Canada: Perfectly unique potions in downtown Vancouver


What do you get the person who has everything? Something they couldn’t possibly already have.

Although a seeming contradiction, a wide variety of mystical items are on sale at a shop in downtown Vancouver featuring everything from swords to scents.


Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie is a relatively new feature on the Main Street strip, though the business of selling specially crafted perfume — love potions — has been a decades-long practice for owner Mara Fox.

Fox described Love Potion as specializing in handcrafted, limited fragrance releases, with new ones coming out monthly or bi-monthly. Apart from the scents, the store also includes a selection of handcrafted crystal and glass items, tarot cards and even swords, canes and magic wands, all fitting in with the business’ supernatural theme.

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Although the shop in downtown Vancouver has only been open for about a year, Love Potion’s history stretches back to the 1980s on Venice Beach, Los Angeles. The business moved online in the mid-1990s and eventually made its way to the Pacific Northwest.

One of the hallmarks of the shop’s eponymous line of perfume, to make it go beyond a simple fragrance to become a bona fide “love potion,” is in the care taken on creating, or “brewing” the mixture.

Fox explains that brewing begins with the intent of the fragrance, drawing from a database looking at thousands of years of folklore, religious and cultural symbolism to find ingredients that match what the would-be perfume-wearer wants, “creating an aura with scent” as Fox put it.

“If I was going to make you something that would help you at work, I’d go into my database and I’d choose ingredients that are for power and respect … you want a scent that’s kind of like health, wealth and dependability,” Fox explained. From smells signifying the desired characteristics, she makes sure the scents work with each other, forming the completed potion.

Apart from simply harkening back to medieval practices of alchemy, Fox said that the fragrances work well in bringing up memories due to the tie smell has to that recall.

Fox said that 400 premade perfumes are available at any given time. The business releases new scents regularly, with Fox mentioning two for the upcoming month featuring oils themed around the seven chakras and the four elements of earth, air, fire and water to provide a sense of balance going into the new year.

For those looking for a more personal flavor, there is also a “private edition” allowing for a fragrance customized by four ingredients of one’s choice with personalized labeling. Fox said that she has those looking for a customized scent describe a memory or desire for the fragrance while she works to recreate it.

Over the years, Fox’s Love Potion business has gained a large international following with the storefront also serving as a showroom of sorts for different fragrances. In order to peruse the other odds and ends the shop sells one has to take a stroll to the brick-and-mortar location, as only the perfumes are available via the internet.

Those odds and ends include Bohemian and Lenox glass collectibles, Indian tapestries and 175 different Tarot card sets, as of last count, among other items, Fox listed. She particularly spoke about the hand-blown glass items including ornaments, just in time for Christmas tree decoration.

Those looking for items more than just material are in luck as Fox said the business works with a Catholic supply company. She gave an example of “prayer cubes” displaying a different prayer on each side as one of the trinkets available at Love Potion.

In terms of the items outside of the perfume business, Fox said her inspiration for stock comes from her own interests.

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“The store is my heart and soul. I put in there the things that I love most, the things that I personally am passionate about,” Fox said. She explained that in her experience some of the more eccentric items she is drawn to, such as magic wands, end up having enough of a following to be worthy additions to the shop.

When it comes to gifts, that level of retail auteurism plays into the shop’s selection of items far from everyday, with Fox remarking that if she were getting a gift she would want something “one-of-a-kind, that’s unique, that’s just for me.”

“You’re not going to find these things at the mall; what we’ve got nobody else has,” Fox remarked.

Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie is located at 703 Main St., Vancouver. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Source: The Reflector 


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