So apparently scammers on Amazon sell my stuff?

I was alerted to a shop on Amazon (I'm not going to link because why give them more attention) that is selling my three perfume sample pack for $27. That's triple what I charge, but more importantly, they did this without my permission. No heads up. Just straight up took my work and put it on their site. That is all kinds of effed up. 

The moral of this story is there are three places you can buy Sweet Tea Apothecary perfume: my Etsy shop, my website, or me in person at a craft show. Anywhere else online is a scam.

So You Wanna Start an Etsy Shop?

I have several friends who have been interested in starting their own Etsy shop or just an online business in general. I'm the only one of my friends, that I know about at least, who has gone this route so they generally come to me. I also on occasion will get an Etsy convo from someone interested in starting up shop. I'm always happy to give business advice because it's fun and interesting. I don't generally respond to competitor inquiries (from people I don't know) of where I get my wholesale perfume materials because 1. Come on really? Trade secrets yo. And 2. LMGTFY (check out the post on Making Your Own Perfume Oil if you need materials recommendations for diy perfume).

This post is for you if you're a maker who is serious about being successful at Etsy or an online business in general. Which is to say that you are ready to put in a lot of work. I say that because not everyone I know who has tried has really stuck with it. Everything on Etsy, that you see on Pinterest or blogs anyway, is just so pretty and it's easy as putting your stuff up and then shoppers just come by right? WRONG. It takes A LOT of work and a longish amount of time (but that's dependent on time put in, quality of product/photos, word of mouth, and LUCK).

So here's my personal story of how I made it work. This was in 2012 however so keep in mind that social networks change in terms of popularity and usefulness (Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo, and I'm sure there's more I don't even know about) so make sure you do research on what the technology trends are.

First things first: I'm assuming you have a product you are good at making and you're ready to start selling. You have to get a business license to sell your products. Some sellers don't do this. It's illegal. Don't play that game. Generally you have to register your business with your state and city. Cities have various processes so make sure you research that. Washington state and Seattle are awwwesooommmme because everything is online and it's really easy. When I had to do this in California it was a pain because I had to visit various offices to get things signed and it just seemed pointless and not suited to an internet business. Hopefully that has changed. Anyway, get that license. How tax works with online shops: you charge sales tax only to the residents in your state (for now). You have to make sure that each city is accounted for separately. Example, Seattle is 9.5%, Spokane is 8.7%. Etsy and other commerce sites make it easy to put that information in and the really good ones populate it for you, but at the end of the year you have to make sure that you're submitting the right amounts to your state. So long as you make under 20k through Etsy Checkout or through 20k through Paypal you don't have to file any separate tax paperwork, just your regular tax forms.

(The rest of this post is copy and pasted from two emails I sent to a friend)

1. Look up your competition. Read all of their policies, see how much they charge, check the keywords they use in their listings, look at their pictures, check out their websites/fb pages/twitter etc. This is a good way to figure out what your shop policies are/what you need to do in your shop to be competitive.

