Is smell the most powerful sense of all? Have you ever experienced a scent waft into your nose before immediately striking your soul, transporting you to a moment in time long forgotten?
Aromatherapists understand the power of essential oils and their scent.
They work with them to influence our memory and our hormones, blood pressure, stress levels, breathing, heart rate, and more. Years ago, Lassie had no time for such thinking. She was busy at university studying interior architecture and trying to manage a very real personal demon. Little did she know essential oils would one day not only help her own healing but many others. We caught up with Lassie, the founder of Lunar&Co aromatherapy soy candles, wax melts and essential oil blends.
Lassie, tell us about the challenges you faced as a teenager and through university.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 15 and struggled with it until I was 18. Shortly after, I went to university, and that’s where my depression morphed into social anxiety. It was terrible. It would often manifest itself in an obsession that my house was going to burn down. This dread would take over my life. I would be out and suddenly convince myself that I had left the stove on, despite also knowing very categorically that I hadn’t used it. I would work myself up into such a panic that I would be unable to breathe. I’d go home to discover, no surprises, the stove was off.
How did you manage your way out of your anxiety?
I discovered yoga. Initially, I began yoga because of a bad back. However, I soon realised that my anxiety attacks weren’t happening on the days that started with yoga. All through that period, my mum was trying to push natural remedies on me. I would call her a white witch. Of course, I have since turned into my mother!
Image by Ellie Hemsley
So how does an interior architect with no interest in natural remedies end up starting a business selling aromatherapy products?
I got into the course because I loved watching Homes Under The Hammer on TV and thought I wanted to redo houses. I didn’t enjoy the degree but ultimately found a job in London working for an interior design company. I was there for eight months before having an “Escape To The Country” and moving to Suffolk to live with my partner. I found employment fairly quickly, but I was furloughed six weeks later due to the pandemic. Then, in September, my role was made redundant.
But during those six months of furlough, I realised I had an opportunity. One of mum’s friends was working in aromatherapy, and they suggested I see her. I was sceptical. I mentioned to mum’s friend some of the health challenges I’d had over the past few years. She told me I reminded her precisely of herself and the problems she had experienced growing up. She explained how aromatherapy had helped her to overcome many of them.
I’ve since learned that there is an alternative way of dealing with my health conditions. Conventional medicine doesn’t approach problems with a long-term solution; it just deals with the present-day symptoms. Also, some of the prescriptions can themselves cause other health concerns. Exploring a more natural way of living has become very important to me.
Fantastic advice, thank you. Let’s talk about Lunar&Co. Tell us about your business.
Lunar&Co is a non-toxic well-being business selling essential oil scented soy candles, wax melts and oil blends. I work to make my products natural, accessible, gender-neutral and above all, premium quality. I don’t skimp on anything - everything I source is the very best. The oils are 100% pure organic. I didn’t realise that my unwavering resolution to only provide premium was, in fact, a unique selling point. It turns out that because my products really are natural and are genuinely made from the best ingredients, they can be enjoyed by people with toxin-induced chronic illnesses. So many of my customers are attracted to Lunar&Co because it doesn’t exacerbate their sickness but instead actually help their symptoms.
Image by Ellie Hemsley
What products do you make?
There are eight scents, and these are available in soy candles, wax melts or essential oil blends. The include blends designed for:
- Hormonal balance
I hand-pour them at home. The blending process is quite involved. Typically scents aim to incorporate base notes, medium notes and top notes. The idea being that a top note is what first triggers your awareness, but it’s also the most fleeting. Inversely the base note is what you will sense last, but it lingers. Sometimes I blend working with just the base and middle notes; it depends. I think I have a natural nose for detecting notes, but everything I know about aromatherapy has been self-taught.
How do you develop your aromatherapy blends?
First of all, I consider the pain point. Let’s say it’s a hormonal imbalance. I then seek out oils I know will help relieve some of these symptoms. So bergamot is excellent for boosting confidence. Geranium rose is a good mood stabiliser. Clary sage is a classic energiser. I find the right selection of essential oils, and then it’s a case of working out how to harmonise the notes. Initially, it doesn’t always go to plan, and so tweaking is involved!
What do your customers say about Lunar&Co?
