Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview with Nostalgia Organics

In today's material world, one can find almost anything in any kind of shop out there, mind boggling really! I am very used to walking into a store, pick up a certain beautiful looking goodie, and pay for it without knowing much about what I just bought. Many of such products are mass productions that, it seems pointless to know who created them or what their origins are.

But, when you see something truly unique and exquisite, do you feel the urge to find out the story behind it? I know I do! In a way, I think it makes the product feel more personal, more connected, and also it's almost like a tribute to the efforts that the creator put in :)

By now, you would know that I absolutely adore Nostalgia Organics - such a darling, pretty collection of goodies. Any new creation that they churn out takes time, patience & efforts, making it all the more special! So, it is natural that I asked Elea - the lovely creator - about the background of all this, how it started and all. Here is a little interview that I hope will make you feel closer to the brand!

How did you start making soaps and balms?
I started experimenting with handmade soaps and balms about 9 years ago - purely out of curiosity. I enjoyed mixing and testing ingredients and learning how they all work together. I had a particular interest in natural essential oils and herbs and the benefits they provided so I also started taking classes and reading a lot of books on the subject. I worked full time in the corporate world until a few years ago when my son was born. So my "experiments" were just a fun way to feed my creativity and interests. However, during my pregnancy, I started creating my own products, such as belly balm and aromatherapy spray for morning sickness, because I couldn't find similar products or 100% natural versions in stores. Developing those products, paired with my love of design, really planted the seed for my future business.

How long does it take to design your packaging?
A long time! It took me well over two years to finish all the designs on the fabrics and papers that house the soap. From concept to completion, it generally takes about 2 months for me to design the packaging for each product. I have drawers full of sample bottles, jars, boxes, papers and just about every type of packaging you can think of - that I experiment with until I finally decided on the direction to take. But, I love designing and drawing and sketching out new ideas for the fabrics and prints - so that part never really feel like work. I also carefully consider packaging for its recycled or recyclable content or try to offer packaging that can be repurposed after the product is gone. So, it's a slow, nail-biting process, but seeing the joy on people's faces when they touch the little bows and grin at the bluebirds - makes it all worthwhile.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from a lot of different sources, but most of it comes from my childhood and grandmother. I love the purity and wonder of childhood. And, somehow, for me, that directly correlates to offering wholesome, natural products. However, my grandmother is definitely the biggest source of my inspiration. She was just a really special lady that took time to consider even the tiniest detail - if she thought it would put a smile on someone's face. For example, she would hand-embroider flowers and birds and things on my pillowcases because she knew I loved it. So in her spirit, I try to add happy little details like that in my collection. I'm also inspired by colour palettes and imagery from of my grandmother's day.

On a personal level, what do you like to do when you're not working?
I love spending time with my family and discovering new things with my 2-year-old son. We have our daily outings together that I really cherish. We walk to the park, journey to the zoo or play silly games like hide and seek. I also love travelling, watching a good movie or trying new restaurants with my husband. If I'm not doing any of that - I'm probably crafting something.

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