We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Harrington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
As someone who’s changed career paths, this has been a very difficult question to answer. In my first profession, I struggled with being a full-time audio engineer/ musical artist. I eventually put a lot of pressure on myself to rely on it for a living and lost my love for it. Once I lost the love i knew i had to find something else to cover the bills so i could rekindle the relationship I had with music.
In my new profession as an incense maker, I don’t have a monetary goal. I have many, many ideas that I have years to chip away at and make a reality. The possibilities are pretty endless due to how many ingredients I can mix together to make a fantastic aroma.
I think the biggest factor that keeps me going is the fact that what i’m doing is mine. I am the final say. I don’t have to get approval from someone if I come up with an idea. I can just do. My fate is my own.
If what you’re doing is killing your spirit and you’re no longer happy doing it, i’d say find a new thing. I still found a way to integrate my audio knowledge into my incense products. The audio called me back. If you do “give up,” it might just be for a short time. Breaks are healthy too.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Ingredients: What i’ve come to realize is that incense isn’t regulated. I came across many blends that use chemicals to either enhance aroma, increase burn time, keep shape, etc. I have friends that do not like incense because it gives them headaches. My goal from the beginning has been to create all-nature blends. That way I can have more control and always deliver a quality product that isn’t damaging to the user.
I am a transplant from Boston. My 2nd day in Arizona I visited Sedona and fell in love. It has such an incredible energy that I connect with. Because of that, I use vortex-charged water from Oak Creek to form every cone.
Each blend comes with an exclusive soundtrack that matches the vibe of the aroma. These pieces of music are created by some of my favorite Arizona music producers and are available via QR code with each pack. I do the mixing and mastering of the tracks.
Each blend has a dedicated, exclusive art piece by @spectacular.way (instagram) on the front face of the packaging. He helped me shape and design my packaging as well. I’ve used him for album art in the past and was a great help in my new venture.
What I’m most proud about is the fact that I’m seeing all of my ideas through. It took me 8 months just to get my packaging printed. Not designed… printed. VERY discouraging and gave me a lot of doubt for the future. I hit many. many speed bumps and still do. I’m not going at the pace that I expected but this isn’t something I’ve done before so I had to learn to re-frame my expectations.
I’ve learned that starting a business and trying to maintain it is absolutely not easy. I can see why many people don’t do it. If this wasn’t a passion, I’m not sure I would be doing it at all (it’s hard work!). I’ve created something to do for myself. It’s not something i submitted a resume for or was asked to do and i like that i have something that drives me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Restaurants we’d hit in Phoenix: -Cherry Blossom (Dinner)
-Federal Pizza (Lunch/ Dinner)
-La Grande Orange (Coffee & Breakfast)
-A.T. Oasis (Coffee)
I’d want to take him to a Yoga Nidra class with Cannakula (Jen Miles)
At night, go to a show at Shady Park in Tempe. If the time is right, 1st Friday or Full Moon Festival.
-Sedonuts (Coffee & Donuts)
-Airport Mesa (for sunrise and/ or sunset)
While in Sedona we’d have to stop by in Jerome where the view is amazing and the shops & atmosphere is unmatched
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I was very lost on where to start learning about incense. After some searching i came across Carl Neal aka “The Incense Dragon” on Youtube. I watched all of his videos, bought a few of the books he referenced and bought his kits to make at home.
His at-home kits were a way for me to test out the process of hand-rolling. I also didn’t need to worry about powdering ingredients or importing anything. After trying out a few of his kits, i started to blend his kits together. That’s when my curiosity to find my own ingredients and make my own blends began.
Other: Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/incentive_aromaz TikTok: @incentivearomaz