When building a small business there are so many challenges. Sometimes sharing best practises with others in a similar situation can make all the difference. Learning from mistakes, developing product ranges, streamlining processes, all of these things take time and perseverance. We are very lucky at OnlyWillow to have the fantastic supportive colleagues and followers that we do, that has helped make this dream a reality.
Everyone has a passion, and part of ours is to recognise and raise up independent businesses like ours, to build a community of support and motivation.
Every month we want to share the with you a fellow small business/craftperson, might be someone you are aware of already, it might be something you have never thought about, but it’s all about inspiration and appreciation. This month we would like to introduce you to South Lakes Aromatherapy;
My name is Claire, and I’m the founder of South Lakes Aromatherapy. I’m a qualified Aromatherapist, and I make beautiful products to help the body and mind. I’m based in Kendal, Cumbria and very proud to be from the beautiful Lake District. I qualified back in June 2017, and although I love Aromatherapy massage – making products was my real passion.
After qualifying, I began developing a product range. To sell cosmetic products in the UK, there are a number of stringent guidelines that must be followed. The products were safety tested by a cosmetic chemist, and once that was complete, they need to be listed on the European Cosmetic Portal. It’s a lengthy and costly process – and especially hard as I’d designed the recipes myself. Things needed tweaking to get everything just right. Afterwards I joined Etsy and made lots of new connections. I haven’t looked back since, and have produced several wholesale orders, had multiple stockists and currently work alongside some wonderful businesses, both local and further afield.
Many things inspire me. I’m fiercely proud of our beautiful landscapes here in Cumbria, and nature never fails to fascinate me. I walk a lot with my dog Theo, and love to admire the different flowers and plants that grow, both wild and in gardens we pass. The outdoors is such a wonderful healer, and stress reliever- always feel much better after being in natural surroundings. I try to incorporate botanicals into most of my products. Self-care is often overlooked until something is wrong, by then it can be more difficult to treat a stress disorder. Making time for regular relaxation has so many benefits to clients.
My favourite part of my job is helping my clients! Whenever I receive feedback from a client to say they slept better, feel calmer, or felt more comfortable – I take great pride in knowing that Aromatherapy has helped. Many people are sceptical of the benefits, but essential oils have been used for thousands of years as a holistic treatment approach.
A difficulty I’ve had to learn to overcome is having confidence. All of my senior school reports said “Claire lacks confidence” and it continues to affect my adult life. There is a daily wrestle with self-doubt; “is this good enough?/do people really like the products?/can I do this?”. Arranging business meetings with potential suppliers is terrifying – think Dragons Den fear – but every time I try to remember the following things, and it does help.
1) Know your products – really know them inside out, the benefits, who should avoid them etc.
2) Be prepared for criticism and learn constructively from it.
3) The suppliers are just people, who were brave and decided to go for it!
4) Believe in yourself and your brand – if you don’t do this then how are you going to convince others?
So, what’s next for South Lakes Aromatherapy? As the business grows, I’d like to launch a new range of bath bombs – the design process is currently underway and I’m incredibly proud and excited for the next reveal! I’d like to continue learning and continue to build on the relationships I’ve made with clients and peers. Most of all, continue to enjoy being an Aromatherapist – it’s a wonderful privilege that people put their trust in you to help with problematic issues; and helping them overcome these provides me with so much joy.
We hope this inspires you if you are thinking of turning a hobby into a business, there are so many brave people who have taken that step out there willing to show their support, so feel free to reach out if you have questions.
Stay Safe and Shop Local where you can.
Written by Siobhan Green