Monday, April 5, 2010
Essential News-Going Green
E-tips for Aromatherapy Awareness
Contributed by Rose Chard LMT Aromatherapist
Tips for the Working Aromatherapist
There are a lot of people who want to enjoy the benefits of true aromatherapy yet unbeknownst to them, they purchase inferior products which do not provide the therapeutic property intended. They in turn pass off aromatherapy as pointless and the aromatherapy industry loses credibility. It is not the customer's fault that the majority of apparent aromatherapy products do not hold true to the principles of aromatherapy. As an aromatherapist, you have naturally been drawn to the botanical world, understood its value and decided to get educated. For many others, this knowledge would be embraced and welcomed if the proper principles were shown to them. This is why your dedication to supporting your clients with information about true aromatherapy and education about this industry is important.
Starting a business that involves aromatherapy as part of your business model is exciting as well as overwhelming. Exciting because a growing number of people are looking to take more control of their well-being. Overwhelming because it is often difficult to know how to start an aromatherapy business - there is no set model to follow. However, this is a growing industry so it is an excellent time to add aromatherapy to your current business or to begin one based on aromatherapy. Here a few tips to help you along the way.
Do not assume clients or customers know the basics of aromatherapy
You are more of an expert than you think (given that you follow the ethical guidelines), and the education you have is very valuable to the interested consumer. I continue to learn this lesson every day when customers ask questions such as "Is it OK to blend eucalyptus with another essential oil in a diffuser?"
The knowledge you hold may seem obvious to you but it is a treasure to a great many that are beginning their aromatherapy journey. So while you continue to educate yourself to further advance your studies, the knowledge you have now is very powerful and is where you should be starting with your clients. It is a fact that a great number of people still do not understand the difference between an essential oil and fragrance oil, how to distinguish a true aromatherapy product by reading a label or that essential oils have uses other than aromatic pleasure. These people need you. And as an aromatherapist, you should recognize your role in proper education of the principles of aromatherapy for those that want and need that education.
Be specific about what you offer, start small and build from that.
It's true there are many essential oils out there and at least twelve different ways of applying them such as in carriers, a bath, in diffusers, etc. Then there are routes of absorption in the body such as inhalation and dermal. There is aromatherapy history, safety issues, the profiles of each of the individual oils, therapeutic properties, deciphering pure oils from synthetics, dealing with inaccurate information and dubious products with aromatherapy labeling and so forth. Even these aromatherapy basics are an incredible amount of information to absorb. Make no mistake that aromatherapy is a discipline but it is a worthy one.
Newcomers will not immediately be able to grasp the whole concept of aromatherapy and you are not going to be able to communicate this information without a good business model. It is so important to explain to your clients what you are doing and why - you should not deprive them of this valuable information. Think about the aspects of aromatherapy that are important to your business. Take those aspects and describe them in a way that makes sense to your customers or clients and allows you to effectively communicate a message. Then move on from there. For example, if you are a massage therapist you might want to begin with a selection of pre-made blends that your clients can choose from, such as a muscle blend for those who complain about fatigued muscles, a relaxation blend for those who need to unwind and so forth. You can promote your blends by explaining to your clients why a blend will have its intended effect and why the cold pressed carrier oil base you will putting on their bodies is healthy for them.
If you are using quality oils and quality carrier oils, your clients they need to know this and that one aspect of aromatherapy is that natural products limit the intake of synthetic toxins and artificial preservatives in their system. If you are providing your clients this service without promoting it, then how will you set yourself apart from other businesses? And worse still, your clients will not know the important added benefits of what you offer.
I have always been taught that if you are going to start something, do it right. This has served me well in differentiating what I offer from other services and products out there. I will give the same advice to you. If you are offering quality aromatherapy products or services, then you need to stick to that commitment. It is important to be discerning in your purchasing because you need to keep an eye on the finances in your business. However, purchasing inferior products to save a buck will not make you successful. Quality products and services will speak for themselves. Keeping costs down with quality stock is harder so consider starting out with a smaller stock of well chosen quality products. Another benefit of this approach that may not be obvious is that because there are more people using inferior quality products there is a lot of competition among those who work with inferior products. Happily, when you maintain a high standard of quality in your products, you will find yourself facing less competition.
Decide who your demographics will be
Before you can begin successfully selling your service or product, you need to understand what aspect of the aromatherapy business you are marketing and who comprises your market. Ask questions such as: Where do I practice? What is my typical demographic? How many people do I want to appeal to? For example, my company, Your Body Needs, is located just outside Washington DC. Most of the clientele in this area work long hours, are middle to upper income and are generally not considered the 'laid back' type. We have had great success explaining the basics of aromatherapy from a simple academic approach rather than a more ethereal one. We may say something like, "the essential oil of ginger and black pepper in our muscle rub encourages better circulation and brings blood to an area more quickly." Most of our clients would not understand a sentence like "ginger oil will stimulate the yang energy of the kidneys." We have made firm decisions about what is important to us as a company and how we want to represent the business of aromatherapy. We made these decisions based on who we are, what we offer and who our target audience is. This will be a very helpful tool for you to consider when beginning a business. Even though it is important to have your business reflect you, it is equally as important to access what your clients or customers really need or want.
Be proud to promote the benefits of aromatherapy
There are tremendous benefits to living an aromatherapy-based life. It is OK to explain why your clients' lives can be improved by making simple changes such as purchasing pure essential oils over fragrance quality or synthetic aromas, or using pure natural-based body products rather than inferior mineral oil-based products. If you are able to communicate truthfully the benefits of pure aromatherapy products versus the alternative, then you are respecting your business and clients who seek your services and want to understand the greater aromatherapy community.
Charge adequately to reflect the value of your service or product
Most of us do not get into an aromatherapy business because we are interested in making Forbes' 100 Fortune list. You likely got into this business because you have a passion for it. At the same time, maintaining a sense of the value of products and the service you provide is as essential to success as working your passion. If you do not value your service or product and do not put a fair price on it, then how will clients or customers come to respect it? Do not undervalue your aromatherapy service or product. Be fair - to yourself and your clients.
The aromatherapy business is booming. You will be in great shape if you: are respectful of the discipline as a whole, accept that the knowledge you have is valuable and people will benefit from it, and have clarity on how you will communicate your message about the benefits of true aromatherapy.
Rose Chard is the owner of Your Body Needs...a massage and aromatherapy studio providing products and services in Crofton, Maryland and online at www.YourBodyNeeds.com.
Rose gained her Certificate in Aromatherapy from the American College of Health Sciences in Portland, Oregon; a leader in natural health education. Rose's dedication to the field earned her a nomination as outstanding Graduate of the Year in 2004. Rose has incorporated essential oils in her personal life for more twenty years and now her company has its own growing line of quality aromatherapy products and essential oils. Your Body Needs helps people discover the everyday benefits of aromatherapy and also offers popular aromatherapy workshops. Rose is an adjunct staff member at Anne Arundel Community College teaching the principles of Aromatherapy to other health care professionals. She is a licensed massage therapist and member of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, the Aromatherapy Registration Council and the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Visit her website at www.yourbodyneeds.com