There has been a lot of discussion lately in the private Guild Yahoo group, triggered by a member lamenting the fact that their perfumes were found to contain synthetics and the member balked at supplying the names of suppliers of the suspect materials. We’re trying to protect our art, not penalize members, in fact, quite the opposite, we’re trying to share our decades of experience to help them on the right path. This member is dedicated to natural perfumery, and no subterfuge was evident, but it has been in the past. The Guild wants to be able to stand between the perfumer and the government, and to do so we will need member’s cooperation. Between Elise, Chris and myself, we have about 60 years experience, and our noses “know” synths and we weed out submittals that contain them.
A perfumer from South Africa, where she is not allowed to call herself a natural perfumer due to strict regulations, posted a letter in support of the Guild’s efforts after this was brought up for discussion in the group.. She realizes the Guild is moving towards self-regulation to try to avoid overweening government interference in our businesses, and to allow us to become the first perfume organization to define what natural perfumery is. Here is Emily’s letter:
I am relatively new to the Guild, but I would just like to say a couple of things, in view of recent events.
I know is annoying being told what to do and how to do it but unfortunately regulation in the cosmetics industry seems to be the way the world is moving towards. I think in the USA you have all been sheltered from this to a certain extent as you don’t seem to have to deal with a lot of government regulations?
I believe Anya has all our best interests and the interest of Natural Perfumery at heart and is doing her best in a difficult time. She is also thinking of the whole world, not just the USA.
For example – I have looked into getting certified and it will cost me $4000.00 (US) a year, I will have my perfumery ‘audited’ with on site visits etc. One of the biggest cons of all time I believe as to be certified as natural you do not need a 100% natural perfume. Usually they accept 70% natural. BDIH certification* you only need to be 60% natural. To me this is not ethical, that a fragrance can be 40% synthetic and yet be certified by a third party company as natural. The Guild is going to the other extreme, there is no wiggle room. But surely this is a good thing?
I would much rather be a part of the guild, I love the sense of community and the sharing of knowledge.
Just my thoughts.
Best wishes everyone,
* Emily is referring here to a Guild perfumer who quit, saying she objected to the Guild’s self-regulation stance. For over a year, this perfumer has consistently posted long, detailed, seemingly-correct instructions on how to go forward with certification/self-regulation, etc. She is eloquent, and received several affirmative responses from members with no experience in the regulatory world, but sadly, she was wrong on just about all her suggestions. The BDIH comment by Emily gently corrected the other perfumer’s post about that BDIH was all we’d need. She also wrote me that getting certified organic means we’re natural. 100% incorrect, as were all the other agencies and organizations she boosted as meaningful.
Now, for a twist: educate yourselves on IFRA, EU COSMOS, Global Harmonization, Codex Alimentarius, REACH, etc. etc. You can find lots in my old blog site, and one of my more humorous takes on it all can be found here
today I’d like you to ask questions about suppliers. I have 37 years sourcing experience, originally taught by two retired salesmen from the perfume industry, having worked for Aromatics International for decades. They trained me to be a cynic about raw materials, since they saw all the chicanery first hand, and I remain one to this day. The herb and spice and aromatics businesses have been fraught with adulteration and fraud for centuries.
Want to share war stories of sourcing? I’d love to hear from you.
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The Natural Perfumery Institute and the Natural Perfumers Guild co-published a white paper on Proper pH for Accords, Perfumes, and Tinctures.
This is a helpful guide for artisan and independent perfumers, written to share chemical precautions to assist them in perfume production. The paper was co-authored by three NPI faculty members.
Perfumery Quotes - a delightful booklet to amuse and inspire.