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    Temp Tat News — jagua

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    It's Official: Festival Season Is Here

    It's Official: Festival Season Is Here

    SXSW is already over and Coachella (4/14/17) and New Orleans Jazz Fest (4/28/17) are just around the corner. Oh my! What are you gonna do? What are you gonna wear? What will your body art look like? We think about these things, here at Earth Henna, because, of course, we've got the goods for people who want to stand out and sizzle at this year's music festivals.

    If you want to have the best designs, we can hook you up with our fabulous line of stencils. Choose your design, cut it off the stencil sheet, apply eucalyptus oil to your skin, place the stencil face down and hold it there for 30 seconds. Lift it off, and presto! The marking is now there for you to easily trace over with your henna or jagua. Check out the stencil we chose from the Earth Henna Premium Temporary Tattoo Kit and how the design came out.

     

    Not bad, eh? Especially for someone who can't draw, like me. 

    Since people also like to create their own designs, our White Lace/Silver Lace kit (aka White Henna/Silver Henna), comes with a sheet of patterns to give you ideas, like these:

    And then, of course, for those of you who want to go completely spectacular (and speak the truth to power, while you're at it--like me!), we can also hook you up with artists in your city (if we know someone there), who can use your kit to create really elaborate designs like this fantastic silver henna temporary tattoo!

    In case you hadn't figured it out yet, at Earth Henna, if your goal is to look beautiful and sport the most gorgeous body art in the world, we're here to serve you! Plus, at the moment, if you spend $30 or more, you get FREE SHIPPING! It's time to get your festival groove on, ladies.

     

    What We Care About: You Looking Gorgeous, And Other things

    What We Care About: You Looking Gorgeous, And Other things

    If Body Adornment was a person, her goal in life would be:

    • Make human beings gorgeous
    • Help people express themselves
    • Give people options

    At Earth Henna, in creating henna tattoo kits, jagua tattoo kits and white henna tattoo kits (White Lace/Silver Lace and White Lace/Gold Lace kits), as well as lots of other adornment choices, we already partner with Body Adornment to make you gorgeous, give you options and facilitate your self expression.

    We care about helping you look and feel gorgeous inside and out, and seeing the smiles on your faces after you’ve adorned yourself for festival season, parties and special events. In addition, we also care deeply about doing what it takes to foster a caring environment for our employees, and assisting our suppliers, who, like most people on the planet, can use a helping hand.

    This year, we are funding the digging of a well for the family of Moroccan henna farmers we’ve worked with for years. Their desert region has suffered a crippling drought for a decade now, and without this well, they have no way to continue earning a living.

    Every year, we pay for malaria medication for the 200 members of the Matsés people, who live deep in the Peruvian Amazon in a village where our jagua fruit is harvested, peeled, grated, and pressed to expel the juice that’s shipped to us here in the States.

    Additionally, though you may not know this about us, my parter and husband Pascal Giacomini and I, for 25 years, have also owned a Haitian art gallery that operates out of our home in Hollywood. I am from Haiti. It is devastatingly poor there, but Haiti is also one of the biggest sources for black art in the world! We have helped to introduce and promote the works of Haitian artists—the desperately poor and those who are better off—for a long time. In fact, on Saturday, March 25th, Cal State Northridge is hosting an exhibition of Pascal’s Haiti-inspired photography, sculpture and documentary film, Out of Chaos, An Artist's Journey in Haiti*, about the thriving art scene in one slum in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. If you live in Los Angeles, you’re invited. We’d love to meet you, our gorgeous patrons!

    *To see a trailer for the film, click here!

    Earth Henna Goes Global

    Earth Henna Goes Global

    Earth Henna has been going strong in the temporary body art world for 20 years. Early on, back in 1997, when henna tattoos were just making their entrance on the body adornment scene, for some reason, we had more foreign than US customers. Eventually, it all came back around, and in the last 10 years, I would say that most of our henna kit and jagua kit business came from around the United States.

    As any small business owner will tell you, you can really get into the trees and forget you’re in a forest—the trees being about staying focused on what temporary body art customers want and expect; making sure your raw materials—like your henna powder and jagua guice—are the highest quality possible; keeping abreast of package design movements; staying on top of market trends, figuring out how to introduce your temporary tattoo products to other audiences (and here, we do really well because henna tattoos and jagua tattoos beautifully cross over into several categories, like fashion accessory, natural product, new age, craft and hobby, and art materials).

    In the midst of all this activity, certain things in your business can change without you noticing. Recently our webmaster added this nifty thing called an add-on that pops up while you’re on our Earth Henna site and shows you, in real time, what temporary tattoo products are being purchased, and where the buyer is located. It’s a visual that magically appears and then fades just as quickly at the lower left area of the screen. That thing is really cool for people looking to buy jagua tattoos or henna tattoos or body painting kits because they can see what other products are trending; and it’s riveting for us because, among other things, lo and behold, it turns out that quite a lot of our temporary tattoo customers are from all over the world!

    I didn’t know we were such a globe-trotting henna and jagua body art machine!

     

    What's The Jagua Story? - Part II

    What's The Jagua Story? - Part II

    Last week I posted about how we got started in the jagua tattoo business, and about our introduction to the Matsés people, who live in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon jungle and harvest the jagua fruit we use in our Earth Jagua kits. I gave the condensed version, and promised more details for those who might want to know more.

