Our worlds today are overrun by busy schedules that are packed with long work hours, social engagements, gym time and chores. The routines we've built for ourselves don't allow much time for relaxing. When moments of freedom do come along, there's a good chance we'll end up watching the newest TV show or flipping through our phones.
Finding a way to truly unwind just seems difficult these days.
In an ongoing attempt to create personal spaces that enrich our lives with calmness, coziness and warmth, Boston General Store is always searching for well-made fragrances. Whether it be through soy candles, diffusers, scented pillows or even perfumes, we are fully on board with the idea that a finely crafted scent can soften a harsh atmosphere and help clear the mind.
One of the best ways of using fragrance to settle tension and remedy a hectic environment is by burning incense. BGS isn't new to the game - we proudly carry incense products from some incredible makers such as Paine's of Maine, P.F. Candle Co. and Juniper Ridge. But when we visited the Maison et Objet international trade show in Paris this past January, we met a new maker that changed what we thought we knew about the world of incense.
Arriving at their trade show table, we were initially drawn in by Hibi's clean product design. Once the team gave their presentation, we were completely hooked and couldn't wait to get them stocked on our shelves.
Crafted in Japan, the incense is elegant and incredibly clever in its design. It was developed to work just like a box of matches, which is unlike anything we've ever stumbled onto before. The packaging it arrives in is compact and resembles a traditional match box. Inside are eight small incense sticks shaped exactly like - you guessed it - strikeable matches. Made with addicting, but delicate, scents, the Hibi collection includes fragrances such as classic Lavender and essential Japanese aromas like Yuzu.
To use the incense, simply strike the head of the stick on the side of the box. While it's lit, tilt downward so the flame continues to burn. When the flame reaches the incense portion of the stick, blow it out and lay it on Hibi's exclusive round mat to smolder as it releases its gentle bouquet (the Hibi team told us their mat is an original design with a patent pending and made using non-flammable materials).
Each stick will burn for about 10 minutes, but the scent will linger in your space for much longer.
Hibi's incense was easy to fall in love with: it has a unique design and it's made extremely well with high quality scents. One thing we wondered though, was, "Why a match stick?" Aside from being a playful take, was there any practical reason for the concept?
It turns out there is more to this story than just a gimmick.
Hibi started in 2011 when two respected Japanese manufacturers from the Kiyogo Prefecture (think province) met and had an idea to collaborate. They conceived crafting a utilitarian product that could breath life into their respective trades.
First, there is the Daihatsu Corporation which has an 80-year history in incense production. The use of incense has been integral in Japan since the 9th century A.D. It began as a religious offering but quickly changed to become an everyday part of culture that still exists today. The area of the Hiyogo Prefecture that Daihatsu operates out of (Awaji Island) is believed to account for up to 70% of the country's incense production, and this celebrated company has been a continued part of that success.
Second, there is the Kobe Match Corporation. They were founded in 1929 after match production on the island boomed when the fire-starting technology was introduced by Europeans in the late 1800's. Since then, Japan has been a leader in high quality match manufacturing and Kobe Match endured to help keep this local industry alive. Unfortunately, the use of matches has declined in our modern era, but brands like Kobe are still passionate about keeping their tradition alive.
"Matches don’t need to play a leading role. However, we would like to pass on the roots and tradition of our industry." - Kobe Match Corp.
When these two esteemed companies first met, they forged a bond based on an idea alone. After pushing forward and painstakingly developing that idea for three years, the final product we have today signifies the best of Japanese craftsmanship. Not only did they succeed in creating something from their original vision, but they they also accomplished giving new purpose to both of their industries.
Hibi is an inventive way to enjoy the relaxing aromas of incense and it introduces a new mixture of refined fragrances. However, its best feature is that it's quick and easy to use. Struggling to find the time and effort to decompress isn't much of an issue anymore. The name Hibi even translates to "day to day," as the makers hoped it could be something simple enough for you to use each and every day.
Just like it explains on the packaging, Hibi provides users with "10 Minute Aromas," making it appropriate for any free moment. Start things out fresh by lighting a Hibi match stick in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea to help you quietly plan out your day. Take a short, midday break from work and effectively remove the stress with Hibi's beautiful scents. Whatever the time or setting, Hibi can be used to help you regain the peace of mind that is sometimes so hard to achieve.
This new favorite incense of ours is available at both BGS locations (Coolidge Corner and Dedham) as well as our online store. Come stop by the shops to test out their amazing fragrances and say hello.
Comment below if you have questions about Hibi or if you've already tried it and want to let us know what you think. And as always, don't forget to follow us on social media!
- The Boston General Store Team
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