Body Conjure : Greg Wharton
"I'm Greg Wharton creator of the Body Conjure line of fragrance andco-founder of Mother Maggie’s spiritual supplies.
"Fresh layered compounds of fine essential botanicals are blended into rich and beautiful creations that have wonderful and sometimes surprising stories to tell for each wearer."-BC
I'm a perfumer, a tattooed cat-loving tree-hugging sex-positive vegetarian queer pagan, and an award-winning author, editor, and former publisher living in the redwoods in western Sonoma County, California, just a walk away from the Russian River and a short journey to the Pacific Ocean. I'm a loving, stubborn, energetic, artistic, and lusty Taurus (Taurus rising/Scorpio moon).
Body Conjure grew from creating our Mother Maggie's spiritual supplies. Along with other products I created 23 spiritual condition oils and colognes, simple in design and modest in price, but balanced between historical magical uses of essential oils and the want to make them beautiful to wear.
My new line of perfume and product has been a lovely exciting journey further into fragrance, each more complicated and layered, using exclusive essentials and botanicals, to create one of a kind perfume strength compounds that each have a surprising story to tell."- GW
Body Conjure perfumes are created and bottled in small batches by hand by Greg Wharton for Mother Maggie's in beautiful west Sonoma County California.
- Have you always had an interest in scent and fragrance?
I’ve had a lifelong love/hate relationship with fragrance. From childhood through some point in my early 20s I was strangely addicted to Paco Rabanne cologne. Then I didn’t wear anything specific for many years. So much of the mass fragrance market is synthetic-based. I won’t say there’s anything wrong with this. Every wearer reacts to their own nose and preference. But I do find that, for me, much of the mass market scents smell harsh and I honestly am allergic to many perfumes. Scent is a strong sense. And one that is very important to me. It creates memories, guides reactions and motivates, causes hunger, desire, and lust. I love the smell of changing weather. And forests. I won’t go into great personal detail here but the human body creates its own amazing array of scents that guides us through life and life’s choices, whether we realize it or not.
For many years I’ve enjoyed wearing single or double notes throughout a day, especially good quality wood oils. Yum. I still do, though I’m now addicted to a couple of my Body Conjure recipes so more often than not I have one of them on. I want fragrance that will blend and change with my own body’s chemistry. It should be a journey, pleasurable, personal. Yes I love it when someone says I smell good, but I wear fragrance for me. Do I wear fragrance when alone? Yes I do.
- How did you first start becoming involved in the perfume world—what is your background and history?
- Can you talk about the store that you started and how this project branched from it?
I worked in the lab making product for a spiritual supply shop called Lucky Mojo for several years. This is where I started getting real experience with essential oils and herbs, working hands-on to create the product the shop sells under its own label.
I once ran an independent literary press called Suspect Thoughts Press. We published amazing books by incredible voices for ten years. The press has now closed but my former business partner (and ex-husband) Ian Philips and I were a great team and decided to make another dream come true and open our own online, and perhaps later brick & mortar, spiritual supply store. In preparation, I continued to investigate, read, and experiment with what I learned at Lucky Mojo to combine traditional spiritual uses of botanicals with my own esthetics, eventually creating a line of 23 “condition” products (such as Calm & Focus & Lust & Protection) for the store Mother Maggie’s. Ian is hand-painting the labels for the product. Mother Maggie’s is several years in the making but will launch this fall.
Along with other products there are perfume oils and (alcohol) colognes for each condition. Both of these especially intrigued me. Because of the cost aspect and keeping prices reasonable for the shop my recipes use mostly essential oils but some fragrance alternatives. Not a bad thing. I’m very proud of these blends. But at the same time I wanted to experiment and create with more exclusive and high-end botanicals. That’s when the real fun began of creating and testing (with big thank yous to my dedicated testing crew who patiently wore and gave feedback on each and every combination and revision) what has become the new Body Conjure line of fragrance.
- Tells us about the lines theme and character.
I use high-quality natural essential oils, absolutes, and CO2s to create the Body Conjure perfumes and product. [Except—and this is the only exception—two of my ten perfumes contain a most amazing peach fragrance oil, shoot me if you must but it is fabulous…] The perfumes are 33% concentration in either an almond oil or alcohol base. Each is also available in soap, bath salts, and lotion.
The ten are each very different in character, from green to wood and spice to fruit and floral. While I admit that men do overall gravitate to some scents and women to others I don’t designate the scents and hope that any of them will be enjoyed regardless of gender.
My focus was not to revolutionize—but to create a line of intriguing, varied, and unique fragrance from some really amazing natural botanicals. Like a painting or a song each will appeal to a different heart. I am creating; this is my art. So I’m combining other art as part of it too. My labels are inspired by a van Gogh painting. I wrote short confessionals for each scent hoping to capture a possible aspect of each. Many sexy; some funny; a few bittersweet.
I carry samples of the line everywhere with me. But as I’m sure has always been key: how do you sell a scent without scent?
I’m now filming short videos of friends reading each confessional for each as well. I’ve had some feedback from friends farther away who also want to do videos so I’m thinking of opening this up to a new side project of short selfie confessional videos for the line. Fun! At the least, the site (and youtube) will soon have some videos of my confessionals.
- What are your views on where the perfume world is now and where it’s headed?
Fragrance is big business. But I’m seeing huge creativity in smaller, niche, and natural perfume houses. There’s truly original quality, character, humor, and variation with other art forms. There’s also an interest in combining historical spiritual perfumery with not-so-traditional fragrance technique. Very exciting stuff.
The corporations have money and big-budgets so they will always succeed. Focused big-money advertising creates consumers. Hopefully the smaller artists and houses will thrive and will continue to share their art with the world.
- Did you have any fears if any when starting?
Yes I have fears every day, about much of life! Sometimes a drive causes anxiety and sometimes it’s pure pleasure (especially since I live in gorgeous Northern Californian in the Redwoods, the Russian River, and wine country!). Sometimes I fear age or mortality. I fear love but can’t live without it. I fear arachnids.
But I conquer (many, but not all of my) fears by telling the voices to stop and just taking action. Failure at any task, large or small, is always possible if that’s how you define it. But I’ve seen so many people go through life with regrets of not taking action, on love, chances, and their dreams. With Ian we wrote, we edited, and we created the press that helped many authors and editors realize or start their dreams. This was our dream. And we can do it again with our store Mother Maggie’s and my Body Conjure line.
While I want Body Conjure to be successful, I’m not focused on selling huge batches worldwide. Yes to small batches worldwide though! This is personal natural perfumery. An art form. And I’m painting and singing with botanicals! And hoping others will enjoy my songs as much as I enjoy singing them.
- Finally, do you have anything else that you would like to share?