Hot! Dana Frost, Capim Santo Alchemy

Capim Santo Alchemy of Wilmette, Ill., makes artisan blends of pure essential oils.

‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business: It happened in February 2012 at an Aveda Store. I entered tired and lacking in vitality; I left feeling refreshed and revitalized, which left an impression on me that directed my thoughts towards my use of oils with my coaching clients. I had this ‘Ah ha’ dreaming experience that night about creating a business out of my essential oils to offer rejuvenation and support to a broader audience, particularly women who are stretched in a thousand directions.

Ideal Customer: Anyone is who is open to awakening and utilizing the senses as part of their wellness practice.

First Customer: As a Master Certified Life Coach with Martha Beck, Inc., I had been using therapeutic essential oils personally and with my coaching clients for five years but my first paid Aromatherapy client came after I launched my oils at a Martha Beck coaching summit. My first signature blend was well received and purchased there and after the summit several coaches hired me to craft a custom blend for their businesses.

Measuring Success: Success is when my blends have a positive impact on my clients. If my Aromatherapy encourages, increases the vitality, heals brokenness, motivates change and transformation in the lives of my clients, then I’ve been successful.

Biggest Struggle: I feel like I’m still overcoming struggles. First and foremost the internal dialogue of the success of Capim Santo Alchemy and my own path. Will I be able to make this financially sustainable (a real business) or is this another hobby? My intention is to create a business not enjoy a hobby.

Surprise!: It can be lonely and just because you may be passionate, success is not guaranteed.

Two things I wish I would’ve known: I’m a quick start, so I jump in before I know everything and that feels natural to me. I’m not a fact finder so I don’t need to know everything before beginning. I wish I would have been more intentional about building my network. I still want to know more about outsourcing the blending process for signature blends.

What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Details that I need to take care of and haven’t, for example, hire an attorney.

Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Yes, because having my own business requires a lot of personal work on myself first and foremost. All of my own doubts and dirt surface and I must face these in order to keep moving forward which means not just hard work business wise, but internal deep work of the soul which requires more true grit than the business hard work. Although I’ve been tempted, I’m not caving because I’ve been out of the official working world for a long time having been a trailing spouse abroad for 10 years and I want autonomy in my working life. I want to be my own boss and set my own schedule so I can honor all my values.

Moving Forward: Capim Santo Alchemy is financially profitable and I have repaid our personal investment. I plan to complete my branding materials and launch a social media marketing campaign.

Pricing, Getting It Right: Experiment. Nothing needs to be set in stone.

The absolute best part of owning my business is: the freedom to be creative.

If I had to start over again, I would have: done more research specific to an aromatherapy business.

I never imagined: choosing colors for my labels and getting packaging completed would be so difficult.

If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because they are opportunities for growth, deeper understanding and a knowledge base.”

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