Earlier this month, trendy fragrance brand Pinrose announced the upcoming release of its "Starter Witch Kit," set to launch at Sephora stores nationwide and online starting October 9. With nine sample-sized Pinrose perfumes, a tarot deck, a stick of "cleansing sage," and a piece of rose quartz, the kit would ostensibly contain everything you could ever need to incorporate elements of pagan rituals into your everyday life this Samhain season, for just $42.
The backlash was swift — with critics taking to social media to call both Pinrose and Sephora out on the decision to commodify a religion that's long been demonized by the mainstream (Salem, ever heard of it?) and box it up into a cutesy, mass-market-friendly derivative. Within days, the company announced that it would be pulling the collection entirely.
"First and foremost, to those who have shared their disappointment or taken offense to this product, we apologize profoundly," a statement on the Pinrose website, posted last week, begins. "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."
In addition to calling off the production of the kit, the company also addressed concerns regarding the inclusion of white sage, which is a crucial element in sacred Native American smudging rituals. "Per the USDA’s 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 memo reads. "The sage is grown in the wild in California and is sustainably harvested and sold by Native American owned and operated businesses ... The product did not reference ceremonial smudging or ceremony circles."
These concerns are completely valid, and it's also worth noting that Pinrose's misstep is far from the first time a mainstream brand has co-opted elements of witchcraft or indigenous culture in the name of "lifestyle" trends. We've reached out to Pinrose and Sephora for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.