allow myself to let loose and play. This is where I put my best, most creative perfume ideas. I want each of them to be substantial and long wearing, complex, intriguing, unique, and over-the-top beautiful. And I'm not putting anything out there unless I truly feel that it's an example of my best work.
Quality over quantity!
With Crushed Tuberose (tbh I'm still working out the name) I wanted to make something unapologetically floral, rich, powdery, and sweet. But also fresh, modern, and wearable. Right now, I'm interested in finding my own balance of traditional "perfume-y" type smells that aren't stuffy or cloying. Like, I want lots of goujz but without the headaches. So it's been a process of pushing right up against the edge of "too much" and then pulling it back and finding that balance of wearability where nothing is actually too much, even if you think it might be at first sniff - it turns out to be just the right amount of luscious and luxurious. Never stuffy or sickening.
Up until now, I've only had one tuberose fragrance in my repertoire - tuberose vert - and it's always been a "someday" goal to make a fully fledged, full-on tuberose-forward perfume. But boy, is it a tricky ingredient to work with! Too much tuberose can really be too much, so it took me some time to find the right supporting ingredients that would still allow it to be the star of the show. I also wanted to avoid using citrus in the top notes, just as a personal creative challenge, because the usual lemon or grapefruit seemed too obvious and easy. So the top is very green and garden fresh... almost spicy... but it turns into something very luscious and sweet as it wears.
And that is where I will leave you for this week, as I've got some finishing touches to finalize! Thanks for checking in, and I'll see you back here soon!
- Stefanie -