The Long Story

The journey to Jade Daisy actually began in the bathroom of my grandmother’s house near Chicago’s south side. I loved to lock myself in to admire the vast array of perfumes displayed on a beautifully filigreed, round mirrored tray. Carefully picking up each bottle to smell the gorgeous aromas, I never dared to actually put any on. But I could not resist the dusting powder; lifting the glass lid, I'd take out the delicate puff and trace the perfumed powder across my arms, feeling oh-so-feminine and elegant.

When not sneaking into my grandmother’s bathroom, I could be found running the alleys behind her house cutting lilacs from the copious bushes growing through the neighbors’ chain link fences. The opulence of those tiny blossoms astounded me. While I saved a few blooms for tiny vases, I mostly wanted to wear them, crushing the petals into a potion and insisting everyone try it. I glowed with joy when grandma declared it her favorite.

Entering adulthood, the perfumes of the 1980's were incredibly confusing.  There was such a frustrating disconnect between the aromatic childhood treasures on my grandmother's mirrored tray and the commercial fragrances then sold in stores. But in 1989, I discovered a little Chicago apothecary carrying natural essences. While awestruck, devotedly visiting each week to admire hundreds of wonderful, exotic natural materials behind the counter, I was not allowed to blend it myself. Instead of using my own hands, I was largely confined to telling the person behind the counter how much of what essence to add. It just about killed me not to work with them myself!

Then in 1996, I was beyond thrilled to find another apothecary shop offering perfume classes. Finally able to experiment on my own, I started buying essences to take home.  Before I knew it, I had created a small perfume organ. As my knowledge and craft grew, I made perfumes for loved ones, always trying to match the personality of my scents with their intended recipient.

Moving to California in 2001 with my husband and children, I was initially unable to find a place to study perfume, turning instead to aromatherapy. In 2005 I earned a certificate with honors through The American College of Health Sciences.  Though I love aromatherapy and deeply appreciate the therapeutic value of these amazing oils, I missed perfumery’s concretes, absolutes and sticky resins. I missed blending for the pure art, beauty and luxury of scent.

The truly defining moment on the journey to Jade Daisy, though, was in 2005 when I bought the book Essence and Alchemy by world-renowned, natural perfumer Mandy Aftel. The book was transformative, and somehow, by the greatest good fortune I ended up in her Berkeley studio a few years later, where I’ve now been studying with her since 2009. In 2015 I was honored to be one of two students to first receive a master-level certification from Mandy. Making many return pilgrimages – even through the busy years spent raising four amazing kids –I have relied on Mandy’s guidance as an absolute constant in my life.  Now, as the children grow older, I am able to spend more time on my lifelong passion and bring my longtime vision of Jade Daisy to fruition. Drawing on that childhood lilac love, I now incorporate the craft of flower gardening with the art of perfumery. I love introducing others to this beautiful new palette of natural materials and watching their creativity blossom.