Pinrose and Sephora apologize, cancel production of “starter witch kit”

Witches mad at Sephora for selling a starter witch kit. (Girlfriend Magazine)

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye

The Pinrose perfume company has pulled a witch starter kit and apologized publicly after a uproar on social media.

The perfume company, Pinrose, was set to sell their $42 product in Sephora stores and online starting Oct. 9. The kit included a white sage bundle, nine small bottles of perfume, tarot cards, and a pinrose quartz crystal.

Pinrose apologized in a statement yesterday:

First and foremost, to those who have shared their disappointment or taken offense to this product, we apologize profoundly. This was not our intent. We thank you for communicating with us and expressing your feelings. We hear you; we will not be manufacturing or making this product available for sale. Our intention for the product was to create something that celebrates wellness, personal ceremony, and intention setting with a focus on using fragrance as a beauty ritual.

Many people online posed questions about the sacred use of white sage in ceremonies, commodification of the plant and the threat to Native American-owned businesses and addressed the use of white sage as a means to smudge.

Pinrose responded, Per the USDAs Natural Resources Conservation Service, Salvia Apiana (White Sage) is not classified as threatened or endangered. The sage that was planned to be used in this kit is sourced from a Green America Gold Certified company. The sage is grown in the wild in California and is sustainability harvested and sold by Native American-owned and operated businesses....The product did not reference smudging or ceremony circles.

Some are congratulating and thanking the two companies for pulling the product.

Others are saying their statement is still vague, doesnt show they learned anything, or doesnt admit their wrongdoing.

After several Twitter conversations, Kelly-Ann Madox, a self-proclaimed witch, decided start looking for Native-owned businesses that offer sage products.

Lets take this as an opportunity to demonstrate our ability to shop small, ethical, and Indigenous,she wrote. Pinrose claims an ethical and environmentally responsible source run by Native people, yet they were quick to drop this product without offering transparency/clarification on this and they are now moving on. As witches, lets not do the same. If were concerned, lets show it.

Mark Fritz, a Pagan, expressed concern about the appropriation of both Native people and Pagans in an email to ICT after reading our previous article:

Sadness, anger & disappointment with sage bundle sold as starter witch kit:

I am very appreciative and hopeful the concepts of the cultural appropriation conceptual understanding and debate will be better learned and understood by persons at large. However, I would like to say, even as a Pagan, that this Pinrose product is disturbing, as it misleads the way a Pagan, oftentimes associated as witches, as something that one just buys into, when, in fact, becoming Pagan is a calling and a realization, not just some fad.

The fact that white sage, in particular, has been commodified by Pinrose to sell this misleading product is evidence of the cultural appropriation of, at least, two old and once outlawed ways of life. The use of sage is deep in Paganism, though sage varies as any plant varies, based on where it was harvested and descended. White sage is very unlikely linked to the same sage rituals of the Celtic Faiths and other religious traditions of the European continent.

Also, the obtaining of sage, to a genuine Pagan, is something of a less formal ordeal than that of the Native American use. Most Pagans would be happy with buying sage found in the local spice section of the grocery store. For the sacred white sage to be thrown out to Pagan Newbies, to use a younger generational term, is beyond rude, it is, truly, sacrilegious of the real and authentic users of white sage.

I just wanted to send you my thoughts about this, in hopes that it can be shared to Native Americans that sometimes multiple people groups are being blindsided by the appropriation that occurs in a single act of blind commercialization.

Indian Country Today reached out to Pinrose initially and did not received a response. We contacted Pinrose in a follow-up regarding their Native American-owned business collaboration. Pinrose responded with an emailed statement.

The Pinrose company is based in San Francisco and is majority owned by its eight full-time female employees. All Pinrose products are made in New Jersey, California, or Texas.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter@jourdanbb. Email: jbennett-begaye@indiancountrytoday.com

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