Balance Awareness Week; 5 minutes with … Amy Christiansen

As the Push Team continue their search in wellbeing through Balance Awareness Week, today we’re looking towards aromatherapy.

When we talk aromatherapy, your mind may be going straight towards mood boosters and essential oils, however we found that fragrances can also play a key role in helping us to find our centre.

To tell us more about the benefits of fragrances in our everyday wellbeing, we spoke with Amy Christiansen, Founder of Sana Jardin – a socially conscious, luxury fragrance house – as well as her remarkable work in helping local communities who contribute to her brand …

Tell us the story behind Sana Jardin
Sana Jardin was built on the principles of a circular economy; our Beyond Sustainability™ business model empowers low-income women in Morocco through commerce, not charity and prioritises sustainability at every step of the supply chain.

We work with the communities involved in harvesting our products to provide financial opportunities and business skills to enable wage increases, waste reduction and sustainable business practices. The local women develop and sell their own products (orange blossom water and candles) from the waste of the perfume, receiving 100% of the profits. To facilitate this, we partnered with Nest (a non-profit) and Les Aromes du Maroc (a raw flower supplier) to establish a women’s cooperative in Morocco, where the women can produce and sell their products.

Our vision is to use clean and sustainable perfume as a vehicle for social impact and the economic empowerment of women.

Do you think fragrance plays a key role in our wellbeing?
Absolutely! Each of our scents utilise the healing life force of plants with a high concentration of naturally perfumed essential oils (15-20%). I truly believe in the restorative properties of plants and their subsequent wellbeing properties. Ylang Ylang for example works on your heart chakra to provide inner strength and emotional support. Amber on the other hand lifts your mood and sensuality, clears and empowers the mind and cleanses your spirit.

Are there any notes in particular you use to create your fragrances?
We have eight fragrances within the collection and therefore many different notes, but if I had to highlight a couple, I would say orange blossom, rose and jasmine. These three ingredients are harvested by hand by the local women in Morocco.

In moments of stress, many turn to lighting a candle for some relief, do you think the same can be done with fragrances?
100%! There are so many aromatherapeutic properties associated with essential oils. I strongly believe that perfume should be applied anytime a person needs to feel centred.

Sana Jardin’s mission is to “harness the power of commerce for social good”. Can you tell us a bit more about your social & environmental values and why they are so important to you both personally and as a brand?
Prior to founding the brand, I worked for twenty-five years in the non-profit sector in the US, Middle East and Europe. During this time, I learnt about the need for financial opportunities for low-income women, and the benefits these can bring to their local communities.

I have always loved fragrance and saw luxury perfume as an opportunity to economically empower women hidden at the bottom of the supply chain. The traditional supply chain is wasteful; women at the bottom of the supply chain have low standard of living and employment is seasonal (our female harvesters normally work three harvests a year). Consumers on the other hand are more aware of their purchasing power and looking for high-quality, environmentally friendly products. I realised that I could empower everyone from harvester to consumer, with a closed loop, zero waste supply chain. The opportunity was too powerful to ignore and the rest you can say is history …

At Sana Jardin we believe in powering tangible and measurable social change through commerce, not charity.

We love the idea of “utilising luxury business to create social change”. What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
I think all businesses (new and current) should look at their supply chain and the waste created in it. In an ideal world, businesses should try to upcycle the waste at the benefit of the people at the start of the supply chain. By doing this, you will be encouraging more humanitarian values into your supply chain whilst also reducing waste at the same time. Transparency within this area of a business is essential.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received which has helped you get to where you are
That you are going to make a million mistakes and not to be hard on yourself – just constantly learn and refine.

Do you have a particular note / scent that brings back a special memory?
I travelled to many exotic destinations with my grandmother when I was a child. I grew up surrounded by the heady scents of North Africa and the Middle East; neroli, jasmine and amber in particular. Whenever I smell these scents today they instantly transport me back to this magical time. My grandmother was and still is a true inspiration to me!

Do you believe that the perfume you choose matches your personality?
I believe that people are attracted to what their body needs for balance.

First fragrance you ever bought?
Anais Anais when I was about 10 years old

And finally, how do you find balance in your daily life?
My sons are in school now (post Covid) so everything feels like it has regained its natural order and I can work and see friends while they are in school.

To find out more about Sana Jardin visit www.sanajardin.com or head over to their Instrgam page for some lifestyle inspiration and to follow their amazing work with Nest.

Push Team x

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