Saturday, November 5, 2011

Darling Clandestine-Part 2

Darling Clandestine is a cute Etsy shop where you can find some great perfumes. I was led to this shop a few months back by being bound and gagged, ok not really. I did hear of Darling Clandestine in a group on Facebook, I of course was not forced into looking. Anyone who even knows me a little knows that if it smells I am all about it. Let me just tell you that I am so glad I did look and then buy. Hands down Evonne the owner is at the top of my list of favorite scentresses (yeah that is totally a word!) I have always received the best customer service, packages arrived beyond fast, all have been packaged nicely in a bubble mailer and I have never had any products damaged in transit. On of my orders there was a missing product, but I messaged Evonne and had a response right away with a sincere apology. In 3 days  had a package with the missing item and a few samples as an extended apology. In my book the mistake was more than made up for. 

Evonne was so kind to take time out to answer some questions for me and I would like to share those with you.

1. How long have you been creating scents?
For a little over a year now, and I’m really, really happy with all the love and support I’ve had.

2. What made you want to get into this line of work?
Highly-sensitive noses run in my family, and I’ve always been fascinated with perfumes and perfuming. I remember a National Geographic article back in the ‘80s (in fact, my dad just reminded me of that article last week) that detailed the history of creating perfumes back to ancient times, and it was printed with “scratch and sniff” pages, and I thought that was just the awesomest thing ever. Since I discovered Etsy and began fanatically buying handmade, I realized that perfuming was something I could absolutely do myself.And I was delighted when I realized that my brother Aaron was excited about me taking up perfuming—more on that in a bit.Also, I want folks to know how much encouragement I’ve had from fellow artists—more on that in a bit as well.

3. How did you come up with your company name and theme?
The name of course is a play on “My Darling Clementine,” with a Goth twist. I think that’s a pretty good approximation of my shop’s theme—sort of a Victorian mélange of dark and classic, with the occasional Old West-y fist fight thrown in. ;) Both Leif and I have always been fans of organic style, and by “organic” I don’t mean overpriced tomatoes at the local Whole Foods. I mean a style that jives with natural lines and colors; dark woods, rich tapestries, stone and ivy, that sort of thing. Many people look at that sort of style and think “old,” but I think it’s the most universal and timeless style there is. If you lost a piece of Gothic architecture in the woods, the woods would grow around it and it’d become something even more beautiful. But if you dropped, say, the Bolingbrook IKEA into the woods . . . well, that’d just look kind of crappy. I like to stick with the former, and I wanted to playfully illustrate that the styles I dig are sort of a mishmash of classic styles, so the tagline “Handcrafted deco-toriansteamveau. Esque.” was born.

4. Where do you find inspiration for the scents you create?
Amazing people I’ve known. Amazing places I’ve been. Little microcosms of memories and stories, moments that keep creeping back to me. Scent is by far the most nostalgic of the senses, and I try to capture that nostalgia in concentrated form. People who try my perfumes most often tell me that they remind them of a place or a time, and that makes me very happy.
Each of my perfumes has its own representative “story,” which I get a huge kick out of writing. I want my customers to feel more connected with the “experience” of the fragrance, and understand why they’re so much more than just scented oil mixes.
I have about 15 different scents now, give or take, and a few more in the works. I’ve tried to create something for everybody, and I’ve assembled quite the diverse little sideshow troupe. ;) Above all, I want my scents to be “different”—beautiful and strange, like the people and memories most dear to me.

5. What is your favorite scent you carry?
Augh, don’t make me choose! I have a particular tenderness for Inked and Falchion, because they’re so incredibly complicated and weird and sexy and moody, like old flames you can’t get over. I also am very fond of Step Right Up, and I’d say it’s probably my best all around, because it’s universally appealing but also truly its own experience. And I give a shout-out to Tapadero wherever possible, because it’s a really great fragrance—clean and cuddly—but somehow tends to not get as much face time as the others. It remains one of my favorites.
It’s funny; some of my best scents are ones I don’t really wear regularly, and others of my scents are not really “me” at all (Pyrotechnik is a good example), but I’ve created them for a diverse audience and I enjoy smelling them just for appreciation’s sake.

