Jess Duchart of Chamela Giri makes her traditional masalas and artistic perfumes in Winlaw, BC. Driven by a lifelong passion for aroma, and after working with generous teachers and Mamas in India, Jess came home to blend hand-selected organic ingredients into enchanting fragrances for her community. The Co-op is happy to carry Chamela Giri’s Summer Chai Masala spice blend and Body Powders.
Who is the creator behind Chamela Giri?
What do you make?
I make traditional masalas (spice mixtures) and artistic perfumes.
Right now the Kootenay Co-op carries my Summer Chai Masala, which is an organic, light and sweet chai that blends the sweetness of cardamom, cinnamon and fennel with the spice of ginger and cloves. Traditionally it is mixed with Assam tea, milk and sugar. My family likes it with rooibos, almond milk and honey. Yerba maté is an amazing tea base, too. This masala is also a great spice blend for baking!
The Co-op also carries my Body Powder, which is an organic blend of arrowroot powder, baking soda and rice flour which helps keep you dry and soft while the powder perfume sublimely scents your being. Available in three different scents, all with a sandalwood powder base.
How would you describe your company?
Chamela Giri artfully crafts enchanting fragrance, from traditional spice blends and masalas for culinary adventures, to captivating perfumes for indulging body and spirit. Organic ingredients are hand-selected and blended in small batches to ensure an authentic experience for the senses. Driven by a lifelong passion for aroma and after many adventures in India, Chamela Giri brings mystery and ancient wisdom home. Her presence, like a friend in the kitchen, ensures the perfect spice every time.
How long have you been making masalas and perfumes?
I have been crafting perfumes for many years, but Chamela Giri came into being after visits to India in 2008 and 2010. There I learned incense and perfume making in Mysore from an amazingly kind and gifted teacher. In Rajasthan I sat with beautiful Mamas on the floors of their kitchens, learning from them the art of masala making: perfumery for your food! I was given the name Chamela Giri, which roughly translates to ‘white lotus of the Kootenay Mountains,’ by my generous teachers and friends in India.
What motivated you to start?
Even as a child I insisted on smelling everything I saw before believing if it was good or not. I remember it driving my Mom crazy! My extra good sense of smell and sensitivity to synthetics led to aromatherapy training in ’96-97. From there I’ve discovered all the ways scents impacts our lives and how beneficial natural aromas can be.
What are some of your greatest joys?
Turning scents into memories.
What is your vision for your company?
To be a secret arsenal in homes — that little something special in the perfect pot of chai, the magic in a meal to remember, or the fragrance that enticingly lingers behind a woman of mystery.
Why is local purchasing important to you?
Buying local and supporting our neighbours is a great way to grow a strong community. We are blessed to live in such a vibrant and creative place and a strong local economy makes that possible.
If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members/customers, what would it be?
Thank you for encouraging me, enjoying my creations and for trying new and local products on the shelves.