Scent in Business

I have talked about home scents and the positive ways it can affect you, but it’s not only in your home that this happen’s, shops, restaurants, hotels even banks are catching on to the fact that the importance of scents does not only apply to the home interior market. Scent makes it easier to build authentic, emotional connections with customers, as humans are most receptive when all 5 senses are active. Most businesses only use sight and sound to communicate with customers. Ambient scent uses fragrance to enhance the experience of consumers. Scent branding is unique to each company’s identity. Researchers around the globe have conducted field studies on the effects of ambient scent and there is much research on emotion and scent marketing. The research clearly shows scent has the power to affect our emotional state. But what does that mean in the context of a business?

In the wake of the Ecommerce boom, customer expectations have changed and customers seek unique (emotional) experiences. The Harvard Business Review found that emotionally connected customers are 52% more valuable to a brand than those who are just satisfied. According to branding expert and author Martin Lindstrom, of all the senses, smell is the most persuasive.

When it comes to the retail sector, scents can play a major role in affecting consumers’ purchasing habits and determining whether their in-store experience is one that will be repeated or not. Although some retail store owners will argue that they like to concentrate on visual elements, ambient scenting offers a number of proven benefits to retailers. Customers browse longer in stores where pleasant fragrances are diffused, increasing the chances of a purchase. Also, when offering an inviting environment the shopping experience becomes memorable and the shopper’s perspective of the store is affected positively.

In more recent years, companies have begun to recognize the power of scent. Fashion companies have learned to capitalize on how a particular scent can help customers form an emotional attachment to their brand. And it’s become a common strategy for big companies to take full advantage of sensory design by scenting their spaces with aromas that represent their brand and appeal directly to their target market. Abercrombie & Fitch has their own men’s fragrances, Fierce, which is scented throughout the stores as a way to support the company’s character, giving off what they would describe as a confidence, bold and masculine lifestyle.

Eric Spangenberg, a consumer psychologist and academic found that once feminine scents like vanilla were released, women’s sales doubled. Similar were the effects on men when more masculine smells were released. According to Spangenberg, “Men don’t like to stick around when it smells feminine, and women don’t linger in a store if it smells masculine.”

Switching the scents during the day can also change the mood, in the morning using invigorating scents like citrus and peppermint scents give a different energy to a space. By changing to a calming scent, later in the day or evening the energy will alter too. The company, At-Aroma, which specializes in scent, uses the elements of essential oils to develop its fragrances, in particular its Supplement Air series. Blends like For Wake Up (with peppermint and lemon) and For Meditation (with cypress and eucalyptus) are intended to aid the mind and body in particular activities.

Certain essential oils like eucalyptus and tea tree are also valued for their antiviral properties. However, while some manufacturers have noted growing demand for essential oils amidst the coronavirus pandemic, industry experts warn that it’s impossible to make any claims about essential oils’ efficacy against COVID-19.  However, when I worked for a company selling essential oils, we always sprayed a blend of eucalyptus and tea tree during the flu scents in our shops and it did appear to stop the staff members getting colds and flu as frequently. With global attention on health and sanitation, many businesses are enhancing their cleaning practices with fresh room fragrances to meet higher customer expectations of cleanliness. I feel this will be an area of major growth in the coming years. People don’t always look for the signs of clean, they often smell for them, I know I do.

Scents are such an important part of a consumer’s experience that there are firms which specialize specifically in scent marketing. Scent Air has helped industry worldwide to create powerful customer experiences using fragrance for 20 years, by offering a science-backed approach to custom fragrances (scent branding) and to scenting spaces.  They use a wide selection of scent machines and systems to diffuse non-toxic fragrance that has proofed to be successful.

Consumers are craving rich experiences and emotional connections from the businesses they use. In fact, businesses that deliver exceptional experiences can grow twice as fast.  It’s not just shops, restaurants and hotels can create a feel of cosiness, luxury and even exhilaration through scent. Researchers tested the ability of ambient scent to create a positive first impression in a hotel. The results found that a fragrance matching a hotel’s brand identity generates a more favourable view from guests including higher perceptions of comfort cleanliness and even food tasting better.

