The brand offers four scents centred around sage, redwood, pink peppercorn and juniper berry — all of which are sourced from Janna’s home state then freshly extracted from their raw botanicals, as opposed to distilled by heat or chemicals. To be sure, this is a signature Ojai Wild practice, and a conscious one at that. Each cologne is then blended with essential oils and absolutes.
From taking us by the hand and encouraging us to think of nature’s authentic smells as the base of all the concoctions that she creates, to acknowledging the exposure and extraction of a plant’s essence both literally and figuratively, we find ourselves appreciating scents all the more because of Janna; and because of the beauty of botanicals.
Working as a painter and printmaker prior to that, Janna’s passions culminated in one life-changing opportunity when a request for her to create a fragrance of her home city for an art exhibit led to the launch of her own brand, Ojai Wild some three years later.
Can you tell us about your love for scents, and the story behind the brand specifically?
Not surprisingly, Ojai Wild evolved out of an invitation to create a scent to embody the Ojai Valley for an art exhibit at a Porch Gallery in Ojai.
These are skin-loving, yes, but the presence and fragrance of each are quite distinctive and interesting to work with.
I’m infatuated with yarrow. As an ancient remedy, it’s one of the most useful medicinal plants known. Its quality has the presence of a drum; a heartbeat, used in healing ceremonies, rites of passage, ancestral worship, warrior rituals, as well as social dances and celebrations.
Marshmallow root is an amazing emollient that smells earthy and grungy — mushroomy. Working with it as a scent is an intriguing challenge, like trying to find qualities to build a relationship with someone you don’t admire.
Chamomile is my love affair. It’s the most delicate simple flower whose beauty is not so incredible that it couldn’t be compared with others — until the essence is extracted. That’s when you’re in the presence of the tiny daisy’s bewitching allure. Its honey-like, soothing, calming characteristics and scent symbolise the depth of emotion that intensifies her magnetism.
Helichrysum is sexy. It’s full of mystery and power. It resonates an unexpected fragrance that’s toasty, buttery, fruity and multi-layered. It’s well known in the skincare industry for its anti-ageing properties.
Holy basil is intoxicating and full of spiritual meaning and healing properties. In Hinduism, it’s considered sacred and is grown near almost every Hindu house. It has a strong odour profile and is considered an accessory note that requires discernment to work with. I love it because of the restraint required in using it. It’s fascinating to construct a balanced fragrance with such a distinctive mainstream scent as the featured note.
Tell us about the brand’s four perfumes, and what makes each of them so unique.
Ojai Wild captures this essence by fresh extraction (no heat) which derives the most authentic likeness to the botanical. Other methods of distillation require heat or chemicals: steam, hydro distillation, absolute and carbon dioxide. Consequently, the plant takes on a different character profile and odour.
There’s also a beautiful, metaphorical magic that happens in this tincture method of extraction. As we open the plant up by breaking it down, crushing it, pressing it, soaking it — it becomes a decomposition that allows itself to give all that it has left to give: the essence of itself.
Thus, we are metaphorically being asked to strip ourselves of our ego and open ourselves up to our essence.
Tell us about the ‘Godseye’ images emblazoned on the perfume boxes.
How do you personally use scents to calm, de-stress and relax?
What is your advice for someone who wants to shop for, and switch to using such scents?
How should one go about pairing colognes with our individual scents?
What is one thing you’d like for people to know about the power of scents and how it impacts the body and mind?
What is the typical shelf life of organic perfumes, and is it necessary for them to be stored in violet glass bottles?
What does conscious living mean to you?