6. What are your 3 most popular scents?
I’d say Serpentina, Circassian, and—a newbie but already very popular—Cloudswing. Interestingly, they’re all pretty feminine. But Falchion is probably my fourth, and it’s definitely on the more traditionally “masculine” side.

7. Do you take custom orders?
For perfumes, generally, no.Not to be all haughty about it, but I think it takes some of the magic out of my creations, the idea of just being an order taker—“Can you mix x, y, and z in a bottle and send it to me?” doesn’t sit well. I spend weeks working on my perfumes, in my kitchen, adding drops of this and that, sniffing, testing, pacing, thinking, adding more of this or that, trying to create an experience from scratch. I know that there are plenty of sellers out there who are happy to mix a few different notes for their customers who have a specific idea about what they want or who like the fun of choosing their own concoctions, and I’m totally cool with that. But I’m here to create original fragrances, and part of what makes mine original is the fact that they’re so incredibly complex. Nothing is more heartbreaking than, say, vending at an event, and having someone come up to my table, see the collection of perfumes that I made lovingly with my own hands and are truly like nothing they’ve ever encountered before, and ask me, “You got any patchouli?”
There was one exception, though, and I made it for Caitlin at Shiro Cosmetics. She’s a really cool gal, and a top-notch artisan herself, and she appreciates what it takes to create awesome stuff from scratch, and when she made the request she made it clear that she appreciatedthe complexity of the process. She wanted something citrusy and passionfruity, bright and happy but not overbearingly sweet or candy-like. I sent her samples during the process, and she gave her input, and we played very well together. I probably would never have created something like that on my own, and I was really happy that she nudged me into doing it. So I asked her if I could share the final product with the rest of my customers, and she very kindly agreed. I called it Tilt-a-Whirl. Incidentally, I’m running low on Tilt-a-Whirl; I really need to make more! In my spare time, perhaps. ;)

8. Do you have anyone who helps with creating scents?
It’s just crazy old me in my crazy old laboratory! But the concept of Step Right Up was a cooperative effort with my brother, Aaron. When he heard that I’d started creating perfumes, he started brainstorming with a bunch of elements that he’d been wanting to put together; apparently he’d done a bit of research on the subject! Turns out he and I were thinking of approximately the same nostalgic scent, an intangible, oceanic scent, and we had this really enthusiastic conversation about it, and I went back and played with it and Step Right Up emerged. I still consider it one of DC’s very best scents, though I’m a little jealous that it smells even better on Aaron than it does on me.
And though I do all the actual scent brewing myself, everyone should know that I take pride in making my packaging just as pretty as the products. My lovely full-sized bottle labels are designed by my handsome, large-brained husband, Leif. He’s also responsible for about half the “story” photos I use to illustrate the fragrances in the listings and on the solids and Bitsy vials. Several of the other “story” photos are taken by photographer friends—they’re credited in the listings; be sure to check out their work! The product photography I do myself, and I have all sorts of fun doing it. My apartment is pretty “Victorian,” and it’s chock full of cool props that help make those shots look warm and lovely. I want the whole shop experience to be beautiful, down to the handwritten tags on my samples.