So, I feel that we will be finding more and more businesses in particular post-covid looking to ambient scent to offer their customers that little extra. Particularly when people get their sense of smell back!

Can Plants Improve the Air Pollution in Your Home?

There is an increase of indoor pollution in our homes, which can lead to allergies and lung problems. Are the air-tight, insulated, clean homes we live in harmful to our health? Could the humble houseplant be our saviour? As certain common plants have been shown to remove toxic agents naturally from the air.

Indoor air pollution is linked to the risk of pneumonia, COPD and lung cancer. Pollution in your home can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you have asthma, your symptoms might get worse if you have an allergic reaction to a pollutant in the air. The quality of the air we breathe indoors is affected by many things: how a building is ventilated, room temperature, damp, condensation, dust mites, cleaning products, heating, cooking, building materials used in construction, modern furnishings, pets, scented candles and cigarette smoke.

We use a wide range of household chemicals every day to clean and decorate our homes which are then released into the air inside our homes. Some of these can contain chemicals called VOCs, (volatile organic compounds) which are found in furniture polish, air fresheners, oven cleaners, glues and detergents. Although more research is needed before we can be fully certain about the effects of breathing in these chemicals in our homes, existing studies do suggest that being exposed to these can increase your risk of developing an allergy. ( As an asthmatic all of these have in the past caused me breathing problems and increased coughing) So, look for products that are labelled allergy friendly, as they have lower levels of volatile chemicals. Natural cleaners like hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are easy to use and cheaper than most commercial chemical cleaners. Use solid or liquid cleaning products rather than sprays that go into the air. Using toxic, chemical cleaning products can makes your home unhealthy.

In the UK, we use a lot of air fresheners, plug-ins, wipes and cleaning products. The characteristic lemon-fresh or pine so familiar in bleaches and washing up liquids comes from fragranced chemicals like limonene and alpha pinene chemicals, not harmful, but it’s what they turn into once released into the air that’s the concern. One of the known secondary products of all fragrance chemicals once they react in the air is formaledehyde ( VOC) with has carcinogenic and breathing-irritant properties. Everyday exposure to indoor chemicals such as formaldehyde may contribute to increasing cancers and other illnesses. The levels of formaldehyde in the air and water are strictly regulated by law in the UK. In small concentrations, they are a normal part of our environment. However, exposure to high levels of VOCs indoors is a source of concern among health professionals, particularly their effect on the delicate airways of children.

In NASA experiment published in 1989, it found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing VOCS like formaldehyde and benzene. However, in 2018, Michael Waring, an associate professor of architectural and environmental engineering stated that Houseplants, though charming, do little to purify the air in a room, scientists who study the air we breathe appear to be divided in their oppinons. As one study found that within just two days, the plant removed up to 90% of the toxins found in indoor air. Through photosynthesis, they convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen and can also remove toxins from the air.

Dr Tijana Blanusa, principal horticultural scientist at the Royal Horticultural Society, explained that research into the impact of houseplants on indoor air quality has intensified over the past few years, particularly the ability of plants to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) and other volatile organic compounds, such as those emitted from paints and furnishings. When CO2 builds up, it results in drowsiness, dizziness and headaches and creates a stuffy, unhealthy home. All leafy green plants will remove some CO2 during the daytime, which they use for photosynthesis. The RHS stresses that plants remove VOCs at a slower pace and not quickly enough to have much effect on the air quality of your home. But that houseplants can enhance our lives in a number of ways like improving moods and reducing stress. Adding plants into the areas you are working in, (if home-working) is said to increase productivity, improve attention span and creativity. Which is another great reason for having a few plants, scattered about.

So, no clear-cut answers for now, but it’s an area of ongoing and exciting research, which I will keep following closely. I think that adding plants to your home can look lovely in a room, making you feel energised by the space around you. Some plants are better at improving the quality of air such as Palms, Ferns, Ivy, Chrysanthemums and Spider Plants.

Spider plants, known as air plants, grow quickly and look great in hanging baskets.

Golden pothos, known as devil’s ivy, flourishes in a variety of conditions and can grow up to 8 feet One of the most effective indoor air purifiers for removing common toxins.

