Sana Jardin use sustainable perfume as a vehicle for the economic empowerment of women.
Sana Jardin strongly believe in the healing and uplifting properties of flowers.
International Day of Rural Women 2020 with Sana Jardin
Conscious perfume line, Sana Jardin have made it their mission to use clean and sustainable perfume as a vehicle for social impact and the economic empowerment of women. To celebrate the International Day of Rural Women, we talk to Sana Jardin founder, Amy Christiansen all about the creation of the line, transparency, and their Beyond Sustainability™ model which empowers floral harvesters with the skills and materials they need to increase their wages through commerce, not charity.
“Our vision is to use clean and sustainable perfume as a vehicle for social impact and the economic empowerment of women.”
Tell us a bit about the original ethos for Sana Jardin – how did you think to combine social consciousness with perfume?
I worked in the non-profit sector for over 25 years and have long understood the need for financial opportunities for low-income women, and the benefits these can bring to local communities.
It was my life-long love of fragrance however that sparked the idea for Sana Jardin. I always believed that business could be a vehicle for social change, and I saw perfume as an opportunity to economically empower women hidden at the bottom of the supply chain, through commerce not charity. I merged my experience and passion for fragrance into one and the rest you can say is history; Sana Jardin was born.
How did you go about deciding where to source?
We have partnered with IFF to source the ingredients in our perfumes. IFF work with local producers around the world, to provide perfumers with pure, natural, transparent, sustainable ingredients. They have a strict ethos of complete transparency, and commitment to environmental management and sustainable development.
How have you empowered your flower pickers and built an ethical supply chain?
Our vision is to use clean and sustainable perfume as a vehicle for social impact and the economic empowerment of women. We developed the Beyond Sustainability™ model which empowers our floral harvesters with the skills and materials they need to increase their wages through commerce, not charity. The alternative business model is based on “flower recycling” within a circular economy; the local women develop and sell their own products – candles and orange blossom water – from the waste of the perfume production, receiving 100% of the profits. To facilitate this, we partnered with Nest (a non-profit organisation) and Les Aromes du Maroc, to establish a women’s cooperative, where the women can produce and sell their products.
I wanted Sana Jardin not only to empower the women hidden at the bottom of the supply chain, but to empower the consumer too. We are also extremely proud to contribute to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to empower women (goal 5), promote sustainable economic growth with full, productive employment (goal 8), and ensure sustainable production practices.
Delving into UN goal number 5 on empowering women, as today is International Day of Rural Women we want to know a bit more about how these jobs positively affect women?
Historically, the local harvesters had limited access to employment and could only work 2/3 times a year. Now they can produce and sell their own products within the local community through the year, receiving 100% of the profits.
Through the co-operatives, we provide training in several skill sets including finance, literacy, branding, distribution, and marketing. These skills help the harvesters to develop and run their own businesses as micro entrepreneurs. In 2020, the founding cooperative members saw a 35% increase to their income.
Can you tell us a little bit about what has happened in the area that you are working in for the women and their rural community?
Fortunately the women were able to work through part of this past spring. They also were able to learn new sewing skills whilst making masks for distribution to communities in Morocco which provided them with income in a time when most of Morocco was in a lockdown period. They are also currently developing new products including a new collection of candles that will be available for purchase this season.
In these uncertain times of Coronavirus, how is this affecting the livelihoods of the people that work for Sana Jardin?
It is an extraordinarily sad time for the world and as a business we are struggling with a new normal. We have tried our best to pivot dramatically to keep the business as healthy as possible. We had to make the painstaking and difficult decision to cut our overheads by over 50% by reducing staffing costs and taking advantage of government aid programs. Our staff have all been impacted – we had to furlough two employees who worked in or with retailers, decreased the hours of 3 part time employees and decrease the salaries of all but the one employee who manages our only revenue stream – the website.
“Our fragrances are designed to transport and uplift whilst giving the wearer a role in the cycle of change.”
How do you see business on the other side of this? I think people would love to hear how companies are remaining resilient in this time so if you have any positive feedback on the point would love to hear it!
I am nervous about the health of the global economy in general. I would like to think that humanity will emerge from this pandemic more compassionate and kind than before and become the best versions of ourselves. We are looking at resiliency planning and are fortunate to operate in many markets around the globe and China serves as a bit of a crystal ball for how the rest of the world may respond as we move through this crisis. China has started to buy luxury goods again and in fact we just received multiple orders from the region. Anecdotally, I understand that consumers there (and I suspect will be around the globe) are be even more focused on buying products that have a humanitarian story, are ethical and eco-friendly. I think this could be an opportunity for consumers to use their buying power to demand that companies operate in a way that is socially conscious and that gives me hope.
Again, if we look to Asia, after the SARS epidemic online spending continued to stay high. The consumer adapted to digital shopping. I believe we will see the same shift in shopping habits in the West and people will become more accustomed to shopping online. As a business, we are focused on making sure that we build strong relationships with our online community and to show them we are united with them on this journey.
How do you find the power of fragrance as a way to uplift people?
Our fragrances are designed to transport and uplift whilst giving the wearer a role in the cycle of change. I made sure that each of our scents contained a high percentage of oils as I strongly believe in the healing and uplifting properties of flowers. Perfume should be applied anytime a person needs to feel centred and balanced therefore as a result of these aromatherapeutic benefits.
You recently launched a small candle range – can you tell us a bit about the sustainability of those?
The candles have been in the making for just under two years; we wanted to create a 100% natural formula that’s strong and long lasting but doesn’t expel harmful chemicals into the environment. There are three within the collection – Tiger By Her Side, Revolution de la Fleur and Jaipur Chant, each of which are free of phthalates, artificial colorants, parabens and formaldehydes. They are housed in recyclable glass and contain 100% vegetable wax.
What scent from Sana Jardin would you particularly recommend at this moment and why?
There are many aromatherapeutic properties associated with the notes within our fragrances. If I had to pick one for this current moment in time, it would have to be Revolution de la Fleur. This soft and sensual fragrance contains a blend of ylang ylang, jasmine, frangipani, rose vanilla and sandalwood. Ylang ylang in particular is linked to the heart of the chakra to provide inner strength and emotional support. This energising floral is thought to promote a sense of calm, relieve tension and euphoria whilst stimulating feminine yin energy.
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