    So let me start by filling in some holes on exactly what it takes to get to the Amazon. The flight from Los Angeles to Lima, Peru is 8 ½ hours with a four-hour layover (in the middle of the night) in the Lima airport before the next flight out to Iquitos. Pascal was met in Iquitos by the American facilitator, whom I referred to as Mr. X in my book, Jagua—A Journey into Body Art from the Amazon. I shall continue to call him Mr. X because, well, if you can’t say anything nice… He did provide the all-important introduction and vital information needed for the formalities involved in doing business with indigenous peoples, and for that we are very grateful; but suffice it to say that he was very challenging to deal with, engaged in some unsavory practices and for several years now, for good reasons, the Matsés no longer have anything to do with him.

    The most important advice Mr. X conveyed to Pascal was The List. Upon first meeting with any indigenous group, you must come bearing gifts, otherwise you are considered extremely rude, especially if they view you as an “important visitor.” The list was long. He suggested that Pascal arrive with much-needed antibiotics, anti-bronchitis, anti-flu and stomach flu medicines, as well as anti-malaria pills, aspirin and more medial supplies. In addition, he needed to show up with some basics, like machetes, files, fishhooks and fishing lines, as well as t-shirts for the kids, pots and pans and jewelry beads for the women, hammocks, netting, rubber boots and other gear considered valuable to the community. Pascal’s time in Iquitos was mostly spent running around in mototaxis, going from one pharmacy to another and to the Belen open-air market, which is packed with pickpockets and back-to-back stalls selling a mind-bending variety of wares, including food and second-rate merchandise from China.

    After three days in Iquitos, Pascal’s next destination was a military outpost and launching pad for the motorized canoe, which would take him into the Matsés village in question (he thought he was going there by boat, but it turned out to be a dugout canoe). When he arrived at the airport, even though he had reservations, he was told the flight was booked solid. He had two options: 1) Wait one week for the next scheduled flight, or 2) charter a plane himself, which means shelling out the money for 12 seats. Reluctantly, he went for option #2.

    Pascal and Mr. X boarded the flight, and after two hours of nothing but green, impenetrable jungle, a clearing appeared and they landed on a tiny, deserted airstrip. Next up was a half-mile-long hike (with all the gear) to reach the military outpost, whose one hotel was filthy. The only furniture in Pascal’s room was a foul-smelling mattress with no sheets! But his first meeting with Daniel, Chief of the Matsés, went very well. They hung out and talked for a couple of hours, but it was getting dark and there was more shopping to do, this time for foodstuff like sardines, eggs, bread, cooking oil and rice, along with water and gasoline. If you’re planning to do business in the Amazon, don’t forget your wallet!

    Tune in next week for the next and final leg of the journey!

    In the meantime, do check out our brand new website (we’re so jazzed!), where you can find Grrrrreat deals on our Earth Jagua black temporary tattoo kit for the holidays. And while you're visiting our site, do sign up for our newsletter so you can receive notifications of these weekly blog postings, and special stuff like our upcoming Holiday Specials!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    What’s The Jagua Story?

    What’s The Jagua Story?

    People so often ask how we came to be involved with jagua and the Amazon that I thought I’d write it down and point people to our blog! To my husband Pascal and me, we were just doing what we always do—walk through a promising door when it opens. But people keep telling us how unusual the story is, so here goes. I’ll give you the condensed version.

    We were minding our business selling our Earth Henna tattoo kits when we heard about the jagua fruit. Always on the lookout for a natural stain that would look like a real tattoo, I Googled to see what I could find. I happened onto an article written by an American ecologist and conservationist living in the Peruvian Amazon. In it he had posted pictures of himself hanging out with members of the Matsés people covered in what looked like tribal tattoos, but the caption mentioned that the body art was made with jagua.

    I emailed the author of the article and explained that for 12 years our company had been buying the entire harvest of one family of henna farmers in Morocco. I said we would love to establish a relationship with the Matsés people as our source for the jagua fruit. He was eager to help the Matsés establish economic viability, and readily facilitated the introduction. No trees are cut down to create our product. If not for us, the jagua fruit—which grows in profusion there—would just fall to the ground and rot. Win-win!

    Not long after, Pascal found himself on a plane headed for Lima, Peru. From there he took another plane to bustling Iquitos, the gateway city to the jungle; a tiny military transport plane then flew him to another village; from there an 8-hour, hot, humid and mosquito-filled canoe ride deposited him in the village where 200 Matsés people live. Daniel, the 38-year-old chief of the group, spent the next three weeks showing Pascal how they harvest the jagua fruit and turn it into the juice we use as the base of our Earth Jagua gel. He and Pascal established a system for how they would ship the juice to us, as well as a communication protocol since there are no phones or internet available in the Amazon jungle!

    The jagua tattoo business isn’t always easy, and is quite often tricky—luckily Pascal and Daniel both speak Spanish (the older, and uneducated Matsés only speak Matsés!). Still, nuance sometimes gets lost and misunderstandings occur; shipments can get delayed by the famously capricious Peruvian customs agency. This is a major concern since the juice must be as fresh as possible when it arrives to us in Los Angeles (this is why we use citric acid, a natural preservative, to keep it that way while in transit). Once here, we have each batch tested for bacteria and parasites, then we send it to a facility, which freeze-dries the juice so that our Earth Jagua kits can have a shelf life while they wait to be scooped up by customers in retail stores and online.

    The trouble is worth it, though, because people lovelovelove their jagua tattoos! It’s a sustainable product, which helps support a very economically challenged people. We help pay for the group’s malaria medicine each year, and help them out with other issues, when necessary, and they provide us with the means to make people happy, pay our bills and keep our staff employed. All good stuff.  I’ll expand on the story in my next blog!

    If you’d like to try out an Earth Jagua Black Temporary Tatttoo Kit, do it now! You can get 15% off and Free Shipping on all henna and jagua kits, just in time for the holidays.

    And to find out about exciting upcoming specials, go to www.earthhenna.com (scroll down to the bottom of the page) to sign up and receive our newsletter!