2. Branding - Shop name, logo, about story, packaging, photos. You want to create a consistent look. To start your shop you absolutely need the name (decide before you put it in Etsy because you only get to change it once without them being jerks about it) and a nice looking shop banner. I also recommend snagging your domain name. It's really cheap maybe $8 for a year. You don't need to start a personal website right away, just make sure you have it squared away for when you are ready. Think about the presentation of sold items. I have muslin bags that I stamp my logo on and tie with a matching ribbon. I include a business card and when I was starting, a coupon for 10% off future orders. Think about how people you've bought from on Etsy package their stuff and figure out what you'd like to do.
3. Start sourcing all of your materials - yarn, packaging, mailing envelopes, cards etc. This is important because you want to make sure that you're getting a good price (you'll find over time that there are certain vendors you always go back to). Evolving process.
4. Figure out pricing. You need to think about the cost of materials, the time it takes you to make things, shipping costs, packaging costs, and how much you want to pay yourself for your work. Right now, my prices are what I found to be the mid-range for perfume on Etsy but I'm probably going to increase soon (already happened) because of demand. Figure out what you'll use for mailing. I like USPS because its the cheapest for lightweight packages or even if you use the flat rate boxes. You can also buy them straight through Etsy which gives you free delivery confirmation/tracking thru Etsy...this is super important. A person who had never used Etsy before put her wrong address in and instead of telling me that she didnt get her package opened up a case against me. Etsy immediately dismissed it because the tracking and shipping info was already in their system.
5. Marketing plan. Etsy is REALLY saturated by sellers. You need to make sure that not only does your branding look set you apart, but you have to be good at SEO (search engine optimization) cross linking etc. You need to have a Facebook, Twitter, and personal blog at bare minimum. When I started shop, I was only tutoring so I had a lot of time to devote to all this stuff. I had a routine of posting my listings on FB/Twitter everyday. I joined Etsy teams and wrote all over them with links to my shop. I posted on my blog everyday - tutorials are big and get you lots of traffic. Pinterest and Wanelo were kind of a waste of time. I use FB to get messages out to people but I'd say Twitter and my blog are best for driving traffic (this is no longer the case. Facebook has grown substantially and is amazing for building fan networks). Eventually you want to start getting your stuff reviewed on other blogs as well. Now, I dont spend anywhere near as much time doing that stuff because I have enough traffic, but my next step is getting out to other blogs and starting a personal website with ecommerce options so I can move off Etsy (more on that later, Etsy is the best starting point but you outgrow it). (I've done this, this email is old)
So that's what you need to plan/research for. Here's what you should have input into Etsy before you open:
Make all your listings. Make sure you have good photos (this is my biggest problem I'm terrible at photography and can't afford a photographer yet), a very detailed description with measurements etc. Keywords (steal keywords from competition or start typing stuff in the search bar for ideas).
All of your policies. How much time you need, do you accept custom requests, what forms of payment do you accept, who you use for shipping, return/refund policy. People are notoriously bad about reading policies but its a CYA situation.
Find teams to join on Etsy. Usually new person teams, teams for liking Facebook/twitter/blog pages, new listing teams. I joined a bunch and posted in their forums everyday for a few months which got me some momentum. The only thing is that its sellers not buyers bumping you...but every favorite means it goes out to their circle so other people end up seeing it too. That said, click on the people who favorite your competition and add as many of them as you can to your circle. This makes them wonder who you are so they look at your stuff. I got a lot of my initial sales that way.
Sales and frequency of re-listing gets you to the top of searches/pages so the more sales you get the better you do. The more feedback you have, the easier you get sales. Re-listing is super annoying but in the first few months you want to relist at least 1 item per day. They charge you 20 cents per listing which is not bad when you're starting out but when you start to make lots of sales it starts to become a burden. Once you're making sales you naturally re-list when things sell instead of just doing it to game the system.
I think that's good for now. It's a lot of trial and error and finding what works for you.
Part II

Let's see, for advertising I'd say a mix of the following:

1. Try the Etsy ads for a month or so. I didn't see a lot of orders from the ads but it's good to be at the top of a category for a few weeks so people start to see your shop. I wouldn't do it long term, just a good way to start. And only ever spend $5-10 on a campaign. Update on Facebook ads: So after I posted this, a friend of mine sent me a video with some really troubling info about Facebook ads. The gist of it is that Facebook has a click farm problem and paying for ads there are not worth it in terms of engagement. As such I'm no longer going to recommend purchasing ads on there. I have had some success with post boosts but I only use them when I have sales and spend about $5. I target those to people who already like my page however. So if you do decide to purchase ads on FB first, watch the video, and second make sure that you only spend small amounts. Be cautious. Watch the video on Youtube.

2. The biggest thing that helped me was joining teams and writing/linking in the forums. I did that every day for about two months and it got me lots of views/hearts.