Chrysanthemums are ranked the highest for air purification. They’re shown to eliminate common toxins as well as ammonia.

English ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen climbing plant well adapted to indoor conditions. Different varieties prefer different light situations from indirect light to low-light spaces.

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) Remove common household toxins like ammonia.

Bamboo palms add a healthy dose of moisture into the air, making it a welcome addition in dry winter months.

Rubber plants are evergreen trees and these plants love bright, light and a little attention occasionally.

If you have pets such as cats and dogs, you may want to reconsider air-purifying plants as many of these plants can be toxic to them. Ask the staff at your local garden centre about pet-safe options.

Also, an increase in plants can also affect humidity and promote mould growth, to prevent this, let the water drain into a pan or a tray and remove the excess water regularly.

One final point about home air pollution, open your windows every day to let the fresh air enter your home. Even for a few precious minutes a day even when it’s a bit cold outside and especially if you’re cooking or using the shower. Your home will feel better for it and you feel good too.

A (Naturally) Fragrant Home

All five of the senses work together to give a full picture of our surroundings. The sense of smell works more acutely on our brain than we realize, having the power to trigger memories and feelings. It has been proven through a number of studies that fragrance can affect a person’s mood, so choosing a scent that puts you in a happy and relaxed state of mind is really important during a time of 24/7 home-confinement. Finding the perfect home-scent can contribute to your well-being by triggering positive emotions that allow you to fully unwind and recharge.

We encounter a lot of smells in a day, our nose’s are often subjected to some very unpleasant ones; in the street, at work, pollution, stale tobacco, the list is endless. I’m a big fan of perfume in any form and if I walk into a room and smell a lovely fragrance, its instantly uplifing. When someone visits your home it’s often the first thing they notice. A quick spray of Febreze doesn’t work anymore. However wonderfully furnished and accessorised, for rooms to be fully complete, the way they smell is the missing link. The mystery ingredient if you like. How your home smells can leave a lasting impression and is just as important as its visual appearance. Fragrance is often underestimated and seen as an afterthought rather than an integral part of a home. But have you ever wondered why you get a great feeling when you smell fresh flowers or ground coffee?

At-Aroma a Tokyo- based fragrance design company, they design a fragrance for a space which is described as scent architecture. In Japan, the importance of scent to the overall design of a space relates to the tradition of kodo. In more recent years more western companies have begun to recognize the power of scent. Restaurants, hotels and spas often use fragrance to create a specific atmosphere that they want to portray to match their image. Like the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York who collaborated with French perfumers Le Labo to develop their signature scent.

Scented candles have been raised to objects of celebrity status and desire in social media.( Blame the millennials) The choice is huge, you can get tealights, pillar candles, taper candles, votive candles, container candles, scented, unscented, beeswax, vegan candles, soy wax melts and even charcoal sticks. We have gone a little crazy for home fragrance. A home can’t be Instagram ready without a (branded) candle.

To fragrance a home, there are scented candles, incense, essential oils, room sprays and diffusers. The most popular been candles and reed diffusers. Reed diffusers infuse the room with a constant background scent and candles provide a mood-setting glow and fragrance. Home-scents are not used purely for necessity but for creating a warm and intimate space that encourages comfort and happiness.

It is best to avoid a strong scent that can dominate an entire room or one that is too subtle to smell. Floral scents are relaxing, I love Rose and Jasmine, (perfect for a bedroom or bathroom) woody scents like Frankincense can make you feel grounded (think of churches) and the freshness of citrus invigorates. For kitchen spaces, the distinct aromas of lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and herbs; lemongrass, ginger, basil and rosemary can cover up cooking odours. In the bedroom to create ambiance, warm, floral scents are lovely. A candle or diffuser with lavender and jasmine is an aroma-therapeutic, sleep-inducing treat. Light, aromatic, nature-inspired; green tea, fig, leaves, grasses and bamboo are perfect for the main living area and give a connection with the outdoors. Do take into account whether it’s a small or large space. Children and pets are more sensitive to smell so factor this into your choices. If you want to match your home-scent to the seasons, try lighter, fruits and florals in summer and warmer, spices and woods in winter. After a while you can go nose-blind, so it’s a good idea to change the room fragrance regularly.

