Meet Andrea Shanti a creative soul who lives in Mount Shasta, California and designs gorgeous perfumes, herbal potions and paintings. I first encountered her Anti-Viral Honey at my friend Skye’s house quite a few years ago. Yes about 7 to be exact. It was love at first sight, that honey was where it’s at, full of essential oils buzzing and freezing your tongue while travelling down your throat destroying any potentially negative life forms that could be living in your system. It was powerful, flavorful and full of rich aromas, I bought some honey and started to see what other products Andrea was offering on her website. Her perfumes were intriguing, I purchased a couple as did other friends in my circles, yummy and diverse, I was curious to learn more! I caught up with Andrea to ask her some questions about her designs, her practice and the point of perfume. Read on to see what she has to say…
1. You are an amazing herbalist and perfume designer, which came first?
Good question! When I look back at my journey, I realize that the intention of herbalism made its entry into my life before the specificity of perfuming. They are intertwined, of course, as my herbal products have delicious scents. I studied with several herbalists before I learned alongside perfumers, though.
2. Where did your fascination with scents first show up in your life?
I think the scents took center stage when I spent time concocting with a close friend, experimenting and discovering new smells. We would stay up late, sharing perfume strips, breathing deeply, feeling each one, and combining them in myriad ways. I realized the power that the smells had on the two of us. We were absorbed into the world of scent and were passionate about learning all we could. Essential oils are interesting, as they smell one way when you first open the bottle and shift as they age. It’s science and art as you learn each scent and how it changes over time. Knowing what the oil will smell like in years, and which oil it will marry and make delightful scent babies with–that’s what we were obsessed with!
3. Have there been any perfume mentors in your life? Can you tell us about them?
It’s interesting to think about this. I am always inspired by other perfumers’ work, even if I am not in love with their scents, I always appreciate their passion, their environment, the esthetic that they bring to their scents. Mandy Aftel from Berkeley was influential in my work, as were some close friends who mixed and matched scents with me for years. Finding the joy in smelling oils is at the heart of the work–watching how other people react, the words they use to describe scents, how they remember memories after smelling a potent oil. I wouldn’t say I had a mentor, but I had powerful perfuming companions that guided and helped me learn about the soul of blending.
4. Do you work in the daytime or at night?
I am a night owl and early bird at the same time! There is something about the late night–all around me people are sleeping…and dreaming. I dig into the quiet night, discovering the hidden energies that visit me. The early morning is an open holy, light filled moment of time that fills me with sparkling new ideas. I love them both.
5. I love your faerie perfume so much! The jasmine notes and the light spice are divine. What kind of environment and mood where you trying to create with this perfume?
Magic, mystery. Laying in green grass, taking in the majesty of the sky and earth, knowing magic is boundless, ready to pounce on you like a butterfly!
6. What do you think wearing perfume is all about?
Love. Sex. Connection. Value. Engagement with self and those who notice deliciousness.
7. As far as I know, there are many different types of amber accords. I have even heard that some of them are passed down in families. You have a perfume called Amber Activation, what are you hoping it will activate? How can people use this powerful perfume to its full potential?
This particular scent was derived from a blend of spiritual based practices, but based on the universal idea of tuning in. Frankincense was the first note that I knew needed to be present, as it carries a sacred vibration that I found in many practices. I participated in many activating ceremonies in my tribal communities–sweat lodges, fire walking, circle ceremonies. I created the scent to support grounding, aligning chakras and activating all sources of love and connection.
8. As an herbalist, do you consider the medicinal properties of the essential oils you use in your perfume blends? If yes, how does this influence your designs?
Yes. There is a balance of the healing qualities and pure scent in my life. There are two different sets of scents in my line. The ones I like to wear each day are based on what I want to smell like. Those are not connected necessarily to the medicinal quality of the oils. It’s important to me to have balance of smell and taste in my herbal line, so I consider the scent factor in my herbal products, but they are clearly designed for healing.
9. What are some of your favorite accords?
Jasmine, Sandalwood, Blood Orange, Lime, Ginger, Fir Balsam
10. Where do you look for new inspiration for your perfumes?
In the people around me, the natural beauty that surrounds me, things people say, dreams that I have. Inspiration is all around me and I love having a channel to manifest what my soul feels.
11. What scents are you excited about designing next?
I’m really interested in guiding others in finding their Soul Scent. I feel like it makes sense to me to take all that I’ve learned and hold space for people to find themselves in scent, as I had the privilege to do.