3. Join a BNR/BNS group!! This also helped. I did this a few times over the course of a month and it really jumpstarted sales for me. BNR means buy and replace and BNS means buy and stay. Basically, a team will set up a treasury board with items from different stores who "buy in." So you buy something from another shop (they usually have a $3 minimum) and that gets you on the board. If it's a buy and replace you are taken off the board once you've made a sale. If its a buy and stay you get to stay on the board and make more sales. This really helps in the initial stages because it's giving you a higher sales number which helps people trust you more and also since its all Etsy sellers, they'll leave you good/constructive feedback. Once you have a few feedbacks, the sales become more regular. This works well if you have some lower priced items. I found this to be more effective than advertising so used my advertising budget on this as opposed to ads. I think this method is also great because even though you're gaming the system, you're learning how to be a seller in a safe space - meaning people will give you helpful feedback about your packaging/policies/timeliness etc. on the group page, great learning method.

4. Blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Do free tutorials on your blog - that gets me big amounts of traffic because I have ones on how to make perfume, eau de parfum, solid perfume and floral water. That gets lots of people to my shop. Twitter is great for new items and for sales if you mark #etsy. Facebook is so so until you get a good audience which takes time. I think it's good to have to put pics up and such but it's harder to get followers. Twitter has been better for me anyway. (Instagram is starting to be important for me)

My situation was a little different just because we moved to Seattle and I didn't have a job yet so I had a lot of time to dedicate to starting. It took me about 2-3 months to start seeing regular sales. Since it's been steady and I'm pregnant anyway I just work on that and do freelance stuff now.

But if you make time to do all of those things that should help! Some smaller, lower priced items also gets people into your shop to make the first initial sales.

Ok folks! Those are the basics for starting your shop. Coming soon: blog posts about marketing strategy and e-commerce sites once you're ready to move off Etsy. Feel free to ask questions, I enjoy this topic and it is constantly evolving.

The Half Off Sale Hath Commenced

As promised all my perfumes are on sale for half off before I start using new bottles and labels (for all the writers and unisex options). There's a few solid perfumes left and about 18 bottles of 5ml Dead Writers. Also of note, all the bottles of Thoreau are the only ones available forevermore (you've been EAP'd). This is all happening in my Etsy shop as opposed to my regular website because it's easier to set up a sale on Etsy. Sample options will return to Etsy when the sale is over, however you can still get samples at sweetteaapothecary.com Anywho, if you've been waiting for price drops, now's the time! Etsy Sale

Perfume Purge! 25% off in my Etsy Shop

I am hitting the road for craft shows and holiday travel. In the last week I've sold out of almost everything I had left. There's a few stragglers that haven't sold yet, and rather than let them collect dust while I'm gone (til January 5!), I'm offering 25% off! I've got a couple each of the following: Antoinette Boleyn Clara Dharma Bum Georgiana Victoria Maynard Pamplemousse Remy Thoreau

I'm closing shop on Tuesday, December 10 at 10am. Help me get rid of these before then! Click here for the sale.

EtsyRain Handmade Holiday Show Link Love

This weekend I participated in my second EtsyRain Handmade Holiday Show. I learned a lot last year and felt my display this year was much tighter, more professional...and pretty! I got so many great compliments on my display and on all my perfumes. The big sellers this year were Dead Writers (of course), Dharma Bum (I knew it would because it's one of my best), Lenore, Boleyn, Clara, and Pamplemousse. Pamplemousse and Clara were last year's favorites so I'm happy to see the newbies doing so well, means I'm evolving yay! Here's the display: sweet tea apothecary at etsyrain 2013

Now for my favorite vendors at the show! Please be sure to check out their shops, they are amazingly high quality and perfect for gifts...or for yourself.

Hasenpfeffer This shop was right next to me and all weekend, delighted children (and adults!) would literally run up and grab the toys off their ladder shelf and hug them. They make gorgeous, intricate dolls and other toys that are unique and interesting. There was one toy in particular that I loved and wanted for my baby but wasn't sure if I should splurge on it or not ($70). Every time someone picked this little guy up my heart would sink. I had to have him for my baby girl and I'm really glad I did. We named it Strawberry because it has little strawberries on it's handkerchief. Baby girl loves it!

claire and strawberry

Hammer and Paper I really wanted a gorgeous clock necklace from this shop, but it's the holidays so I didn't want to buy for myself. I'm definitely going to be back.

