Q & A :
Welcome to our Personality Spotlight, Dawn! Please tell us about yourself and how you became the woman you are today.
I’m a working mom, native Californian, raised in Orange County. I graduated High school by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin but waited years before I started college. I studied; art, web design, jewelry making, aromatherapy and I took some necessary computer classes to catch up on some badly needed sleep! I have always been in arts & crafts. I always kept my hands moving and my mind wandering. My son just turned 14 and will be starting high school next year. Like me, he’s addicted to video games but fortunately for me he is also interested in arts and crafts, so I can always count on his support in my endeavor. Trystan is a huge part of my life and a big reason I don’t do the 9 to 5 so I can spend more time with him. These days he’s into Taekwondo, he used to play soccer and took his team all the way to the All Stars last season. He’s a kind hearted boy who gives it his all no matter what he does. He took up playing the Yo-Yo and practiced with dedication and now he is able to do some amazing tricks with it and these are not your “walk the dog” or “over the moon” type tricks either. These are, as he says “hardcore-what-was-that” kind of tricks and I love watching him. Although he goes from one hobby to the next, I guess at this age it’s to be expected, but he will always makes me proud. I also work in Real Estate business; I help match beautiful people to beautiful homes. I started back in 05 and now work in the corporate office as well. I am now planning to get myself completely out of the daily grind and devote more attention to my pursuit of artisan perfumery.
Your company, Dawn to Dusk Botanicals, offers many gorgeous scent-related items that are so tempting! Please tell us how your interest in scent began and what inspired you to start your business.
I have always had a special love for scents, but a lot of the department store perfumes smelled the same on me! Naturally, I gravitated towards the less traditional perfumes and discovered, quite by accident, artisan perfumes. These very talented artists make all forms of sweet smelling concoctions; oils, tinctures, spritz and spray … and I simply loved them. I was inspired to make my own when I became aware of what actually goes in all the products we use. I began obsessed with the subject and started doing research. For me and my family’s sake, I made a conscious effort to stop using nasty chemicals and additives in things we used and the foods we ate.
Are there any books or classes that influenced you that you'd like to share?
When I decided to make botanical perfumes and beauty products, I was recommended an amazing book, “Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking” by David Bayles and Ted Orlan. This is a must-read for anyone venturing the field of making art for a living. Another book that was recommended is called “The Creative Entrepreneur” by Lisa Sonora Beam. This book takes a hands-on approach to balancing your creative mind with sense of business.
What are your most popular products in your line and which are your own personal favorites?
My most popular massage oil is called “Flower Moon”. It has the essence of eight different flowers; most of which have aphrodisiac qualities. I have a client that raves about it in detail ;). Another of my popular scents is “Ancient Woods” I use it in the massage oils as well as the perfumes. It mostly contains a variety of Sandalwoods & Cedarwoods with my own blend of vanilla and the scent is soft and sweet; It is one of my personal favorites. Another popular perfume is “Ambrozia”. It’s Jasmine, Citrus and Vanilla. It’s almost like a creamsickle; very tempting. But my up and coming star and my favorite is actually in my Men’s line, I call it “Atticus”. This concoction was a custom perfume I made for someone who wanted her husband to smell like Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I imagined him sipping on Earl Grey tea and reaching into an old cedarwood chest. I made a blend of Ambrette Seed (veggie musk), Earl Grey Tea (bergamot, Black Tea), Vanilla Bourbon, Benzoin, Tonka Bean, and a my special blend of woods to make a heavenly scent that any man or woman would love to wear.
Why does scent matter? How can we bring more scent into our lives?
Scent is one of the most important things to have in our lives. The core of our brain has a strong connection to the olfactory system. Smells can invoke deep and strong emotions in us and if the purpose of art is to stimulate the senses in order to get an emotional response, then I don’t think there is a better art form than perfumery. In addition, scents are an effective trigger for deep rooted memories. Have you ever walked down a street and a breeze brought you the smell of jasmine and it literally transported your mind to a place when you were 6 years old? This happens to me often and I simply love when it does; its time travel!
If you feel sad or distraught, try a little Jasmine Sambac or Ylang Ylang you will feel the difference right away. Say you are studying for an exam; try some Lemon essential oil in a spritzer, it will keep your nerves calm and your mind focused. When you need to relax and unwind, try some Lavender mixed with a drop of Clary Sage. I learned this the hard way, but I must caution you that Clary Sage can bring some vivid dreams and visions before sleep, so it’s not good for children, but Lavender is great by itself for kids.
Why did you choose to go all-natural with your scent-making and what other steps do you take in your life to make your daily life a more natural one?
I chose all natural ingredients because synthetic fragrances are made from chemicals in a lab and contain harmful preservatives, which our bodies don’t know how to process, so they get stored in our bodies only to play havoc with our internal organs and our systems; like the endocrine system which, especially for women, negatively affects estrogen levels. It is just not good for us and can also cause cancer. We live in a world where it seems everything harms our health or causes cancer so we need to take a stand on not putting these things on and in our bodies and our children’s bodies.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to get into an all-natural beauty or scent-related business? What mistakes have you made that taught you the most?
My advice to a novice would be to find a reliable supply source for your essential oils. You should always verify when someone claims something to be organic. I have made some mistakes in the past, but as I got more familiar with scents, textures and consistencies of these precious oils I was able to determine which products were authentic and which weren’t. For example, know that botanical oil scents are way different. You will know it’s not real when something smells too “perfumy”. This is a process so don’t expect everything to fit and work seamlessly, allow yourself to make the mistakes … as long as you learn from them! Hard work and dedication always pay off in the end. Another mistake that I keep making is changing things around. The other aspect of this process is that things keep changing and as long as they are improving, embrace the change. I have, so far, changed my labels and packaging 3 times and I am working on improving what I have now. For me, this makes sure my creativity doesn’t hit a wall; it’s what keeps me going.
What direction do you see your company heading into in the future?
I see my business expanding. I have started participating in local craft fairs; it is a great way to get exposure and feedback from consumers. I will be attending my second fair on the 11th of June. I am so excited about my new venture and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. Admittedly, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to start a business and even more to make it successful because people don’t come to you; you have to go and find them. So just get out there and get in front of people.
What do you do for fun (besides coming up with unique and wonderful scents!)?
Coming up with new scents is my favorite pastime, but nothing’s more fun for me than hanging out with my son, Trystan. We both love spending time with our family and friends. When it’s mom time, however, I really enjoy watching friends’ bands play. There is a vibrant community in Long Beach, where most of my friends reside. I usually go and support when they are playing at small venues. I take pictures and post them online where we can all enjoy them. I avidly do yoga it helps me stay focused and relaxed, I love running and I do it most days of the week as well. It also keeps my head clear for new ideas.
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