The response has been incredible. I have customers saying that they now have to buy my sleep candle as it’s the only thing that helps them get to sleep. Others have noticed that their hay fever symptoms have been greatly relieved. So many people comment on the quality, which is reassuring. So many players in this industry create candles and such on the cheap but then package them up and market them as a premium product. They must have substantial profit margins. I don’t subscribe to doing business like that. Pulling the wool over people’s eyes is not what Lunar&Co ever wants to be about. Instead, I want to help people emotionally and physically with these products, and the only way I can do that is to maintain the very best quality products. That comes at a price, which I try to mitigate as best I can by keeping my profit margins low. So it’s gratifying to get feedback specifically about the quality and how my product has in some way benefited the customer’s well-being.
Strong ethics are important to Lunar&Co. Quality ingredients aside, what else does the business do to maintain the moral compass?
Minimising my impact on the environment is very important. I only use glass jars, and if a customer returns five empty, they receive a £10 Lunar&Co voucher. I use only recyclable packaging - absolutely no plastic goes into any stage of postage. I’ve also committed to donating 10% of profit to charity. At the moment, the chosen charity is Period Poverty UK, which contributes clean, non-toxic sanitary items to women who can’t afford them. I always want to give back to others.
What’s been your most important learning since you took off on the Lunar&Co adventure?
It has really opened my eyes to living in a toxic world and how much some people suffer. When I started Lunar&Co, my goal wasn’t to help people with toxic related illnesses. It’s just become such a natural conclusion due to using premium ingredients and wanting to embrace a more natural way of life. My customers have educated me about the importance of staying away from toxic products. When you think about all our exposure to toxins, it is hardly surprising illness and disease are so prevalent. We can’t avoid these toxins entirely, but we can apply barriers.
Image by Ellie Hemsley
Tell us more about your interpretation of a “more natural way of living”. How can people avoid exposure to toxins?
There are some reasonably easy wins anyone can adopt straight away. My top suggestions would be:
- Switch out all your beauty products. We have thick skin, sure, but it still absorbs much of what we apply to it, and that goes into your bloodstream.
- Don’t inhale toxic fragrances and avoid products like candles that use synthetic scents. Cheap paraffin wax isn’t good for you. I only use soy wax. It’s not possible to source organic soy, but I’ve found the highest quality non-GMO soy available.
- Switch to organic eating where and when possible. That’s not always easy on a budget, but My boyfriend and I navigated around that by renting a plot of land where we can grow our own harvest. Doing this with friends can share the costs and the workload. These days I also would be more than happy to sacrifice a night out on the town if it means having more budget for quality, nutrient-rich food.
- Reduce your EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure. This might seem complicated given the world is so connected and ‘on’. But apply simple changes like not taking your mobile to bed with you at night or not charging it near where you sleep or work. You can also look at EMF clothing and accessories.
- Reduce plastic use—everything from plastic packages to single-use plastic bottles to even activities like microwaving something with a plastic cover.
I’d also add, don’t get overwhelmed by these changes. Don’t feel you have to implement them all at once and adopt them exclusively. I still use a mobile phone. I still occasionally eat non-organic when what I want isn’t available. Small and/or occasional changes lead to something bigger.
What’s next for Lunar&Co?
I’d like to go into skincare, but there are many hoops one has to jump through. I have so many dreams for my business!
Let’s finish on a fun note. I am going to name some emotions or states of being, and you recommend an essential oil that will encourage it or help suppress it.
- Satisfaction - I’d go for bergamot or ylang-ylang for boosting self-confidence
- Celebration - As celebration comes with a range of emotions, I will suggest lemon for this one; it’s energising and can also encourage self-confidence, all whilst calming anxiety to help you celebrate whatever has earned it!
- Grief - I think as grief completely throws our emotions, I’d go for frankincense which is a calming and grounding scent to help work through the upturn
- Joy - Bergamot is both a mood-elevating and calming essential oil which I feel would help balance someone’s emotions to find joy
- Jealousy - jealousy often stems from a lack of confidence in yourself, so I’d suggest self-esteem boosting ylang-ylang
- Cleansed - peppermint is a refreshing and energising scent, which is great to bring clarity
- Anger - lavender is a sedative, so this is a great one to help encourage calmness and to bring someone back to earth
Lassie, thank you so much for sharing your time with us! It’s been wonderful to get to know Lunar&Co, and we wish your business every continued success!
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