Joanna Cottrell, Founder of Beneficial Blends
Growing a business in aromatherapy products for beauty, health and wellbeing
It was the ‘bling’ in the window that first lured me into the shop… twirling dreamcatchers and crystals. In the essential oils corner, I picked up a fancy bottle, opened it and sniffed… it smelt so lemony and fresh!
It was the 1990s and I’d changed universities in my second year. Living alone in a Leeds bedsit I felt disconnected and depressed, but here was bottled sunshine! I took it home and used it on my burner.
With time, I learned which oils helped me to study better and cure my hangovers; there were a lot back then! I found recipe books and started to tinker – making blends for myself and other students. The benefits were mind-blowing!
Oils work in so many magical ways and I never lost my passion for them, but life took me down other paths. As a single mum, I struggled with the responsibilities of parenthood and working full time in prisons. I was involved in award-winning projects that helped the disadvantaged and marginalised, but in 2001 I became unwell with postnatal depression. After being hospitalised with a painful viral infection, I knew I had to change careers.
Whilst working in a succession of rewarding public sector jobs – including helping council employees deal with stress, anxiety and depression for the past three years – I took control of my own health and wellbeing with oils, which are so much more than ‘just an aroma’. I want others to benefit from their therapeutic properties too, so last summer I completed a diploma in Aromatherapy – earning a distinction.
It’s given me the legitimacy to start selling my ‘Beneficial Blends’ at wellbeing fairs, on Etsy and social media. People who use them recommend them to others and I can feel the buzz growing every day!
My oils are cruelty-free and only contain plants, fruit and a little carrier oil; there’s no perfumes, additives or sulphates. When it comes to other cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products however, it can be tough to find any that aren’t full of nasty toxins.
My next mission is to empower British consumers to find and use products that are safer and better for their families, their home and the environment.