9. You also carry some jewelry items, will you be expanding that part of your shop?
My shop actually began as a jewelry shop! :) I didn’t start doing perfumes until about a year later. It used to be all jewelry, all the time, until I got a bit burned out on jewelry making because I couldn’t say no to custom requests.
See, when I started creating jewelry, it was fun. I’d happily sit on the couch in the evenings after work with a pair of pliers while Leif killed things in Demon’s Souls, and I’d often turn out four or five pairs of earrings a night just for the sheer joy of making them. And they were all really unique pieces. But as word got around, I had more and more requests for custom orders, including from friends of the family who sincerely wanted to “help me out” by giving me business (and to whom I would in turn give huge discounts on my already very low prices, so I’d often end up just breaking even anyway, and being exhausted to boot).
Once people started asking me to duplicate designs I’d already done, again and again, it kind of killed the creativity. I felt like I was just mass-producing the pieces, and it was no longer fun. After last year’s holiday rush, I decided to take a break, and I learned to occasionally say no. ;) Now, I create jewelry only when it comes naturally, and though that means fewer pieces, I’m much happier for it, and I think the pieces are more special, too.
One of the nice things about the perfumes is that they’re just as enjoyable to create, but a batch can produce multiple bottles and tins, whereas when you sell a piece of jewelry, it’s gone, and you have to start over from scratch.
So, in fact, I’m not a perfumer who has started making jewelry; I’m a burned-out jewelry maker who lately has found perfuming much more rewarding and much less stressful. So as far as “expanding” the jewelry line goes, the answer is “I’ve already made craploads of jewelry, and I’ll make more when I darn well feel like it.” :P
Photo courtesy of Darling Clandestine

10. How long have you been making jewelry?
It’s been about two years. Here’s the thing. I come from a family teeming with master artisans. My grandfather, my father, my brother Aaron, my Aunt Pili, my Uncle Javi, my cousin Javi, and many more. They work with everything from paint to sculpture to fine jewelry to antique firearms. Many of them do it for a living. They are all absolutely fantastic at it.
When I began creating jewelry, I honestly did it just to see if I could. I thought wire wrapping was a really cool style, and I got a bunch of wire and some pliers and just set to work. I never used any tutorials or anything; it came incredibly naturally to me. I could just look at a piece and tell how it was made, and I started cranking out original designs like crazy. My dad said to me, “See, it had to come out somewhere.”

11. Since I have not been able to purchase any of your jewelry can you tell me a little about the materials you use and your inspiration behind your pieces?
Sure! I love working with wire—it’s lightweight, it’s versatile, and it’s inexpensive, which means I can create pieces that are affordable for everyone. My jewelry is formed completely by hand—not just strung or glued together (in fact, I never use glue of any kind). Some craft jewelers make very pretty things by buying pre-made settings and gluing cabochons or other items onto them, but I like to start from scratch, with a spool of wire. I make my own headpins, too—it just feels more “handmade” when I make the components myself instead of buying them. I do, however, buy my earwires from suppliers on Etsy, for safety’s sake.
Natural curves and lines are my inspiration—many of my jewelry pieces look vaguely like sea creatures or insects. You could call them “steampunk,” though I know a lot of folks tend to think of steampunk jewelry as jewelry with a bunch of watch gears glued onto it. I do occasionally use watch gears as part of my designs, but only if they’d logically be a working element in a “real” piece—i.e., the “fins” on my seahorse earrings (“steamhorses”) were watch gears (see the attached photo) because it seemed logical that a mechanical seahorse could propel itself by spinning a wheel like a millstone, or something. :P

12. I know you just recently added the solid scents to the shop, will we be seeing any new scents or products?
Definitely new scents! Keep watch this season for Maudlin & Bedlam, Vardøgr, Mad as Birds, and Limerence. I will also be releasing a 2011 edition of Big Top Train for the holidays—same story, completely different scent that pulls from different elements of the story. And hardcore fans will be happy to know that I have re-released Ballyhoo, which was originally created as a limited-edition fragrance. And I’m offering a sweet discount for anyone who purchased Ballyhoo in the past.(Also, psst! Go see my lockets, everybody!)
As for other kinds of products, I don’t have any specific plans yet to create bath scrubs or lotions or lip balms or that sort of thing, but I’ve been thinking about it. When I release a new product, it’s not just formulating the product itself that I have to consider; it’s also the packaging, labeling, etc., and that requires an investment, because, again, I want everything to be consistently beautiful. :) So it happens slowly. But I’ve definitely been thinking about it.
Since I’ve got very dense, curly hair, I’ve always been a fan of hair creams and pomades, and usually buy products made for African hair. So I’ve been toying with the idea of making hair products for Circassian beauties. :) I’ll let you know how that pans out.