Deviant Decor This booth was across from me and she had all her pieces on a wall display. I'm going to order a custom one with a typewriter on it for my future booths...fits perfectly with Dead Writers.

StasiaB I just love Stasia B! She is an adorable, creative, and all around nice person. I traded some Dead Writers perfume for one of her t-shirts last year. I didn't get a chance to buy from her this year, but I'm going to purchase some of her art work for my baby girl's room. This in particular:

On to the perfumes!

Sweet Anthem Not only is Meredith the nicest person ever who routinely helps me with all sort of business topics, her perfumes are just amazing. When someone comes to my shop and doesn't find what they're looking for, I send them her way. This year her Fox perfume caught my eye (notice a trend?). This is from her familiars collection and it has black tea and beeswax...no wonder I liked it.

Sweet Anthem - Fox

Rebel and Mercury This shop makes 100% all natural perfumes and they are lovely. She also had a line of candles which looked so pretty on her display.

Rebel and Mercury Candles

There you have it! My favorite Etsy shops that presented this year. I'm going to be at Renegade LA and SF so I'll do posts for the shops I find there as well. Enjoy!

Smell Dead Writers & All My Other Perfumes This Holiday!

As many of you know, I've been moving at a snail's pace since my baby was born in May. Well I'm happy to announce that I've been feeling much better and have more energy so I'm going to be ramping up production again AND hitting the craft show circuit this winter! For any fans in Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, save yourself a step and stop by Sweet Tea Apothecary's booth to check out all my perfumes in person. I will be at the following shows selling perfumes and ready to chat:

Seattle EtsyRain - November 29 & 30

Renegade Los Angeles - December 14 & 15

Renegade San Francisco - December 21 & 22

I will try to make Renegade Brooklyn next summer for any East Coast fans out there. If you know of a good craft fair in your city, drop me a line. I'm always looking for new opportunities.

BookRiot is Causing a Riot in My Shop!!

dead writers perfume cologne oil 10 mlAs an Etsy shop owner, it's always fun when you wake up in the morning to hundreds of new views to your shop that you don't normally receive. Your jaw drops to the floor and you double check the numbers several times (after rubbing your eyes of course) to make sure that this is really happening. Yesterday (and continuing today!) was such a day for me. I was fortunate enough to have the picture of a bottle of Dead Writers on the front page of Bookriot.com which in turn linked to a blog post speculating what different scents famous authors throughout history would have worn. It was brilliant! And actually something that I'm working on for the spring. So thank you so much to BookRiot for giving me such a nice shout out and a bump in business.

Here is the blog post and below are some of the writerly suggestions:

"Edgar Allan Poe: Poppies, absinthe, sandalwood, and mold

Flannery O’Connor: Church incense, soap, vanilla, ginger

Jack Kerouac: Cigarettes, cheap beer, unwashed youth, patchouli, car leather

the Bronte Sisters: Heather, sea air, vetiver, primrose, black tea"

Featured on Offbeat Home!

The tutorial I wrote a while back on how to make perfume oil was featured on the Offbeat Home website yesterday. Heck yes! I love the Offbeat Empire and I'm so excited I could be a part of it. Here is the link to my article as it appears on their site: http://offbeathome.com/2012/09/diy-perfume If you've come from Offbeat Home and wanted to learn more (or if you're a reader and have forgotten), here are links to some of my other tutorials:

How to Make Your Own Eau de Parfum

How to Make Solid Perfume for Lockets and Compacts

Happy Perfuming!

