We love featuring our students and graduates all around the world and are very proud to introduce you today to Andrea Ashley. Andrea Ashley is run by Canadian holistic health practitioner and Formula Botanica graduate Andrea Ellsworth. Andrea is the perfect example of a multi-passionate entrepreneur who has taken her love of natural and holistic skincare and created a wonderful business, selling her own customised holistic skincare, her own line of essential oils and creating her own gorgeous free magazine. We caught up with Andrea recently to learn more about her business.
Hi Andrea, can you please tell us about you and your background?
Hello! A little about me, hmmm. Well, simply put I love love. And not just the romantic kind. The love you feel from doing things your passionate about. The love you feel from positive vibes. The love you feel from taking care of yourself. The love you feel from appreciating and respecting yourself, those around you and the planet we walk on. Describing me in a nut shell: I just want to spread that feeling. And for me, that feeling really does come from helping people and increasing positive vibes to everyone I meet and of course aromatherapy! Basically anything and everything that nourishes and pampers the skin + soul. In a world that has a tendency to glorify busy and be harshly focused on physical appearances, it is so easy for us to put everything else first and lose sight of our own self care. I want to encourage everyone I encounter to be doing something that makes them so blissfully happy, even if it is just an hour a day to start!
As for my educational background, it is in skin care and holistic health. It started right out of high school when I enrolled in an advanced skin care therapy program which coincidentally offered electives where I was introduced to aromatherapy and reflexology. Rather than just do the elective for a course credit, I decided to take the entire certification because I loved it so much! It was these certifications that lead me more towards the holistic health side of things to which I continued my schooling in a Holistic Health Practitioner program where my love of aromatherapy and creating skin care products continued to grow. Throughout the past 12 years I have continued to expand my education in skin care and aromatherapy, worked in spas as an esthetician and therapist, managed spas, owned my own spa, made bespoke products for clients, made custom products for spa boutiques– all to which lead me here, to create Andrea Ashley Co doing what I really love; aromatherapy and custom skin care.
What does your business do and what do you sell in your shop?
My business, Andrea Ashley Co is Canadian based and focuses on clinical aromatherapy and custom skin care. I carry close to 50 essential oils and carrier oils, all in which are available for retail, wholesale and private label customers.
The clinical aromatherapy comes into the retail side, where I offer skin care or health and wellness consultations based strictly on essential oils. Due to the fact that there is so much information out there it can be hard for the general public to sift through and determine what is accurate, safe and best for their specific needs. Each essential oil is so unique and has its own set of therapeutic properties and contraindications, so these one-on-one consultations allow my clients to really understand what oils are best for their skin and overall health as well as how to safely use and why. This can lead to having me create custom products for my clients based on their needs, or they take away recipes or step by step regimen if they prefer to DIY. It is similar to going to a nutritionist for your meal plans. You can go online and see loads of great healthy recipes, but they may not be the best fit for you and your health. Speaking with your nutritionist allows you to know what ingredients and foods that would be best for your goals and overall health.
Lastly, because I am a supplier and formulator I also work with a lab and we offer contract manufacturing and product development for our private label clients should they wish to have a custom product created for their beauty brand or business.
Why did you decide to start selling essential oils online?
Essential oils are found all over the world, depending on the region the plant naturally grows. While there are many distillers beginning to grow and distill oils that are not necessary indigenous to their local, many oils are still not easily accessible to general public. For Canada anyways many people were ordering from outside the country to obtain oils. Not to mention that some of the essential oils that are readily available can be accompanied with poor, unsafe advice or poor quality, adulterated oils. Definitely not saying this is always the case- there are so many awesome sources out there! But I was getting a lot of inquiries from people who experienced this and I realized I really wanted to share my passion for essential oils with a matched retail side that clients from near and far could go for honest oils and information, and a place for Canadians to shop closer to home.
Everyone has their favourite types of ingredients when making organic skincare, why do you love essential oils most?
The properties are just so diverse and complex. Each oil has such a long list of chemical compounds that when put together create this unique composition that can do wonders for your formulation. I just love their plant power potency, such a small amount can go such a long way for effectiveness. It’s also amazing how they can create a feeling of the product before the client has even applied it just by inhaling the scent.