13. Is there anything I have not asked that you want readers to know about you?
Thanks for asking! I want them to know how much awesome support I’ve gotten from my fellow perfumers and other crafters. When Lysa at The Morbid the Merrier bought from my shop—and subsequently sent some of my perfumes as gifts to Grey at the Gothique blog—I was absolutely thrilled and delighted, because it showed me that we’re not a bunch of competitors or copycats; we’re a community of artists, and though we share some common themes, we each have something truly original to offer. Many of us have huge collections of each other’s perfumes and products mingled with our own.Lysa in particular is an absolute class act, and I think her creations are absolutely dynamite. They can’t be topped, and they definitely can’t be duplicated.
My shop has gotten lots of exposure because of super-cool fellow artists, like Becca at One Hand Washes the Other, and I’ve become fast friends with lovely talented folks like Joanna at ProductBody and my branding hero Madame Scodioli, and was very happy to be “in” on the action when Andrew of Cirmes Tonsorial Parlour made his fragrance debut. I confess that I have probably spent the majority of my shop earnings on fellow artists’ creations, which made for a pretty spectacular handmade Christmas last year. :) And it’s not just perfumes and cosmetics; it’s printmakers and painters and ceramics artists and jewelers and knitters and crocheters and woodworkers and bakers and beekeepers and . . . ack, just too many to even name. I highly, highly recommend going with handmade whenever possible, for all sorts of products—it’s surprisingly affordable (often less expensive than commercial, even), and the variety is often staggering.
Oh! And I have a day job. I’d of course love to do this full time, but my day job has pretty awesome health insurance. Maybe someday when I’ve paid off my student loans (though I’m pretty sure I’ll be dead before that happens).

One last question...will you be having any upcoming sales, maybe for Black Friday/Cyber Monday that we can look forward to? Or I can just keep that to myself LOL
I always have a few sales up my sleeve. :) The best place to find them is at Though I must warn you that my company’s huge annual meeting is the week after Thanksgiving, so the best time to shop for the holidays with me is the following week. My turnaround time is two days, so your packages will arrive with plenty of breathing room.

THANK YOU so very much for this—I am absolutely honored to be interviewed!
Evonne would also like to be quoted as saying this "These questions are absolutely awesome, and that you are absolutely awesome, because you are?" To this I say thank you for being so incredibly sweet and thank you for answering all the questions from your heart, the love of your art and of life shows in each answer.

