On the Edge

On the Edge

On the Edge

On the Edge

Posted by Trygve Sahar Harris on 26th Oct 2022

On the Edge

Of course you’ve noticed that we are in a huge and major shift right now; it would be absurd to pretend we’re not. But we have something celebratory coming up.

You may know that we are approaching our 25th year anniversary in the Village—that’s going to be the weekend of November 25-26-27. It’s Black Friday and the following couple of days. We hope you’re going to be around, because we are going to celebrate, at our store in New York. We will have some aromatic tidbits, a nice gift, and a cool announcement. Low key but quite happy and satisfying, if you can relate. No pressure, no huge deal, just come on by for cake and champagne.

As I seldom tire of saying, we started as a kiosk in Soho, in 1995, and then a tiny shop at 23 Jones Street for a couple of years after that. We had one of the first websites—this is before “social media” and it was aromata.com. You can find it on the wayback machine if interested. Because, in part, of our exhausting hidden gem vibe, and also because of that buildings’ horrible rat situation, in 1997 we moved out and up into 321 Bleecker Street, where we stayed the next 14 or so years. We also changed our name from Trygve! Aromatics to Enfleurage.

321 Bleecker was beautiful, with a barrel vault ceiling, in the theme of an Arabian Souq. Over the years we had an inventory of the best and most unusual skincare and aromatic products we could find. We had a local corner, showcasing small indie brands from the 5 boroughs; we had a fresh bar where I’d make skincare from fruits vegetables and other edibles—we kept them in a refrigerated deli case. We had classes and workshops, and of course our own blending bar where we would whip up aromatherapeutic essential oil blends as requested. We also specialized in Yemeni aromatics, Agarwood, and Japanese incense.

We created so many different logos, so many different labels, we made our own massage oils, face care, essential oil blends. And we carried over our original blends: Citrus Cheer, Cardio Calm, Sex, Sleep, Serene Spirit.

We stayed alive after the September 11 attacks….so many of our dear customers made a point to shop with us—you were so supportive! Even though we were closed for a couple of weeks, and our city was stunned into a stupor, even through the toxic miasma of smoke and gas from the destroyed towers, we reopened and survived.

Some of you may remember Robear, our 3-legged Golden friend, who came to work with me every day, by taxi; his grace, sweetness and calm kind spirit attracted his own fans. Many people would come in just to see him, to hug him and sneak him a treat. He passed in 2003 from osteo-sarcoma.

For several years I tried to coax Tom in managing the company—he had another job as a massage therapist at Relax but eventually he obliged! At the end of 2011, just after Black Friday in fact, we moved into our new and current location, 237 West 13 Street. With Tom’s vision, we changed our focus utterly, eliminating anything not made by us, and any odd synthetic we had lurking around—there were not many. Joe became our in-house perfumer and compounder. The chaos of Bleecker was replaced by a serene elegance and this is what you experience today when you come to Enfleurage. During these years I spent much of my time sourcing essential oils, looking for the best oils in northern Vietnam, and France, Paraguay and Egypt, Thailand and India, Laos.

West 13 has taken on a life of its own. Our focus has shifted away from aromatherapy, and more towards essential oils as amazing beings in their own right. Whether your interest is pure olfaction, aromatherapy, perfumery, flavors, we are right there with you. We make our own pomades, roll-ons, all-botanical perfumes, candles, some skin and bath/hair care, and we stock a few carefully selected complementary items.

Also in 2011, we legally opened our own frankincense distillery in Salalah, Dhofar, Sultanate of Oman. Over the years I have been the one running the distillery, and Tom has been in New York. Frankincense production has improved with our years of practice, and we make an excellent quality Omani Boswellia sacra oil. Enfleurage has become synonymous with frankincense, in some parts of the world.

We routinely export to China, Japan, Europe, and of course, to North America.

When I try to take in how things have changed, from hand carrying our boxes down Bleecker when we moved in, and installing our first POS system, to making our own frankincense candles and supplying our (mostly organically grown) essential oils to many independent perfumers.

The world has changed as well, and if I concentrate, I can remember how it was. Younger people have a different perspective; we are now older than some of our customers! So we must relate to the world in a different way, naturally. It makes me constantly adjust, and try to look beyond my first tendency and to not relax into habit for too long. Just look at this photo! it's like another world we came from.

We look forward to 2023 being the next chapter of Enfleurage, with a new addition, in a new city, and a new country, and new specialties, and a new aromatic world. Our slate is clean and inviting. We’ve done our preliminaries, and we’ll be ready to go in 2023. Watch this space and check our social media and newsletter for updates!

And don’t forget to come in during the weekend of Black Friday, this year, for treats and fun!

Photo courtesy of T. Harris/Enfleurage Private Collect/Bleecker

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