How exciting would it be to return from a fabulous St. John vacation and still enjoy the smell of the beach every time you walked into a room? Or how about the aroma of the Bay trees that permeates through the air as you hike down the Reef Bay trail? Perhaps a whiff of key lime pie is more your style? And if that isn’t enough, how about tasting a Painkiller all day (minus the hangover!)? Well, now you can…
A new business called Amora recently launched on the island and we have to admit, we’re pretty excited about it. With Take Your Vacation Home With You as its slogan, Amora products enable visitors and locals alike to enjoy the scents and tastes of the island. They offer room scents like Taste of Saint John, The Beach, Bay, Key Lime Pie, Coconut and more. They also offer lip balms in flavors of Painkiller, Bushwacker and Bay that will transport you right back to the island.
We recently did a little Q&A with Laurie and Greg Damron, the owners of Amora, about their new venture. Here’s what they had to say:
So how exactly did this business come about?
The Bay Tree is inspired Amora. Greg is busy with his work and didn’t intend on creating a business. We had hiked down the Reef Bay trail once, over ten years ago, and passed a group of hikers stopped and listening to a ranger. The ranger had torn a few leaves of the bay tree she was standing under and discussing its uses. It was an interesting story so we stood by and listened, then smelled the leaf ourselves and we were very surprised by its aroma. Long story short, we planted three saplings that a friend gave us in our yard, grew them up, figured out how to distill the plant leaf oil and did some research. We only wanted to see if we could do it and maybe make it available to ourselves and a few others. It really is an amazing scent and never gets tiresome. It’s not possible to distill it here due to the fact that most of the trees are in National Park Land and are protected, so we found a place down island that we get the oils from. Bay oil is a little more volatile in that it evaporates slightly quicker than other oils but that’s because it is doing a job.
So how did you decide on Amora’s flavors and scents?
Among other aspects of the business, Greg started working on developing a website for marketing. His efforts were aimed at developing a compliment of scents that were all native to and represented the Virgin Islands. The essence oil came easily then he started developing oil blends. The idea of our beach Cinnamon Bay inspired the blends, which sounded like a simple mix of Cinnamon and Bay. Key Lime Pie was next and the others fell into place.
Once the story all unfolded Amora started sounding like a fairly viable interest… ‘Amora’ is ‘Aroma’ backwards. Amora is a play on the word ‘Amor’ which means love in a few languages and ‘Love City’ is St. John’s nickname. Amora’s logo is a photograph that Greg took of one of the petroglyphs at the bottom of Reef Bay Trail. There are two of them; one is more commonly used in jewelry and Caneel Bay’s logo. The other looks curiously like a heart which is the one we use.
Is everything made on St. John?
Yes, all products are made here on St. John. Amora’s tag line is ‘The Essence of St. John’. It is meant to be only a local product and meant to celebrate St. John.
What has been your best seller so far?
Bay is the most popular for the essence oils with Key Lime Pie and The Beach a close second. As far as lip balms, Painkiller is a huge favorite. When you put painkiller lip balm on your lips you can’t help but think about that day on Jost Van Dyke at the Soggy Dollar Bar, or a fun night out in town enjoying the islands most infamous drink.
Which product is your personal favorite and why?
Greg’s favorite is still Bay. He’s still researching the qualities of the Bay leaf. In a lip balm form it has curative qualities that work quickly and effectively. Old island accounts talk about its other medicinal uses and its natural ability to ward off mosquitoes. We are currently testing mixtures in a spray form and will make it available if we find it is as effective as rumored. Bay is one of the only true products that St. John can call their own. The Bay trees of St. John were regarded as the finest in the world.
So where can people purchase Amora products?
Amora products are available on island a Nest in Mongoose Junction and at Pink Papaya in Cruz Bay. You can also purchase them online at www.amora-vi.com and all products are shipped within 24 hours of purchase. You can also contact us directly (via our website) for bulk orders.
Anything else to add?
John Brandi inspired the Painkiller lip balm. He was testing our first Bay lip balm and commented “wouldn’t it be great if this came in a Painkiller flavor”……the rest is history….