Essential oil benefits all of us in small ways – from providing mental stimulation and emotional support, these natural powerhouses pack a punch! Healing, soothing, and comforting depending on which oil you use, there’s sure to be an option to aid your every affliction.
We speak to Jerrica of Soap Cart about essential oil benefits and learn more about why it’s important to go 100% pure and natural. She also shares with us the story of her brand, and its humble beginnings, and provides valuable insight into essential oils that are safe for pets. Pet parents, take note!
Tell me about yourself! How was your first encounter with essential oils, and what drove you to start Soap Cart? Tell us about Soap Cart as a brand, as well as its mission and vision!
I first encountered essential oils when I started making handmade soaps as a hobby. At first, I merely used them for scenting my soaps, but I soon discovered their many benefits. However, my true appreciation for essential oils came when my son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) at the age of three.
SPD is a neurological condition that affects how the brain processes sensory information. Children with SPD can be over or under-sensitive to certain sensory stimuli, such as touch, sound, or smell. As a result, they may have difficulty with daily activities and social interactions. My son’s SPD affects his ability to regulate his emotions, and he often experiences meltdowns when he’s feeling tired or has just woken up from a nap. It was a nightmare cutting his hair, as he would cry about being in pain – especially when hair would fall onto his skin. He had difficulty maintaining social interactions with other children in his nursery, and his teachers had similar difficulties taking care of him. Due to his inability to follow the program, he was not allowed to participate in his school’s annual concert – we were extremely sad.
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After my son’s diagnosis, my husband and I did a lot of research on SPD to better understand the condition. We brought our son for therapy, and from there, we spoke to other parents of special needs children to learn what helped them. This is how we discovered the benefits of essential oils for children with SPD. Essential oils can calm and soothe children, improve their focus and attention, and help them to sleep better.
However, we soon discovered that pure essential oils were costly, especially as there were only a few MLM brands available at the time. Many parents, including ourselves, could not afford these oils in addition to the cost of our children’s various therapy sessions. This was when we conceived of the idea for Soap Cart. We wanted to make high-quality, pure essential oils more affordable so anyone – especially parents of special needs children – could access them without breaking the bank!
Where do you source your essential oils from, and what are some main qualities you look for when choosing a supplier?
Special needs children are very sensitive toward the products that they use. In my son’s case, anything with synthetic fragrance will easily cause agitation. However, once we started introducing pure essential oils to him, his condition started to improve. The following year, he was able to participate in his school’s annual concert, where we proudly watched him play the lead character. These experiences helped us to understand the importance of purity and quality where essential oils are concerned.
We source our oils directly from trusted distilleries with proven track records of excellence. When selecting a supplier, we examine their company background, standards of achievement, and available certifications. We also require supporting documents that verify the oil’s source and purity to ensure that they are 100% pure and natural. This is because only pure and natural essential oils have therapeutic properties and are safe to use, especially for small children and those with special needs.
In all your time as an entrepreneur, what are some key lessons you’ve learned? Share these lessons with us!
Always be honest and genuine in helping customers, as it is incredibly rewarding both personally and for your business. Despite losing out on business, we’ve actually told customers that they do not need to buy our oils upon acquiring a deeper understanding of their problems. Instead, we teach them how to solve their problems by using what they already have. This in turn helps to convert them into our loyal customers as they know that we are sincere in helping them, and aren’t just looking to hard-sell our products.
What is one indispensable piece of advice that you’ve received on running a business that you wish you knew when you first started out?
Leverage and outsource whenever possible. When we first started out, we did everything ourselves, and that caused us to burn out! We barely had time to think about business from a strategic standpoint. Now that we outsource some parts of operations, such as delivery and administration, we have more time to make plans for Soap Cart.
What’s your personal favourite essential oil or essential oil blend and why are they beneficial?
My favourite essential oil blend is actually a very basic blend of lavender and peppermint. This blend is relaxing, and at the same time refreshing. It’s great when used in a diffuser at night before sleep, especially when you can feel that you’re coming down with the flu.
Share some essential oils that can help with common conditions like headaches, sinus and flus, stress, and insomnia. What applications would you suggest for these symptoms and oils?
