By Nicole Muj
Los Angeles Informer
I recently discovered Puzhen (pronounced Pu-gen), a luxury product line of aromatherapy products, diffusers, teas and fine ceramics, uniting traditional Chinese crafts, philosophy and aesthetics with the contemporary, Western lifestyle. What a welcome find, empowering us to create a spa atmosphere in the comfort of our own homes!
Puzhen’s dynamic CEO/creative director Felicity Li, comments on the significance of the company name, “Puzhen is derived from an ancient Chinese phrase “fan-pu-gui-zhen.” This expression really comes from the Chinese world of spiritual cultivation, and it means “returning to purity and simplicity.” This is an idea found mostly in Taoism, but similar concepts can be found in Chinese Confucianism and Buddhist traditions as well. The idea is that, through practicing self-refinement, a person can return to a purer state of being…perhaps even attaining a divine state and immortality. These disciplines of self-cultivation often involve things like meditation and a strict moral code. They were often taught in secret and passed down from one master to one disciple for generations. They could be very different from one another, but what they have in common is this belief that a person can return his heart, mind, and entire being to his or her original, true state. That is what the “zhen” in Puzhen means – truth. And “pu” means a piece of uncut jade. Just like a piece of pure jade, we can each reach a pure realm.”
The company’s motto “ancient Chinese wisdom for modern-day living” inspires the simplicity and purity of body and mind and promotes a harmonious and natural way of living in our modern world.
She adds, “Our philosophy is that, regardless of what environment we live in or what our situation is, we can still search for and treasure this simple and tranquil way of living. It’s a different kind of luxury.”
Founded in 1995, Puzhen holds a large share of the Asia market in Japan, Hong Kong and Korea and also is quite successful in Europe, especially in France, where it leads the market. Puzhen recently expanded its operations to U.S. shores, with its first office in New York. The company plans to roll-out in the U.S. and Canada with placement in luxury hotels, spas and exclusive clubs.
Regarding the company’s North American strategy, Li explains, “We’ve already started doing this already and the response has been terrific, We can see how well these products are accepted in North America’s luxury market. At the same time, we are working with America’s top 50 online retailers, and have started developing close partnerships with those retailers that have a strong focus on lifestyle and natural living.”
The artisans at Puzhen practice carefully passed down Chinese clay sculpting techniques to create heirloom diffusers that purify the air and infuse it with relaxing essential oil blends. Puhzen’s signature design provides the ultimate spa experience at home, complete with handmade composition, LED lighting and built-in music. Puzhen’s unique aromatherapy diffusers, black teas, Jun kiln porcelain, and essential oils enable one to achieve equilibrium of body, mind, and soul while engaging the five senses.
The interview continues…..
What is the philosophy behind the Puzhen product line?
The philosophy behind our product lines is rooted in 5,000 years of Chinese civilization and its worldview. Ancient Chinese people emphasized harmony between heaven, people, and the earth. The ancient sage Laozi taught becoming one with the nature of the universe, the Tao, or the Way. I feel like in today’s society we have gone further and further away from nature and from harmony with the world around us. We have a lot of modern conveniences and gadgets, but we are more rushed and stressed than ever before – and this shows up in everything from our relationships to our health.
This philosophy behind our products starts from the understanding that today we can no longer return to ancient times – we live in a different world – but we can still find that same harmony and peace of mind, body, and soul. Be it at home with our home-spa concept of the “Five Sense” diffusers, or with our porcelain, or many future products, we want to help people to create that peaceful space within modern life, that feeling of quietly sipping tea in a cool bamboo forest with only the sound of the wind gently brushing against the leaves and a soft running brook accompanying our tranquil mind.
Who designs your products?
Our designs come from traditional Chinese aesthetics combined with contemporary elegance. The products are designed in Germany, England and Hong Kong. The products’ materials are unique to China – for example the rare purple clay we use. The craftsmanship techniques also belong to a Chinese heritage passed down through generations – especially the clay and porcelain techniques. So those products are made in China using techniques that go back centuries, as well as Western-designed modern technology – such as our ultrasonic diffuser technology.
Your products are very beautifully crafted and unique. Can you elaborate on the design?
Thank you. Many of our customers are attracted by these products’ appearance. We aim to make these products the perfect union of craftsmanship and beauty. Here at Puzhen we value the process of meticulous hand craftsmanship, seeing it as a way of connecting to our ancient traditions, and a responsibility to perpetuate this heritage for future generations.
What is your background in both business and design?
I guess you could say I’m a self-made businesswoman. I set off on my own after college and set up my own health spa in southern China’s tropical region. It was the first of its kind there. When I was 25 I started my own company that later evolved to being Puzhen. I have always been drawn to ancient Chinese spirituality and aesthetics, but at the same have a fascination with Western elegance and the most exquisite European products. I love admiring products that not only look beautiful but also integrate into our lives and help us find that equilibrium. I suppose you could say it’s an inner passion and curiosity that drives so much of what I do.
Do you have any new products in the works?
Our next focus is developing all kinds of essential oil lines and related products. We plan to bring these out in winter 2013. We believe these products will explode on to the scene.
I, for one, cannot wait to experience the latest from Puzhen – truly one of my best discoveries of 2013!
*Photos Courtesy of Puzhen
Nicole Muj is the founder of KULTURA PR (kulturapr.com), a public relations company that specializes in international entertainment and cultural clients. Ms. Muj is also involved in booking A-list Western music artists and celebrities in Europe, Mexico and Asia. Previously, she served as Associate Director, Worldwide Publicity, E! Networks, and held senior level positions at LA-based mPRm Public Relations and Comspan Communications. Contact – email: email@example.com; phone: 310-804-0964.