Beer Soap Exists, and it is a Delight

One thing that didn't occur to me (but probably should have) when I opened up a shop on Etsy was that I would want to buy everything. There are some genuinely amazing products and sellers on the site and it's so hard not to click the Paypal button. Sometimes I don't heed the little voice saying, "Stop! You're here to sell, not to dip into your profits!" One such example of not heeding that annoying voice, was a recent purchase from Tin Roof Soap Co., an Etsy shop hailing from Houston, Texas. You see, what sets her (owner, Sara James) apart from all the masses of soap sellers on Etsy are two things (at least for me):

1. Awesome old time-y packaging

2. BEER SOAP!!!

While perusing her shop, the Beer Soap immediately jumped off the page, for obvious reasons. I could sit here and tell you that I bought the bar of Beer Soap ($6) because I wanted an all natural vegan soap and to support small business, and while I like the idea of all those things, it's effing Beer Soap. I needed to have that in my life. Another thought running through my mind is that my husband couldn't get mad at me for spending money on Beer Soap as that directly benefits him! This is just how my mind works.

So now I'm here to review this delightfully hoppy bar of lather. Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about soap, but I do know about life. So here are some stories about Beer Soap.

I do not use bars of soap. Ever. I hate the residue they leave on your skin, it always dries me out because I have world's fairest most sensitive skin. I pretty much only buy gel soap that has moisturizing power level 10. That said, when I placed the order, I thought this little bar was going to be a novelty relegated to the guest use pile. WRONG!

When I bought the soap, Sara James (she has one of those awesome names where you have to say the whole thing) told me that it works great as shampoo too. I laughed at her witchcraft. The package came and I giggled with delight about the old time-y feel and immediately wanted to copy her packaging. Inside was a beautifully wrapped bar of Rosemary Beer Soap and two samples. I'm not sure what the samples are but they smell kind of licorice-y and are also very nice.

I decided to give the Beer Soap the old college try (which sounds very ironic). I took it to the shower and used it all over. I was initially very surprised at how milky and smooth it was. It didn't have that rough, dry feeling that most soap bars have. I didn't feel sticky! It was grand. The smell itself is a more pleasant scent of straight beer. You're not going to smell like Budweiser. You'll smell like a nice Hefeweisen with orange slice. It's hoppy and works well with the rosemary, slightly herbaceous and floral.

Because I like to live dangerously, I decided to heed her advice and try it out on my hair. I had reservations of course, the first being that I'm kind of an idiot in the common sense department and didn't know how to use it on my hair. I initially just rubbed the bar on my head like I was hitting myself with a brick. Dumb. The second reservation was that I have purple hair. When you have bright color treatments like that, they basically fade with each wash (literally the purple drips out of your hair). I didn't know how a bar of soap would fare against my beloved hair color (I feel more me with purple hair, I'm weird). Thought I, "This is not specially formulated for color-treated hair like that Pantene bottle over there." When I got smart and started rubbing the Beer Soap in my hands, I was shocked at how well it lathers. It really IS a shampoo. It lathered better than my regular stuff. I washed my hair and shockingly, there was only a tiny bit of drainage of the purple. Seriously. I went to put conditioner in after the Beer Soap, and that's when the purple started to pour out like it was trying to escape or something. It WAS trying to escape. Trying to escape from that lying, overly chemical Pantene bottle.

So my thoughts on Beer Soap: This little guy is more than a novelty. It's a creamy soap that has great moisturizing properties, even on sensitive skin. It's a wonderful shampoo and has a great scent - a fine craft beer on a summer day. So maybe buy some beer soap?

Woa, I'm Actually Busy.

My etsy shop has steadily been increasing in views and sales over the last two weeks. This is super amazing happy fantastic! I started selling July 6 and have hit 31 sales, I'm told this is good for a new shop so yay me! Today started out normal enough with an IM conversation with my husband. We basically only hang out together and when he's at work we talk all day online. We need to set more boundaries.

Husband: [IMing] Hey. http://www.amazon.co.uk/BIC-For-Amber-Medium-Ballpoint/dp/B004FTGJUW/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

i think we might need to get you some BIC For Her pens :P
 me: haha wtf
  why does there need to be a girl version of a pen?
  there were lots of marketing meetings involved
  i can just see them now
Husband: yep
  they were like, our studies show that women aren't buying our pens
  they're just losing the ones their husbands buy
 me: hahahahhahaha
  wait, RUDE!