Peppermint, spearmint, and eucalyptus are great for headaches, sinus issues, and the flu. As for stress and insomnia, you can go with lavender, frankincense, geranium, or chamomile. As these work to support your respiratory system and emotions, I would suggest leveraging their benefits through inhalation. Simply diffuse them into the air! You can also put a few drops on a handkerchief or in a personal inhaler and use that throughout the day.
What’s something you wish more people knew about essential oil benefits and their usage?
Many people mistake the diffuser for the humidifier and vice versa when diffusing essential oils.
Humidifiers usually require water-soluble fragrances and aroma oil for the scent to disperse properly. However, pure essential oils are NOT water soluble. That’s why customers sometimes comment that the scents of essential oils are very faint or do not last long when used in humidifiers.
For essential oils to be water soluble, one first needs to add an emulsifying agent or a synthetic emulsifier. This helps it to disperse in water, but also makes it so the oil is no longer 100% pure and natural. Another thing to note is that most humidifiers are made of materials that are not compatible with pure essential oils. Thus, this can cause the humidifier unit to crack.
Pure essential oils should be used in diffusers. It’s best to check your machine specifications and manual. If you see that it only works with water-soluble oil, then it is not a pure essential oil diffuser.
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Tell us a little bit about how to properly store essential oils. How should we be storing them at home, and how long can we keep a bottle before it goes rancid?
Always keep essential oils in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. Dark amber glass bottles are best to protect them from sunlight and UV rays. Ensure that the cap of the bottle is tightly closed after use. This helps prevent oxidation and evaporation of the essential oils. It is also important to keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
The shelf life of essential oils can vary depending on the oil and its storage conditions. For example, tea tree oil can last up to 2 years, while sandalwood can last between 6-8 years. In general, essential oils can last for several years if stored properly. Another thing to note is that essential oils do not really turn rancid. However, over time, they will lose their therapeutic properties, and their scents will change due to oxidation. Oils that have changed in this way should no longer be used for topical application as they will cause sensitivities or allergies. When in doubt, it’s best to discard the oil and purchase a fresh bottle.
Many pet owners may be wary of using essential oils at home. Could you share some pet-safe essential oils, as well as options for how to use these oils in order to ensure they do not harm pets or small children?
Here are some pet-safe essential oils and how you can use them:
- Lavender oil is a gentle, calming oil that can help soothe nervous pets. It can be used to reduce anxiety in pets during car rides, vet visits, or other stressful situations. You can diffuse lavender oil in a well-ventilated area. Alternatively, you can dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil and apply it to your pet’s bedding.
- Frankincense oil is a great choice for pets with respiratory issues. It can help alleviate coughing and breathing difficulties. Dilute it with carrier oil and apply it to your pet’s chest or diffuse it in a well-ventilated area.
- Citronella oil can be helpful in repelling insects like fleas and ticks. Dilute it with carrier oil and apply it to your pet’s collar or diffuse it in a well-ventilated area.
- Chamomile oil is another calming oil that can help reduce anxiety in pets. It can be used the same way you would use lavender oil.
When using essential oils around pets, it’s important to remember that they are far more sensitive to smells than humans are. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil and start with a small amount to see how your pet reacts. Keep essential oils out of reach of pets and small children, and never apply them directly to your pet’s skin unless properly diluted.
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However, do note that essential oils can be toxic to cats. Therefore, it’s important to use them with caution around your feline friends. Cats lack certain enzymes in their liver that help to metabolise certain compounds found in essential oils, which can lead to toxicity even with small amounts. Some essential oils that are generally considered to be unsafe for cats include tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, orange oil, lemon oil, and cinnamon oil. If you do choose to use essential oils around your cat, avoid using them topically and opt for a personal essential oil inhaler instead. When diffusing these oils, always do so in a well-ventilated area. Always ensure that there’s a way for your cat to leave the area if they don’t like the scent.
How do you balance your personal life, and running a business as an entrepreneur?
Soap Cart is currently being managed by myself and my husband. We basically talk about the business almost every day. But we do make it a point to relax and have family time at night and during the weekends!
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