By Jessica North-O’Connell
As Aromatherapists we are fortunate to not only work one-on-one with clients but also to sometimes be invited to present our knowledge to a greater audience. From talks, workshops and presentations to home spa parties and bridal showers, sharing our passion for our fabulous wellness modality can offer us new ways to fall in love with it all over again; to learn to see it from different perspectives and to appreciate our clients’ and potential customers’ enthusiasm at being introduced to new methods for safeguarding and maintaining of their own well-being.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a few ways to enhance this aspect of my practice, drawing from my own experiences and those of fellow practitioners.
Creating a basic Aromatherapy Kit – You will always need something you can use to transport your essential oils, carrier oils, and other accouterments. I find an older hard- shell overnight luggage case, with a removable tray, perfect for this purpose. (You can sometimes find them at second-hand or vintage/retro shops.) The removable tray will usually have compartments where you can store your essential oils upright so that the labels on their lids are visible. If your preferred brand does not have labels, consider making them yourself. It is simple to do using round blank labels and it makes finding the appropriate essential oils quick and easy when you are simultaneously talking with others.
I add a 60 ml bottle or two of carrier oil and a baggie with a few 5 and 10 ml bottles with lids so that I can make up blends for clients on the spot. Having a few 2 ml containers with hole-reducers is also a good idea. That way, I can make up a blend without adding carrier so that the client can add their blend to a carrier oil of their choice as they need it. The blend lasts longer, as the client is only using what they need rather than being concerned about it losing potency over a short few days.
Place the tray holding the bottles in the bottom of the case to ensure that taller bottles will not interfere with the case’s ability to close properly.
In a zippered container, such as a cosmetics bag, I carry a packet of small sheets of labels with my logo, blank labels for instructions for clients, a pad of sticky notes to record the particulars of any blends (such as who it is for, the date and the recipe, etc.) and a few pens. I like to have a variety of colors for color-coding so that clients can easily identify their blends if they are receiving more than one at a time.
I also add small packages of sterile cotton-tipped sticks and cotton balls (in a pinch, these can double for disposable fragrance-testing paper strips if you run out of them when doing a demonstration or presentation), as well as a spice jar containing whole coffee beans. The human’s sense of smell usually becomes “muddled” after sampling more than three different scents. Sniffing the coffee “clears the nose,” enabling the discernment of subsequent aromas.
I like to carry a small reference book for those moments when I may need help remembering all the applications of various essential oils – we all have our favorites and sometimes we forget that these also have applications other than those to which we’ve grown accustomed.
Lastly, but certainly of great importance, is “clean-up” accouterment! You will need something to protect any surface upon which you are demonstrating essential oils or creating blends. Essential oils can quickly damage vulnerable surfaces and will even remove varnish. I recommend using a washable plastic place mat (I have two small ones that are meant for putting one’s coffee and a snack on a work desk, but you can cut a larger mat in half or smaller so that it will fit into your carry case). Also, you will need something with which to clean up any spills. I recommend both washable and disposable wipes.
Years ago, one colleague of mine was presenting to a group. A few minutes before her presentation, she decided to prepare some samples of essential oils for application by making up bottles her audience could pass around. She was preparing a sample of Thyme essential oil (Thymus vulgaris) when she accidentally knocked over the essential oil bottle, the contents of which quickly spread across the varnished surface of the small table upon which she was working. Without anything to clean up the spill, she wiped it up with her hand and ran to a washroom to find some paper towels with which to clean the table. Afterward, she washed her hands thoroughly. The rest of the presentation went smoothly.
The next day, however, she felt very ill, as though she were coming down with the flu. Her stomach was upset, her head ached and she felt dizzy. Because she had booked a very early appointment, she wasn’t able to re-book and so did her hour-long session with her client, suffering quietly. Afterward, she was able to cancel the rest of her appointments for the day and finally went back to bed. Lest we forget, we Aromatherapists, essential oils are powerful and potent. Treat them with the utmost care and respect!
I liked my travel kit so well, I now store all my essential oils this way (except the most volatile, which live in the refrigerator in their own zippered container until needed). It goes without saying, my kit is stored in the coolest part of the basement to prolong the shelf life of the essential oils.
Try making your own travel kit and see how you like it. It saves time when you’re on the go and can help you keep your essential oils organized, no matter what.
Jessica North-O’Connell is founding Priestess of Faerie Mound Mystery School and Great Goddess Alive! Alchemical Arts & Services. She has been a practicing aromatherapist for 20 years, a Reiki and Soul Realignment practitioner, as well as a Tarot and Rune reader. She offers classes and programs and has aspirations of opening a Retreat center for creative recovery. Find her at www.facebook.com/jessica.northoconnell and www.greatgoddessalive.com