Rayne Grace Hoke
When Rayne Grace Hoke, a fabric artist, would set up shop at one of the local farmers markets or a crafts fair, she would bring along a few samples of the perfumes she was making in her spare time.
“I just started noticing that they would always sell like hotcakes,” she says.
Three years ago, she began marketing her perfumes in earnest and now has a host of wholesale clients, such as Lois Natural Foods in Scarborough and Lalo Boutique in Portland. Her line of perfumes includes eight ready-made blends, handmade in small batches using the finest, purest fragrance oil blends and essential oils in a water base. She also custom blends perfumes for several retail clients.
Hoke began making her all-natural perfumes, which have alliterative names like Persephone’s Passion and Madeliene’s Magic, because of her sensitivities to many store-brand products.
“I’m a redhead, allergic to everything,” she explains.
Hoke works out of a studio in her basement, still making “wearable art” such as alternative wedding dresses, along with her perfumes. She’s also opened an Etsy storefront, a website where many craftspeople and artists show their wares.
Q: What were your most important needs in getting started?
A: My most important need getting started was belief in myself and my natural perfumes and colognes. This was accomplished by the amazingly wonderful support of my family, friends and my Women Work and Community group. The support from those around me let me know that I would succeed no matter what. Also, my stellar customers and clients adore my product. It makes them happy and the scents would bring back wonderful memories for them. Their smiles and stories feed my creativity and passion.
Q: What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A: When I was growing up I was blessed to be surrounded by a bevy of strong, smart great aunts. They were farm women and teachers who worked very hard for the lives they created. They were loving and encouraging, and gave me the example of women who could do it on their own. Also, my family supported my creativity and individuality by allowing me to explore and try different things. I knew that even if I failed they would be there for me.
Q: What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
A: The advantage of being a female entrepreneur is the support of other established female business owners. The network/support is crucial in giving you the power to continue. You are lead by their examples. It’s very inspiring. They give you hope, and the boost you sometimes need.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
A: My advice is, go for it! No one else is going to bring your dreams to life. It’s up to you to make it happen. You can create your own story!
Q: If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
A: I’m very happy with how KittyWitch Perfumery has evolved. To be honest, the only thing I can think of that I would have done differently would be to have started sooner. But everything happens for a reason. My microenterprise coordinator, Gigi Guyton from Women Work and Community, would always tell me to “trust the process.” I have followed this advice. I’ve learned that if you have faith in yourself you cannot fail.