Pretty much immediately after this transpired I received a rush order for two solid perfumes and a cologne oil. I've talked to you about Maynard before, well he is my pride and joy. I like Maynard more than my perfumes I think. I don't know I change my mind on which I like best pretty much every day. That lovely photo above is today's work. Between that and a few other random orders I had to fill, I was counting drops of oil all day. Totally not complaining, I love my home business.

And then because we prefer things to go full circle with closure, I received this IM around 4:30pm after we hadn't spoken in about two hours.

Husband: Since I received these pens, I've been spending a lot more time down in the basement, formerly my 'rec room' - now my cosy little writing boudoir. I giddily wile away the hours in a flounce of feathers, pearls and potpourri, but all the time writing, writing, writing. Sometimes, I'm Maeve Binchley, or Virginia Andrews. Other times, I'm in a more subtle, sophisticated mood. Then, I put on my night vision goggles and bam! Margaret Atwood is prowling through my cellar.But it's the simple pleasures that remain consistently best. I start with a quick tuck, a smidge of tape, some coral red lipstick, a nipple ornament that looks like a chandelier designed by a drunk french hippy. Then I slink up and down in front of my full length mirror dressed only in a boa, and brandishing a BIC For Her. Intense. So hot."I'd write me. I'd write me soooooo hard."

Apparently that's a real review for Bic's lady pens. Maybe go buy some?

How to Make Your Own Solid Perfume for Lockets or Compacts

Tired of TSA throwing out your perfumes or relegating them to a checked bag and spilled contents? Then have I the tutorial for you. We've talked about making perfume oil and eau de parfum, so it feels right that we should now discuss solid perfuming.

Making solid perfume is incredibly easy and fun! Once you get the process down, it only takes about 15 minutes and you're left with endless gift possibilities. You can put your perfume in a locket, compact, tin, pocket watch...seriously, any kind of small compartment will do.

No complicated maths this time around (HECK YES) so let's get right to it!

What You Need

3 essential oils or fragrance oils depending on what you want. If you want all natural perfume, only use essential oils. Fragrance oils can contain synthetics but have already been diluted in carrier oil so they tend to be less irritating. When choosing essential oils, make sure to look up any health advisories they may have as not all EOs are skin safe. Brambleberry has a nice, affordable selection of both EOs and fragrance oils. If you would like just one specific scent (lavender, jasmine, etc) it's ok to just use one essential oil.

3 pipettes or glass droppers

2 small bowls - use ceramic or glass as you will be melting the wax. I put the glass bowl over a candle and melt but you can use a stove or microwave.

Measuring spoons

1 tablespoon beeswax

1.5 teaspoons of Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil. Trader Joe’s has a nice Jojoba in their spa section that is both affordable and great for dry skin beyond your perfuming needs.

Locket or container for your perfume

Let's Do This!

In our other tutorials we talked about a perfume being made up of base, heart, and head notes. If you need help deciding what essential oils to use and in what order, refer back to the sections "The Basics," and "How Do You Pick the Right Oils to Go Together?" in the tutorial on making perfume oil.

Alright, in this recipe, we are going to use 40 drops of essential oils. As we learned previously, the ratios of base, heart, and head are:

2 parts base : 1 part heart : 1 part head

That means we will have 20 drops of our base note and 10 drops each of our heart and head. Math, we have conquered you!

Using your pipette, count out 20 drops of your base essential oil. When finished, put the oil and the pipette aside. Next, use a clean pipette and count out 10 drops of your heart essential oil. Finally, using your last clean pipette, count out 10 drops of your head essential oil. Put your pipettes and oils to the side, they are done.

Next, measure out 1.5 teaspoons of Jojoba or Sweet Almond oil and mix with your essential oil concoction. Stir it up and sniff to make sure you like the scent. If you don't like it, toss it now and repeat the process until you've found a combination you like. If it smells heavenly, then let's move on to wax melting.

