As the maker behind Essence One, Lauren VanScoy has a mission to help others restore a healthy life through the use of natural products. Beginning at step one and utilizing products in their highly-concentrated and natural form, Lauren strives to create blends that help slow down our busy, and stressful lives. This in turn results in the cleansing, restarting and recharging of our bodies, and ultimately contributes to a long and healthy life. To meet Lauren and learn more about Essence One in person, be sure to stop by the upcoming Rummage event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds at the new West End Market September 29-30! Read our full Rummage event preview story full more details!
Talk about the beginnings of Essence One. What inspired you to begin this endeavor?
Following the birth of my second child, I experienced several years of depression that manifested as anxiety due to imbalanced hormones. When I was going through my toughest times, I didn’t know what I needed to feel better. We didn’t know what was going on with me because I had never felt that way before. After about a year of struggles and no clarity, I finally went to a friend’s counselor. I was quickly diagnosed with major depression, so I began exploring different natural alternatives as a means to create balance and restore my mental health. I knew there were great complimentary options in addition to the medication route and my doctor was in full support of me finding my balance. After using essential oils for about a year I started studying to be a Certified Aromatherapist at Aromahead Institute so I could learn the science behind everything. I also made the decision to open up about my mental health struggle one day on Facebook and have never received such a supportive response. I had people messaging me and sharing their mental health struggles, offering conversation and support, and I realized that sharing my own experience was the best thing for me and for others experiencing similar things. Why hide it and feel alone? Sharing my story was the day I started to heal. I started Essence One in May 2016 because ultimately, I wanted to start a company that could help raise awareness for mental health and help people rid their homes of harmful chemicals while enjoying their therapeutic effects. What I had experienced through aromatherapy and how much better my family felt because we had gotten rid of all the harmful chemicals in our house, I wanted to share with others. My husband has been so supportive through it all and is always willing to watch the kids when I run off to a market, cheers with me when I get a repeat or new customer, and is willing to help run my booths when I need it. It’s been a great adventure so far!
Through your own personal experiences with anxiety and depression, what have your studies in aromatherapy given you?
My studies in Aromatherapy have given me so many options to explore when it comes to natural, complementary approaches to my anxiety and depression. Because there is a direct link between what we smell and how our brain and body reacts to that scent, it has the capability to balance emotions and so much more. Through my Aromatherapy Certification I ran case studies and the things I saw my blends do for people were truly amazing. As for myself, I have always been scent-conscious. Even just smelling my children’s hair gives me such comfort and a boost in happiness that I wouldn’t feel otherwise. I have found many essential oils that I adore for calming myself or my family. I am someone that wants to understand why certain oils can provide calming, focused or invigorating feelings and I want to be able to explain it to others. It has been proven that stress can lead to our bodies developing much bigger health threats, which is why most of my products are calming and provide stress relief. Everyone needs to take some time to relax—our bodies depend on it.
How have you grown as a maker and business owner since the beginning of Essence One?
I think when you start a business, any business, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into! There is so much to learn and it takes time to learn it through experience and conversations with other business owners. I have learned a lot in a year and a half and I know I will continue to learn. One of my favorite parts about being a maker in Minnesota is that there is such a great community of makers here. We support each other and share in our excitement together because being a business owner can be lonely. When something great happens you can either have a party with yourself or go find your family of makers to celebrate with! I also quickly realized that I look forward to markets and shows so I can have conversations with people about their own experiences with anxiety and depression. Sometimes it’s one of my products that brings them relief and other times it is just being open about our experiences and talking through our struggles. I actually get more satisfaction out of good conversation with someone than I do if they buy something!
Are experimentation and trying to new techniques important to your vision? What excites you about adding herbalism and organic skincare into your arsenal?
Yes, these are very important. I often experiment with different blends or product recipes to get it just right. I also have my group of testers/local customers to try new products and give feedback before I release them. By adding my studies in herbalism and organic skin and hair care I am going to be able to continue to add products to my line that are safe for us to use.
In terms of living and making in Minnesota, do you feel connected to this place?
I feel incredibly connected to Minnesota. I grew up here, went to college at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN, and I moved back to the area where I grew up after college. Although I am a big whiner in the winter because I really don’t enjoy the cold weather, I continue to live here because it’s my home. Family means a lot to me and most of them are in Minnesota as well. I love the pride we all have in our state and all the Minnesota themed goodies we can buy. I also feel very supported as a local business and maker. There are so many opportunities in Minnesota to share our talents and for that I am incredibly thankful. People value buying local and supporting small businesses in Minnesota, which is what helps those of us that own a small business follow our dreams and live our passions.
What do you find special about working with essential oils and other natural ingredients?
The more I study, the more I realize there are so many companies claiming they make natural products when they don’t. Too many companies are making products with synthetic forms of a natural ingredient and harmful chemicals like aluminum in deodorant or headache-inducing fragrances in cleaners, lotions, body oils and soap. The “natural" label is not as regulated as it should be and that isn’t fair to the consumer. It’s nice to be able to honestly say my products are safe to use, all natural, and smell amazing. My favorite part about working with essential oils is that I get to make customized blends of oils that can have a therapeutic effect. Because they are 100% pure, the scents promote a calm, invigorating, grounded, focused, or content feeling. I love creating something with a certain intension for people and then hearing they love things so much they shower twice a day or want to rub the natural deodorant all over their body because they love the smell so much.
Do you feel like making and creating through your business allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself?
I definitely do. Essence One raises awareness for anxiety and depression and provides a complementary way to find balance. Each quarter Essence One donates a portion of our profits to an organization that brings awareness to mental health education and resources. This quarter I have chosen The Lotus Project. The donation will be used to donate copies of “Growing Through Grief” by Jenny Landon, to people in need of inspiration and clarity after losing a loved one to suicide.