Someone stole a bunch of stuff from our orders that were out for pickup. So, keep your eyes out for a shifty looking character with moisturized skin who smells of Mint Garden and Vanilla Bean. Imagine stealing a bar of Stress Relief Soap? Maybe they needed it more than we did. If our lotion highway woman/man is reading this, please keep the products with our complements. They’re certainly not worth a guilty conscience, and while we might feel a tinge of grrr, we remain mostly grateful for the kind, caring customers we serve on a daily basis, and hope you’ll return (to purchase products) after trying them.
Joel and Katy
Two weeks later...
Two weeks later...
Someone stole our products again ... but they mighttt not have gotten what they thought they did.
In the days following the theft, I got to thinking. I spend a lot of time obsessively engineering candles, soaps, and other products to delight our customers and bring them back again. Could we reverse engineer a candle to make it so awful someone would turn from their life of crime? Like all R&D projects, the question lingered, nagged, and needed answering.
We chose candles because the thief took the most of them, so we thought if they were going to steal again, that would be their target, and I set out to create a fragrance that was truly nauseating. As a base, we started with one part patchouli. Patchouli smells like old moss or decaying leaves, and while it’s loved by a few and makes a fantastic base note at 10%, the vast majority find it repulsive. Next, I added one part tea tree. Tea tree has a strong medicinal smell that we usually taper by using it with lots of lavender in our facial bars, because it’s good for acne. Combined with patchouli, it was already beginning to churn my stomach, but I thought we could do better, or more appropriately, worse.
I went to a small drawer in our soap studio where I kept fragrance samples, and there it was: a pumpkin spice that was so heavy and sickly sweet, that I only kept it as a reminder to never order it. I poured the bottle into the concoction, and the effect was vomitous. The whole mixture was vile, each awful scent note building upon the other, rippling through my senses like opening Tupperware with dairy that has gone off or finding a forgotten gym bag. For good measure, I added a note of clean cotton, another discarded fragrance, which gave it the smallest base note of 80s baby powder, prickling the nostrils to the finish.
Chuckling to myself, I averted my nose, and added it to the wax, increasing the fragrance load 20% past our normal levels, and then poured it into jars. After it had cooled, I added a thin layer of lavender, which our thief has shown a propensity towards, to disguise the repugnant contents. I labeled them with lavender labels, put them in the hallway, and waited. The trap was set.
Last Friday, someone took them. They were in a bag labeled “Anne” after the notorious 1700s Irish pirate who upon being released from prison, moved to South Carolina, and lived the rest of her life in “uneventful domestic fashion,” our wish for our criminal.
I drove around town that day laughing, picturing them reclining in their living room with friends and a calming lavender candle burning in the background. Suddenly, their nose twitches, catching an unfamiliar smell, and their stomach tightens. They try to push it out of their mind, but soon the whole room smells like a 60s after party held in a hospital hallway where someone has spilled a vat of pumpkin filling and tried to clean it up with cheap laundry detergent.
“What happened to your mercy?” they might ask, like Dumas’ Fernand in The Count of Monte Cristo. To paraphrase Edmond, “I’m a soap-maker, not a saint.”