It’s crucial to source your home fragrances from companies producing natural products to keep your air clean of harsh chemicals. These products can be more expensive but do also last much longer as well as better for the environment.

Diffusers- Oil diffusers don’t create smoke and thus won’t spread toxins in the same way as candles. Larger diffusers can scent an entire room, in smaller spaces, reduce the reeds used or opt for a gentler scent. The reeds in a diffuser should be inverted (turned) every two weeks to maximise the fragrance and maintain a consistent level of scent within the room. With diffusers you can leave them unattended and are fairly low-maintenance. Aesthetically, many of the bottles can act as a stylish centrepiece or you can pour the liquid into a pretty glass or ceramic container of your own. A narrower top will ensure the fragrance doesn’t fade as quickly, but if it does turn the reeds, to instantly refresh the room.

Candles– are great for an intimate event, like dinner or a bath, as they give off light and scent. Luxury candles can be made primarily with synthetic scent and boosters to help a smaller amount of fragrance go further. I prefer candles that aren’t made with synthetic ingredients. Natural candles use natural wax and essential oils. Scented candles with artificial fragrances can release synthetic compounds into the air, which can cause skin, eye and nose irritations. Paraffin wax is the predominant wax used in the candle industry. It’s the final by-product in the petroleum refining chain. (Described as the bottom of the barrel). Although there is no conclusive evidence that burning paraffin candle wax is damaging to your health, natural waxes like soy, vegetable and beeswax offer a non-toxic alternative. (Having a very low environmental impact and footprint) These burn cleaner and slower, with less soot than cheaply manufactured waxes so the candle lasts much longer. Ventilate your room after extinguishing a candle to get rid of any toxins released particularly if using paraffin candles. Breathing too much of any type of smoke can potentially damage your health, so don’t burn candles for longer than four hours and cool for at least two hours before relighting. When first lighting a candle burn for three hours to ensure that the wax melts evenly and to the edge and bottom of the candle to prevent tunnelling, which is a hole or ‘tunnel’ in the centre of the candle caused by uneven burning. Trim the wick to around three millimetres, so the wick burns at the same speed as the candle. For some really lovely natural scented candles go to Neom and the Bathhouse.        www.neomorganics.com         www.thebathhouseshop.co.uk

I believe that the right scent creates a unique character to a room or home. Your personal choice of fragrance can make a house feel like a home. It’s an everyday affordable luxury. So, why not treat yourself to a candle or diffuser, natural of course and see if it makes you feel you good!

Healing Your Home

I have talked before about your home been a haven, Home is where the heart is after all.  But what about a home that doesn’t feel quite right? Sometimes you can’t quite put your finger on what’s wrong. Take notice, you do need to listen to your heart, intuition and gut feeling.

 I love walking into a house or flat that has good energy. Comfortable furniture and interesting accessories play their part in making a home feel great, but a home that has good energy is just not as tangible as the décor. An open mind is required as I shall aim to explain.

There are many ways to heal the energy in your home. Having a healthy home is important to your health. The energy in a healthy home promotes healing and rejuvenation. It has a wonderful feeling of lightness and clarity, where you can feel relaxed, inspired and energised all at the same time. The atmosphere or feel of a home is so important.

Everything is made up of energy. Some energy we can see, some we cannot. Energy can be positive or negative. Positive energy makes us feel good whilst negative energy is draining. If you are living with negative energy this can manifests itself in many ways; harming relationships, creating a bad atmosphere, causing tiredness and poor health. If you’ve just moved into a new space, you should cleanse your home of any negative energies that might still be there from the previous owners. Have you ever felt an uneasy feeling when you entered a room or building? I know I have!

Homes become sick for many reasons, they can become cluttered and dirty and in energy terms, anything that is untidy, unfinished or unloved, holds onto stagnant energy and disrupts the flow of good energy. Ever more complex than that is the energies generated by us humans. (Arguments, divorce, stress from work and life, physical and mental illness, bullying, hatred and other negative circumstances) We all leave an energetic trace or pattern wherever we go. These can prove to be harmful to others who are vibrating on a different level to us.

