Laurie Arbuthnot, owner of Wild Coast Perfumery in Cowichan Bay, poses with some of her products. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Opening Wild Coast Perfumery a dream come true for Cowichan Bay owner

Business notes

Laurie Arbuthnot’s life-long dream came true when she opened Wild Coast Perfumery in Cowichan Bay in 2017.

Wild Coast Perfumery, the only business of its kind on the Island outside Victoria, is an artisan perfumery that prides itself on making totally natural, plant-based perfumes without using synthetic and chemical-based ingredients or animal products, which Arbuthnot refers to as the “dark side” of the industry.

Arbuthnot grew up on Vancouver Island, and was involved with running a number of other businesses over the years, including the Antique Barn in Chemainus and a boutique fishing lodge.

She said she visited a perfume shop while on a trip to Italy in 1988, and the experience changed her life.

“It was so charming and wonderful and I started to develop big dreams to open my own shop, but you had to speak French because the only perfume school at the time was in France,” Arbuthnot said.

“The idea rattled around in my head until the mid-1990s when I did an online course on perfumes from Thailand. I completed the program, but I still didn’t do anything with the knowledge I gained.”

Arbuthnot said she began studying what others in the industry were doing, and took further classes on the subject in San Francisco before finally finding an ocean-front location in Cowichan Bay and opening Wild Coast Perfumery three years ago.

“I felt it was time to finally move forward with my dream after 30 years,” she said. “My family was so sick of me talking about it over such a long time that I finally had to do it.”

Arbuthnot said the business is currently producing 12 fragrances, with such familiar names as Pender Island eau de parfum and Cowichan Rose eau de parfum, and is currently working on new lines and collaborations.

The store’s website said that the making of each perfume involves traditionally blending pure plant-based, precious essential oils and wild harvested tinctures, including needles, leaves, flowers, lichen, fungi and moss from local forests.

“Our botanical perfumes will evoke a sense of Island calm that is inspired by the ancient rain forests, mountains and the Salish Sea that surrounds us,” the website says.

Arbuthnot said each of her perfumes has between 25 and 35 ingredients, with at least one being local, including cottonwood, cedar and Douglas fir.

“Most of the other ingredients are not indigenous and don’t grow here, like citrus, or there isn’t enough grown locally to cover our needs, like rose petals,” she said.

“All the ingredients are natural and plant-based, and we list them online on our website. People with allergies to some chemicals in other perfumes don’t have to worry about that with our products, unless they have allergies to specific plants. We make the perfumes in small batches and it takes four to six weeks to age and allow the ingredients time to melt and blend together.”

Arbuthnot said Wild Coast Perfumery’s sales are generally split three ways between online, personal sales at the shop and the other shops and spas that use and sell her perfumes.

She said that when she first opened the shop, she believed most of her business would come from tourists, but she was pleasantly surprised that she has huge support from the local community, other parts of the Island as well as the Lower Mainland.

Arbuthnot said she does have expansion plans for Wild Coast Perfumery, but it will likely be centred on online sales at this time.

“We do need more space, but there’s not much more room for expansion at the store, so I’m looking at reconfiguring it,” she said.

“I also plan to increase my staff by two this year, plus someone who will help in marketing and would be the shop’s creative director. I’m living my dream and my thanks go out to the people of Cowichan Bay who have been so supportive of me since I opened the store.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Local Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: Snowballs fights and dead spiders

Even if it doesn’t end up how we hope, it’s the trying that matters most.

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Bay tennis player Grace Haugen takes part in an exhibition at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club in 2019, which also included Canadian legends Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor. Haugen has committed to further her career at the University of Montana starting next fall. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Bay tennis player prepares for next step in her journey

Grace Haugen commits to University of Montana

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read