Now to my thoughts on the scents I have so far. I think I should say from the beginning that perfumes react differently on each person, that is part of the beauty of them. Darling Clandestines scents are so complex and deep, but they are not fussy scents. Each one has a story to be told, with most of them they took me back to a memory, let me try to explain in my descriptions.
Cloudswing-This scent is bright, earthy and fresh. It takes me back to rolling down the grassy hill in our back yard as a kid. 
Step Right Up-This scent is woody, spicy, and fresh all at the same time. It reminds me of hugging my Uncle Wayne, very comforting. One of my favorites.
Dulcinea-This scent is sweet but not overly sweet, tangy, with a touch of leather. When I smell this I immediately think of walking through a flea market as a kid eating a cherry snow cone while the parents were talking and browsing tables of things. This is probably my favorite scent
Tilt A Whirl-Oh this one is a scent for grown folks. It is citrus, spice, it is naughty but nice. This scent makes me feel like a sexy vixen but it could definitely be a unisex scent. 
Fire Eater-This is very bright and fresh but has a spice to it. If I shut my eyes and smell it, it is my dad working on cars coming in and cleaning up for dinner, but it is not overly manly. It could definitely be a unisex scent.
Inked-I smell leather, an oceany with a bit of well hello there you hunk (LOL) I wear this scent often and it smells quite nice so I would say a woman could wear it too.
Curiosities Ball-It is very leaves falling, peppery, sort of warm and cozy. Not a bold scent at all but one that people sniff the air as you walk by them. This makes me think of my Aunt and Uncles farm, running and playing in the fall air.
Serpentina-Oh now this one makes me feel like a lady. It has fresh, it is tea with a snap of opium. I really like this one, it is really nice.
Carny Wedding-This one is yummy. It smells like mildly sweet buttery gooey goodness mixed with woody notes. This takes me back to woodshop right after lunch where I would sneak buttery apricot danishes in and eat them because I spent lunch hour out back smoking . 
Circassian-This starts off like a warm chocolate and turns floraly, I find it to be a soothing scent. Call me crazy but this makes me think of my Grandma Nona who passed away when I was just a baby. I don't remember her at all, but this is what in my mind would be a scent she would wear. From stories I have heard she was kind, loving, very family oriented and so much fun to be around.
Monstre Delicat-This is a fresh and clean with a mysterious twist to it. Imagine doing laundry hanging it out to dry and a storm rolls up, that is exactly what this scent makes me think of. Definitely a scent for both men and women.
Pyrotechnik-This is another favorite of mine. It is melony, with a spicy sandalwood rounding it out. This is sitting on a picnic blanket on a summer day with the man you love, soft winds blowing while eating cantaloupe.

I've only tried the perfume oils so far, I wore Step Right Up yesterday. I put it on around 9am and when I snuggled up with the kids to watch The Wizard of Oz last night about 9pm I could faintly smell it still. I'm looking forward to trying the solid perfumes, I like to carry scents with me in my purse and I think they would work great for that. I wont carry oils in my purse, I'm always afraid they will leak and make me have a pouty lip.

Set of 3 samples-$3.50
Sample vials. Such cute presentation! The names are on the tickets.
Bitsy Vials $4-$6
Bitsy vials are on the left and right sides.
1/2oz solid perfume tins-$9
Photo courtesy of Darling Clandestine.
1/2oz vials-$11-$12

If your interest is peaked even a little order a few samples, with prices like that you can't go wrong really.
You can find the Darling Clandestine Facebook page here. This is where you can find sales codes, quick little contests, and sweet giveaways. 
You can find the shop by clicking here. I am not responsible for any addictions that may happen due to clicking that link! LOL
You can find my previous post on Darling Clandestine here. The sale on that post is no longer available, but keep your eye on the Facebook page sales happen often.

If you have ordered from Darling Clandestine I would love to hear what you think and what your favorite scents are.
Peace, Love and Cupcakes
*All products were purchased by myself except for Cloudswing which I won in a contest on the Darling Clandestine fan page, and the 3 samples sent with my missing item. All opinions are my own and I am not being paid or bribed into saying anything. This is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth as far as I am aware. 


  1. Great interivew! I have a lemming list from DC now!

  2. Thank you! I really have to get more, I need more full sizes, some solids, oh who am I kidding I need it all. LOL

  3. I've loved everything I've received from Darling Clandestine, except for Inked and Maudlin & Bedlam. The packaging, the scents, the stories, the customer service - Evonne runs an awesome shop and really deserves more shoppers! I just <3 DC :) I need to try the solids, only have oils so far.

  4. Eleni thank you for reading! I agree DC and Evonne are amazing.

  5. Thanks for the review! Are Dulcinea and Carny Wedding no longer available?

  6. @Amber- Sadly Carny Wedding is not going to be available until the spring (It is so worth the wait though!), Dulcinea looks like it may be gone for now as well. You can always message Evonne on Etsy and ask if she has one hidden away.



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