The Aromaflex name came about whilst breastfeeding our second baby. The font was discovered and confirmed whilst pregnant with our third baby. I had always wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl and was the eldest of four in a typical middle class family from Paeroa in the North Island. Family is important to me hence the birth of this lovely wee business to support our family. I will always remember my grandmothers wise words when I was a little girl, "Shells, if you labour with love, you will never work another day in your life". So true. It only feels like yesterday, the children were small and the business was created, now the next generation is starting...
Aromaflex was set up on October 1st, 1995. This was inspired by Shelley who qualified in Aromatherapy and Reflexology in the UK. Her passion started with an Introductory Aromatherapy course in London. Being introduced to the aroma of Lavender essential oil, bought back fond memories of my great grandmother, who lived down the same street as my grandmother. Scent is so powerful. After that, something shifted inside of me, and I knew this was the labor of love I was searching for, that my grandmother used to talk about.
After the birth of my first two children, Aromaflex was created. We moved from the North Island down to Nelson to set up shop on the main drag, Trafalgar Street. This idea was not ever considered in the Aromatherapy world, because the traditional way of seeing a qualified Aromatherapist, was in the form of booking in an Aromatherapy treatment, having an Aromatherapy consultation, followed by a Swedish style massage. This is what I used to do, both in Scotland and in the Whitianga Pharmacy, before we moved to Nelson.
Having previously owned a lovely clothing shop in Paeroa in 1989, (importing clothing and jewelry from Bali); I had some retail and importing experience. However, that exciting career never filled what I was searching for.
The idea of having an Aromatherapy shop, was inspired by 'Neals Yard' a wonderful little blue aromatherapy shop I discovered in Convent Garden, in London years ago. However, they did not sell by the drop or create bespoke aromatherapy blends for clients.
When Aromaflex first started, we started with 10 different brands of essential oils from all around the world. Ranges from Shirley Price, Tisserand, Julique, Culpepper, Absolute Essential, and others. At that time, you could only by 10ml bottle sizes.
In order to provide the smallest amounts possible to our customers, I counted out how many drops were in a 10 ml bottle, and then, how many drops were in a ml. That was how we were able to charge for the small sizes, ranging from 5ml upwards. No other Aromatherapy company I had seen had ever sold oils by the drop and ml. Our big chalk board in the shop still shows the drops and mls prices that are relevant to this day.
All our blends started by making special formulations for people over the counter in Aromaflex. Being a qualified Aromatherapist enabled us to really work out tricky formulations and dispense an array of oils to our customers. Labels were handwritten at the time, and there was a beautiful innocence and unknown field of essential oils and their use back then. Also, refilling of bottles was totally a new concept. Not only do our customers save money, but it's our contribution to sustainability.
Over time, we gained the confidence to start our own label. Aromaflex. The motive was always to provide the best quality at the best price to our customers, and we could only do this if we sourced directly to the farmers locally or internationally. This was a game changer as we were able to make our prices sustainable and offer cheaper prices.
After my mother died of breast cancer in 2000, that was the year we went organic. My motive, because they smelt stronger, the color of the oils was different, and they were easier to inhale via the olfactory system. Who would have thought we would be NZs first Aromatherapy company to be Biogro certified in 2001.
Now the rest of our story is going to be told over our product collections. The background story of how our blends, synergies & sprays etc. were formulated, and how they can be used. We care about safe use of aromatic medicine, and how it has its place with allopathic medicine.
We will continue to provide top quality products that are medicinal grade aromatherapy oils both within and outside of NZ. We will still continue to be the only little aromatherapy shop in New Zealand filling up our clients' bottles, making wee remedies for the young and old and remaining steadfast knowing, that these plant-based formulations really work.