My business is a blend of what anti-hustle culture and non-toxic fragrance have in common. We sell non-toxic, scented products and yet, I find I'm mostly drawn to thinking of wellness routines, why they are important (and what happened when I fell away from them), and how I can use my business as a means of support for others.
I was recently talking with a friend and I loosely mentioned the common and prevalent toxic fragrance ingredients used in candles and skincare products. She stopped me mid-sentence and told me that she had no idea about this. That took me by surprise because I had been foolishly thinking that since I was so aware of it, everyone else was too. For now, we'll call this reality check #1. Later that week I was talking with someone else about our products and they also said they had no idea about these chemicals we avoid. Hello, #2. I was so taken by surprise because it's the reason that I started this line of non-toxic fragrance, and I can't believe I assumed everyone knew about this too. This is especially silly of me because this product line grew from my own learning, and somehow along the way, I forgot to talk about that very important piece of information.
I'll start at the beginning:
When I first opened Picot as a brick-and-mortar shop, I was working long hours and didn’t have any staff. I didn’t make time for self-care because viewed it as unproductive; a luxury. I burnt out very quickly and the stress triggered an underlying autoimmune disease that eventually took me down. Doctors advised me to reset my diet, sleep, and wellness habits in a BIG way (we could actually consider this to be my first reality check). I had lost touch with prioritizing holistic nourishment when I started my business. Instead, I listened to the “hustle culture” to lead me, something I cringe at now. I still practiced yoga, but not as consistently as I had in the years leading up to this point.
When my health started to decline, I began to carve out more down-time by lighting candles to create a calming mood at home and ground my focus in meditation again. I was buying a lot of candles and I started to consider what else was getting into the air when the wax melted down. After a simple investigation, I realized there were toxic ingredients hidden in a lot of the ones I was buying from popular companies. I laughed at how counter-productive it was for me to be using natural cleaning products and eating local and organic food when possible, but inhaling harmful chemicals every single day in my home. Burning toxic chemicals in the air while I was building a healthier lifestyle seemed ridiculous to me, so I decided to create a non-toxic fragrance for candles. Hello, Honey Tobacco Candle; our very first product.
Our product line has expanded over the years but the underbelly of my business is to support others in their pursuit of a holistic, healthy lifestyle through building wellness routines and speaking about the importance of them. Whether that's lighting a candle as you wind down after work, brewing a pot of our Calm Tea before bed, or using the crystal rollerball as a reminder of daily mindfulness as you apply our fragrance: we want to support your routines with a scent that you truly enjoy and that doesn't release harmful toxins in the process. This is just one component of how we infuse our values into our business. We work hard, but we're anti-hustle culture. That’s why we focus our newsletter and blog on lifestyle resources like recipes, playlists, book recommendations, and the occasional journaling prompts. We're pro-wellness living.
From a personal standpoint, having a health-scare was a wakeup call. It focused my priorities and forced me to restructure my perspective on how I approach my whole life. Self care isn't unproductive, or a luxury. It's a requirement for living and I need it like water. I established healthier boundaries for myself with work, and I don’t compromise my self-care for the sake of accomplishment. I know when to push through something and when to take a break. Ironically, breaks turn out to be a highly effective, creative recharge. By prioritizing my personal needs alongside work, neither of them suffers now.
So here's what we don't have in our products:
Our products are free from phthalates, parabens, and synthetic musks. If you don't see that written on a fragrance product, those known endocrine disruptors could be in their ingredients. They're commonly used in low-quality fragrances for their purpose of maintaining a longer shelf life. This is helpful for larger companies because their products can sit in chain stores and warehouses for a months before selling. We produce in small batches and sell often to independent retailers.
We're strong believers that self-care products shouldn't cause harm and we're so glad you're making the switch to non-toxic ingredients with us.
If you want to learn a little more about how to choose healthier, natural products, check out this blog post, and if you're looking for some free self care ideas, check this one out.