5 Minutes With ... Sarah Townsend, The Aromatherapy Co.

In 1990 a Kiwi by the name of Sarah Townsend launched a small business called The Aromatherapy Co. to share her love for nature and essential oils. Who would have thought that 23 years on The Aromatherapy Co. would become one of New Zealand's most popular lifestyle brands. Stocked internationally, this much-loved company offers a wide range of products including candles, diffusers and hand and body lotions to name a few. As the brand gains momentum in Australia, we chat with Sarah about The Aromatherapy Co...

Spoilt loves The Aromatherapy Co! How did the concept start? In the late 1980’s I studied in England and was fortunate enough to meet and be trained with the founder of Meadow Herbs, a traditional French essential oil distiller. This inspiring experience and my love for herbal therapies is what lead me to begin work on my own brand. When I moved back to New Zealand I noticed a gap in the market for 100% pure essential oil based products, which are artificial fragrance and chemical free, that could be used in everyday life and so The Aromatherapy Co. was born. 

Would you say that your love for the garden and creating your own concoctions as a child had an influence on where the brand is today? Yes. From an early age, I have always loved nature and the benefits it can offer. I believe that we can look to the natural world around us for inspiration and utilize the healing and therapeutic properties it has to offer. I am also very intrigued by the unpredictability of nature and the way it is always changing and developing, this allows me to explore new avenues when creating products.

Was it important to you that products are manufactured in New Zealand?
Absolutely! We are 100% committed to manufacturing all body care products in New Zealand. This way we can be 100% sure about what goes into them, and what therefore goes onto your skin. All our products are made under the strictest supervision and to the highest regulated standards. We always prefer to source ingredients and components within New Zealand where possible to support our local economy and reduce our carbon footprint, and where this is not possible we seek to find sustainable and responsible sources for our ingredients.

Are consumers becoming more aware about natural products and fair-trade? I definitely think consumers today are more conscious of purchasing products of this nature. At the Aromatherapy Co. we are constantly searching for new ways to refine our formulations and make them as simple and pure as possible. We care very much about fair trade practices and pride ourselves on being an ethical, professional company. 

Where do you find inspiration for new collections and scent varieties? I draw inspiration from modern fashion and interior look books and my constant analysis of overseas markets. I also like to spend time in my garden and at the local markets in New Zealand to ensure the colours and natural ingredients always reflect nature and our beautiful countryside. 

When not working as the company director, you are a mother of two girls. Is lifestyle hectic? I am a fast paced, full on person. My family is very important to me, so I strive to maintain a healthy work/life balance. I have two daughters and no matter how busy I have been I am always there when it really matters such as important school events and their big moments. I have always ensured that they do their work before I get home from work, so when I am home it is our special time together. I also like to make sure I take regular holidays with my family and use my essential oil blends to relax and re-energise.

Which are your favourite The Aromatherapy Co. products and why? If I was to select the ranges I use on an everyday basis I would have to say The Therapy and Kitchen Therapy ranges. The Therapy range uses 100% pure and natural essential oils to heal the mind, body and spirit. I love spending time in the kitchen, the heart of the home so The Kitchen Therapy range is another group of products I use daily. This range is a new addition to The Aromatherapy Co. family and includes a diffusion set, natural soy candle, hand wash lotion and room spray all blended with the zesty aromas of Lemongrass, Lime and Bergamot. These products are designed to eliminate cooking odors and keep both your kitchen and your hands healthy and germ free. 

The Aromatherapy Co. was established in 1990 – what changes have you seen over the past 23 years? The most distinct change I have seen is the embracing of Aromatherapy. In recent times more people are beginning to understand the benefits of Aromatherapy and willing to spend money on it, putting an emphasis on values such as no animal testing and recycling that have always been at the root of the brand. When I first started, the essential oil products weren’t popular and now we are selling out and have created a whole range around it, Our Therapy Range. This I think comes from the growing awareness of the need to use natural products and protect ourselves from harmful chemicals.

Who would you most love to see adorning their house in your products? I would love to see the founder’s of Sass and Bide, Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clark using our products. They have incredible style and are two inspirational women, who, like us prioritize natural and eco-friendly products. 

And finally Sarah, what makes you feel Spoilt? I feel the most Spoilt when I am spending time with loved ones, I truly believe quality time with the family is so important. I feel incredibly fortunate when I am indulging at my beach house on Waiheke Island with my family and friends. This is my paradise and it is crucial for me to take time out to unwind, regroup and be inspired.

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