That site I mentioned earlier, Brambleberry, carries beeswax or you can find it at your local health food store. Slice off a tablespoon of beeswax and place it in your empty ceramic/glass bowl. Melt the beeswax thoroughly so that it is completely liquid. I prefer to do this over a candle but however you can melt it is fine. Once it has been liquefied, pour your essential oil/jojoba mixture in with the beeswax and stir over low heat. If you see solids form when you pour the perfume into the beeswax just gently stir it until the mixture is liquid again. Once your perfume/beeswax concoction is stirred and thoroughly liquid, pour it into your container. If you have a small locket I advise using a pipette to transfer the perfume so that it doesn't spill. Be advised that the wax will start to harden so if you do use a pipette make sure it's one you don't care about as it's hard to get wax out.

Let your locket or container sit open for the next 15 minutes. Marvel at the wonders of science as you watch your liquid perfume slowly solidify. Once it has cooled down and looks hard, close the lid. It's ready for immediate wear/use, but solid perfumes tend to smell amazing after they have sat untouched for a week. I'm not telling you what to do, but I am. Wait. It's worth it.

If your perfume comes out mushy that means you might not have added enough beeswax. The beautiful thing about making solid perfume is that if you mess up... you can just re-melt it and fix.

Clean Up

As you have no doubt noticed, melted wax is messy! Soak your bowl for a bit and then rub it down with a paper towel. Try to scoop all the wax out with the paper towel before putting it in the dishwasher.

I hope your solid perfume came out amazing and that it was a fun experience. I got into perfumery after making a solid perfume locket for a friend as a birthday gift. You never know where life will take you.

Greatest Testimonial Ever Written? Yes.

This gem of an Etsy feedback came in regarding my Georgiana perfume. This brave soul bought a 5ml bottle without having sampled it. Here's what she had to say: A smell of lace and pearls and the richly curled hair of fine ladies in an English country manor. Sweet, genteel, dignified, opulent yet intimate, it transports the mind to the chambers of Grandes Dames and the arms of noblemen. As ponies and coaches no longer deliver our parcels, I received this fragrant jewel almost as quickly as the blink of my eye.

I'm pretty sure we're destined to be best friends.

In Which I Rationalize This Blog's Existence

Hi! Howdy! Bonjour! Hola!

I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is JT (not of any relation to Justin Timberlake) and I have what one might call an "interesting" resume. Right out of school I worked at a tech PR firm even though I barely know how to use Photoshop. Then I worked as a content writer for a psychic hotline's blog. Are you psychic? You're probably asking. Nope, I'm not. Sorry. After a while, I left my psychic friends and became a high school English teacher in schools they label "at risk." That was fun, but too stressful for someone with a Victorian disposition such as myself.

Whilst writing a steampunk adventure during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - I told you I'm kind of random) I started thinking about history and literature, and how much I love the two. I'm basically Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, but I don't limit myself to just the 1920s. I love grandeur and people who are tragically flawed. Alison Weir books are crack to me.

I thought about how fun it was to make and create. I thought about all the palaces in Europe I've been to (a lot). Then one day, I saw a tutorial on how to make solid perfume. I've always loved perfume. It's the one luxury item that I will gladly spend obscene amounts of money on. I decided to make a batch of solid perfume and put it in a locket as a gift for my friend's birthday. That was supposed to be the end of it... but all of those random interests started swirling around in my head.

So I started an Etsy shop called  Sweet Tea Apothecary. I don't actually like Sweet Tea, I think its disgusting to be honest (unless it has vodka and then it's ok). But I am a tea fiend (another interest!) and wanted to have a feminine, flowery name, so there you go. With Sweet Tea Apothecary, I think about the legends of history and literature and craft a perfume or cologne that I think they'd enjoy. It gives me the opportunity to make, read, and then write about the concoctions and the people involved.

I am random. I love that about myself. I'd have it no other way.