It is, however, possible to clear poor energy from within your home through various spiritual clearing practises. The adverse emotional energy has to go somewhere and the bricks and mortar will soak it up like a sponge as does furniture and other items. I have tried some techniques myself, like crystals and using a bell and others I been told about.

Smudging-You have probably seen images of people waving bundles of sage, sometimes mixed with herbs or essential oils like lavender, lemon, juniper berry and cedarwood, mugwort or lighting a piece of Palo Santo. (Wood from the Bursar graveolens tree native to South America and used for healing and cleansing) Smudging is an ancient ceremonial practice used by Native Americans. It’s a process of burning herbs to cleanse and protect a space and when they start to smoke, it blows away any negative energy. It’s easy to perform yourself; first, you need to open all of the doors and windows in your home, then hold the sage and light the end until it starts to smoke. Then you can start the smudging practice, make your way from room to room, waving the smoke into all of the opened and closed spaces and corners. After you’ve smudged each room, you can now cleanse your house with salt. Pour salt into each corner and let it sit for 48 hours (the salt can absorb negative energy). Ring a bell three times in each corner to break up any stagnant energy. Many people choose to use salt lamps to continue clearing bad energy, I have one of these myself.

Crystals- scientists tend to scoff at the idea of crystals having any mystical properties, but crystals have been used all over the world for thousands of years, for adornment, healing and protection. The beauty of using crystals, is that they work with what you already have and are affordable to buy. Pink quartz crystals built up love and positive vibrations. Black tourmaline is powerful for soaking up bad vibes and works well when placed in each corner of a room. Put clear quartz, selenite and calcite next to the Wi-Fi router. Amethyst is known as a master healer. If there is a lot of emotion, try an amethyst cave (a bit like a big rock) it draws in energy, transmutes it and sends it out again. I will write an additional post about crystal power.

Music- is a vibration and those waves or frequencies, reverberate throughout your home. If you listen to music that has positive vibrations, it will broadcast those positive vibrations throughout your home. Think of the vibrations that emanate from bells ringing. The sound is both pleasing to your ears and has a positive effect on your home. There are even some studies that indicate the ringing of bells, like church bells, is an effective treatment for depression and other mental disorders. Tibetan bowls, cymbals, bells, and chimes are also special tools for sound healing, and you can use them to move the sound into the corners of each room to clear the energy. Investing in some wind chimes to hang inside, or outside your home, can give you the same healing benefits as ringing a bell.

Dowsing- is a type of divination employed in attempts to malign earth vibrations. Spiritual dowsing wasn’t used much before the latter part of the twentieth century. Prior to that time, dowsing was more focused on subjects like water and mineral locations. Its growing in popularly for clearing negative energy and geopsychic stresses. The level of stress is measured through dowsing before and after clearing to ensure the stress has been cleared. Geopsychic Stress is the generic term used to cover all the seen and unseen energy patterns, including negative imprints, negative thought forms, trapped souls and entitles, magnetic waves and geological fault streams. This is an area; I don’t know that much about and there are healers working in this field who can help to heal your home and give a more detailed explanation. It would be remiss of me not to mention this as this, although I think it best to take advice from a home healer rather than doing it yourself.

The Greek prefix Geo signifies earth and Pathos means disease or suffering. Geopathic Stress is a form of stress that is underground and can be from underground streams, geological fault streams, tunnels and mines and crossing points of energy and ley lines. These can cause energy stresses above ground where we live. All electrical items produce magnetic waves and these will be measured as Electromagnetic Stress. Electrical items include TV’s, Wi-Fi, microwaves, electric wires, fuse boxes and electric clocks. Some people are sensitive to these waves. Part of the clearing process is to neutralise negative waves emitting from electrical items and put in protection around the property against outside emissions.  I met a fascinating couple in Ibiza, who always turned their wi-fi route off at ten pm and didn’t switch it on again until the morning so as not to harm their sleep patterns.

To conclude then, trying some space clearing like smudging, playing some music or placing crystals in your rooms can help to change the vibrations and raise the energy. By giving your home some love and extra attention, it can make your home feel happier and more of a sanctuary to you.