Introduce yourself. Where are you originally from? Where did you learn your craft and how/when did you get started?
Ciao, I’m Gina! I’m originally from Florida and Pennsylvania, but California has been home for the past 12 years. I’m never leaving. Unless a shack opens up on the Amalfi coast.
I’ve spent the past three years studying natural perfumery with Anya McCoy—one of the women responsible for the resurgence in the 70s.
What are 5 adjectives you can use to describe your work space?
green, plants, calm, organized, productive
Explain the story behind the name: how and why you chose it.
I conjured it up myself. I was aiming for a short word that sounded exotic and was unique to me.
Can you elaborate on your particular creative process, what’s your favorite part? What is your workspace like? What materials do you prefer to use?
My workspace is perfectly suited to a natural perfumer. Botanical wallpaper lines one wall, while others are clad in my big mama Pothos. Her vines are crawling all over. I’m not gonna lie—I do fear a Little Shop of Horrors moment in the near future. I just feel extra inspired to be surrounded by living plants when I’m blending plant oils. It heightens the magic.
After I’ve imagined the general direction for a perfume, my favorite part consists of exploring my collection of botanical oils. Intuition guides me as I move from bottle to bottle; imaging how each scent might play a role in this new creation. It’s meditative.
Biggest lesson learned this year (personal / business)
That running your own business consists of lesson after lesson after lesson. And those hurdles don’t mean that what you’re doing isn’t right or valuable. It’s just part of the process of building something from nothing.
What has been your greatest struggle/obstacle so far?
Getting the word out there—past SoCal. When you do everything, it’s hard to do it all perfectly. And PR and marketing are definitely not my strong suit. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to be a part of Y&A! It’s giving me an opportunity to genuinely connect with folks that value and support female makers.
What’s your least favorite part of running a small business?
The Instagram hamster wheel! I’m a creative person, but am not used to producing creative content so frequently. When you want the quality to remain a priority, it can be draining.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself about starting your brand and business?
It will go nothing like you imagined! Suspected easy things will be hard. And hard things will be easy. Just stay focused on how much you love the product and you’ll find your way.
Favorite album/ song to work to?
Phantogram when I need to hustle / Yacht Rock for all other times.
What’s your secret NY spot (or wherever your company is based)?
Rose Wine Bar in South Park, San Diego. Chilled rose and house made empanadas?! Yes, pleeeze.
If you can delegate one task right now, what would it be?
Instagram!! Though it’s such an extension of myself that it’d be hard to trust it in another’s hands.