Welcome to 'Chats with Makers'. You're in for a treat this month!
We are super excited to be featuring the wonderful duo behind Clarity Blend, Veronika and Dimitar, who took part in our online Christmas Market last year. Their beautiful gift boxes, range of self care products and interesting blend combinations really stood out to us. Since then, they have completely revamped their brand (it looks amazing), with stunning new imagery, a refreshed website and lots more blends to try. Make sure you head over to their site to check it out!
In this written interview, Veronika gives insight into running a small business, how it all began, and the power of essential oils. We find it fascinating and hope you do too.
Monday 19th July - Clarity Blend x LMM Instagram Takeover and Live at 6pm.
What is Clarity Blend?
Clarity Blend is a wellness brand with a focus on aromatherapy blends.
We have set out to create a range of harmonious blends by using pure high-quality essential oils sourced sustainably. Our blends are created to work wonderfully on your wellbeing – whether deeply calming, soothing, grounding or restorative and are packed with personality and vibrancy.
Our oil blends are multifunctional, they can be applied to your body (bath and massage oil), used with an essential oil diffuser, or mixed to create your own unique blends!
How was your business born and what made you start?
I (Veronika) am originally from Bulgaria and as a child, I spent my summers at my grandparents’ farm surrounded by aromatic fields. I loved making my own potions and odd-coloured concoctions from grass, flower petals, pine needles, herbs and everything that grew on my grandparent’s farm. I loved the life on a small farm – ripe fruits and veggies were always at arm’s reach.
Fast forward to my 20s and early 30s, demanding city jobs and long commutes had left our energy levels depleted: both my husband Dimitar and I experienced muscle tension, feelings of anxiety and bouts of insomnia. With happy memories of growing up surrounded by the aromatic meadows of the Bulgarian countryside, we found ourselves craving the feelings of wellness and calm that time spent in nature had given us.
Even though I have been experimenting with mixing ingredients all my life, I formally came across aromatherapy 5 years ago during a weekend course at Walworth Garden in Kennington. I was captivated by the diversity of scents - from citrus, to florals, to woody, musky, spicy scents to herbaceous scents – the aromas brought me back to my childhood happy place of the scents of my grandparent’s farm.
Thus, Clarity Blend was born out of a profound need to reconnect with ourselves and nature, and achieve a more harmonious way of life as well as a fascination with the benefits of medicinal herbs and plants. This fascination for nature’s diversity is reflected in the personality of our blends which are uniquely colourful and vibrant like no other products on the market.
What are the benefits of using Aromatherapy products?
The word ‘aromatherapy’ sometimes conjures up different connotations – from something that you can only enjoy in a luxury spa or something that has to be ‘administered’ by a qualified professional. But when you think about it aromatherapy means the use of essential oils of some of the most common plants that we use every day as food or herbs, such as peppermint, rosemary, thyme, black pepper or citruses.
With Clarity Blend, our mission is to demystify aromatherapy so that everyone can enjoy its wonderful benefits:
Firstly, on the body, most essential oils have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic and healing properties. Famously, the healing properties of lavender were discovered when a French chemist burned his hand during an experiment in a perfumery factory and plunged his hand into the nearest tub of liquid, which just happened to be lavender essential oil.
Secondly, essential oils are used to boost mood and wellbeing. Our sense of smell is very powerful and surpasses our blood-brain barrier invoking directly a psychological or emotional response. Some essential oils can act as stimulants such as citruses and spices, others like lavender can have a sedative effect.
Finally, essential oils have been used to enhance spiritual practice, to help clear energy blockages in some eastern practices for example, like the seven chakras. Another example is frankincense which has been used for thousands of years in Christianity to facilitate prayer and spiritual awakening.
How are your products made from start to finish?
All our products are fully hand-blended by us in our Wokingham studio. We sample many oils before choosing a supplier and vigorously research the origins of the oil and the plants to ensure the therapeutic quality of the oils. We source some of the essential oils from Bulgaria where we are originally from.
In terms of production process, we strictly follow the practices outlined in the Good Manufacturing Guide and all our formulations are certified and safety approved. We use a mix of art and science. We experiment a lot before finalising a formulation, ensuring that each recipe has distinct olfactory character, wellness benefits and nutritional properties.
Is sustainability important to you?
Sustainability is one of our core values and we are passionate about minimising and
eventually eliminating the use of any form of plastic from our products, and we are
currently around 90% there.
To give you a few examples: we use glass product containers and bamboo and rubber-capped glass pipettes for our body & bath, roll-on, and pure blend bottles; we use metal (as opposed to plastic) roller balls in our pulse point roll-ons; we use grass & aluminium and kraft packaging for our back salts; our product boxes use plain uncoated paper stock and biodegradable inks; all our pamper hampers use kraft boxes combined with a fully recyclable wood wool filling or biodegradable peanut pellets.
We are constantly looking at options to solve the remaining 10%, including our product labels which, whilst using fully recyclable base material have a thin non-recyclable coating applied on the inside to protect the label from the oils; likewise our bamboo caps have a tiny plastic disk to hold the fixture together, etc.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face within your business and how do you overcome it?
Where do we begin…time management is a huge challenge for us. Prioritising tasks and looking at the bigger picture is so important. From customer perspective, there is a lot more work to be done on educating people on how valuable and accessible aromatherapy can be!
Which digital platforms and programs can't you live without?
Instagram has been so important for outreach and connecting with a wonderful community and finding our audience.
In terms of apps, Canva for design, Loox for photo reviews and Klaviyo for email marketing have been amazing!
Everyone appreciates a helping hand. What are your top tips for running a small business?
There are generally so many things a small business owner should be doing that it feels overwhelming at times. Specifically, there are many online marketplaces and digital platforms – e.g. Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. Don’t feel the pressure to be everywhere. Start with what you feel comfortable with and add other platforms gradually.
Are there any exciting projects or plans in the pipeline for Clarity Blend?
We have just re-launched Clarity Blend with revamped new look and packaging on the 15th July. There are 4 new exciting blends to try!
We are also working behind the scenes on something very exciting – a sister skincare brand Rose & Skin coming in September. Rose & Skin will be a celebration of celebrate pure botanical ingredients with a fun and crafty ‘make-your-own skincare’ element. At the centre stage is the Rose, we have sourced organic rose oil and water from Rose Valley in Bulgaria.