(Picture Credit: Her World August 2021)
PETRICHOR - The the distinct scent of rain in the air
APOTHECARY - A place where medicines (in my case, herbal remedies) are prepared
PATRICHORY - A combination of my name and the two words above.
I often get asked about the brand Patrichory and what it means - well, it was coined based on combining my name (Pat) with the 2 words you see above. I've always loved the smell of petrichor (or more specifically, the woody scent that's released from the earth into the air after the rain). And, my family calls my workplace an apothecary because of all the natural ingredients and oils I use in my products. I'm also known as the "White Witch" in the house!
Recently a collaborator of ours guessed that it meant "Patricia's Story" - and I found that to be really cute and clever! Since I've not uploaded a blog post in a while, I thought it would be the perfect topic as we head into a new year 2022!
My introduction to artisanal soaps, candles and aromatherapy goes way, way back to year 1997 when I returned to Singapore to help a good friend start a new business after a working stint in Malaysia . During that time, the Internet and e-commerce were obviously not as developed as they are today. The reason I came back was to help launch a print catalogue sales business (yes - print catalogues!) featuring soaps, candles and essential oils from producers in Australia and Europe. Some of these brands are still around today!
Unfortunately that catalogue sales model was on its last legs and people were just starting to explore Internet shopping, even though that wouldn't take off for another few years in Singapore. As such there wasn't enough demand to keep that business sustaining for too long. After all, most Singaporeans would visit retail "brick and mortar" stores for their everyday needs.
Fast forward 20 years and the world is a different place!
E-commerce is growing, there are real concerns about the sustainability and many people, including myself are feeling the effects of being exposed to certain chemicals in the everyday products that we use.
Meanwhile reputable schools offering online courses on aromatherapy and creating your own skincare care products have been set up and take in thousands of students from around the world.
In 2017, I dived back into my deep interest in aromatherapy when I had to drop everything in Singapore to deal with some family matters in Malaysia, It provided an opportunity to explore further on developing DIY (Do It Yourself) skincare and haircare knowledge. I realised quickly that I had to obtain proper knowledge in this area because Google isn't really your friend (not all the time) when it comes to specific information on dealing with ingredients in skincare or haircare products.
The other reason why I did this was partly to reduce my own and my family's exposure to certain ingredients found in commercial products, as they were potentially causing our skin, body or hair to react badly to them, I wanted to have a better control over what ingredients are used in our household cleaning as well as personal care products. Naturally then, I moved towards creating skincare and haircare that would be safe for me and my family, using plant-based, organic ingredients.
And so - thousands of hours later, and now back in Singapore and armed with some actual knowledge and practice under the guidance of two online schools, I was able to develop products that not only helped me, but also some of my best friends!
To you, my first group of testers - I owe you all so much for your support - this journey would not have started if not for you! Thanks to their feedback and support, I founded Patrichory to address the niche but growing market for sustainable personal care products. However - I decided to start with haircare, because unlike skincare - there really aren't as many locally-crafted options for sustainable haircare products made from natural-derived ingredients.
There are commercial offerings labeled as shampoo bars (mostly foreign brands), yet a large part of their offerings are lye-based soaps that may not have the right pH balance for the scalp and hair. Some of them don't provide a full ingredient list, so it's hard to say if they are natural or sustainable. Others use a tiny amount of natural ingredients and call it a day.
As such, I sought to create a product with a pretty high bar (pun intended)!
To formulate and make all-natural shampoo and conditioner bars that meets my own stringent standards. That are safe and effective for your hair, scalp and our waterways - where each and every ingredient in the product can be proven to be "naturally derived". I also aimed to include calming, essential oil-based scents that are completely different from synthetic fragrances.
Most importantly the ingredients need to be certified as ecologically friendly as much as possible - or at least have documentation to show they are naturally-derived or ethically sourced.
Believe me, it is not easy at all to source for the right ingredients in the right amounts at the right price. This has been a major challenge for me, and from what I hear, I'm not alone. But the effort to source the best ingredients from suppliers across the globe and deal with the challenging logistics situation (due to Covid-19) has been worth it. Unfortunately this also means that some ingredient prices have risen significantly over the last 12 months. At this point, I have to give a big shout-out to my local and regional suppliers who have been so supportive towards a small producer like Patrichory!
The journey thus far has been nothing short of amazing - and like all journeys has its ups and downs. I love getting to know all of you, and getting your feedback on how the products are helping you and benefiting not just you, but your kids and spouses too! I am so thankful for every customer, every new follower and every like on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as our collaborators in the retail space, be it online or at physical locations!
So if you are here for the first time and haven't tried our products yet, thank you for visiting and for reading this far! Our sample sets are there for you to trial them, especially for people who haven't used shampoo bars before. They may look like bars of soap and act like soap, but hopefully you will feel that they are quite different!
As always, we love to hear from you, so send us any questions and I'll do my very best to answer them! Thanks for reading!