And beyond all, I love that they offer more than just skin care. When formulating a custom product I like to take in the overall person, not just their skin. Essential oils have many therapeutic properties that can provide physical and psychological benefits. While percentages of essential oil used in a skin care formulation is minimal due to each of their varying dermal limits, I still believe what you put on your body, goes in your body and it DOES matters. So if someone wants a night cream and also has trouble sleeping, I would take that into consideration- using oils that have more relaxing, less stimulating properties. Now, it may not cure your insomnia lol, but every little bit matters and helps. To me that is what holistic skin care means and why I love essential oils the most.
Which is your favourite essential oil and why?
That is WAY too hard of a question! My favorite changes all the time. I go through phases, depending on my mood, what I am currently formulating or even if I discover an oil had a property I wasn’t aware of, or maybe re-discovered! For example I went through a Benzoin phase, it was my longest “favorite” phase yet. It lasted well over a year and just recently ended. It is just so yummy with that vanilla-like smell and is well underrated for an essential oil, I love an underdog! It is wonderful for skin care because of its anti-inflammatory properties it is great for redness, irritation and soothing dry, acne, eczema types of skin. Plus it is good for anxiety, stress and a great additive to a natural topical pain remedy.
However, most recently had a love affair with lime essential oil, the batch I just had in was so delicious! And again, a little underrated. Most people when coming to me for a custom product who have listed citrus as their preferred scent profile always want a lemon or orange, or even grapefruit, but rarely lime. Lime has less known properties than the other citrus oils as well, but still have some great ones that shouldn’t be ignored such as balancing oily skin or even being uplifting and calming to nerves.
But as of this very moment I am actually favoring two essential oils; one being a Canadian home grown- Black Spruce essential oil and the other is German Chamomile. Black spruce is always on my list of great oils, it is a grounding oil, great for balancing ions, and can fight acne. Plus it smells like the great outdoors and I just can’t get enough of that! As for German Chamomile, I think I put it on a back burner for so long because it is such a a tried and true and I prefer to explore a little. It has been in more skin care and aromatherapy products than I can count, and rightfully so – it is so soothing and beautiful on the skin and that blue colour is absolutely divine it is impossible to ignore.
What does natural skincare mean to you?
Natural skincare to me means bringing it back to the basics, using plant based ingredients to cleanse, soothe and nourish the skin.
Which Formula Botanica courses did you enrol for and how do you use them in your business?
I had been making products for years when I came across Formula Botanica. I couldn’t believe this existed, considering I had wished for a course like this so many times over the last 10 years! So excited, I ended up enrolling in the Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science and the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation. These courses really helped expand on my current knowledge on skin care formulation and helped me think more deeply about formulation techniques. Not to mention the connections and on-going support from this community is invaluable!
You also offer custom product design services – can you please tell us a bit about how this works?
Absolutely. By clicking on the purple button in my online shop saying “Customize your products“, clients have the option to have products made specifically to their needs and wants and that is what custom product design is all about.
I believe each of us are so unique and therefore so is our skincare and regimen needs. I always give this as an example, but the reason two people have the same skin condition can be caused by totally different circumstances. Just because you have acne, doesn’t necessarily mean you have oily skin, nor does it mean you love the smell of tea tree, lavender or citrus – which is in many acne products. I enjoy making the products fresh to order based on their specific needs, getting to know my clients and creating something that is just as unique as they are.
If you have a look at my online shop- it only has a cleanser and basic moisturizer and that is because these products were formulated for simplicity and effectiveness- to cleanse the skin of dirt and debris without stripping it of its natural oils, and to moisturize deeply and quickly. Other than that my shop is all essential oils 🙂
What are your favourite products to make?
Therapeutic products where I can really utilize and focus on my clinical aromatherapy. Skin care is definitely the majority of what I do, but for me it is less about beauty and more about wellness. So I absolutely love when I get clients coming to me asking for a custom muscle balm, PMS balm, aroma compress for digestion or custom blend to diffuse for better sleep. To me skin care is about so much more than your typical cleanser, toner, face mask, moisturizer- it is about an holistic approach to wellness. Encompassing natural ingredients in all your products not just for the skin, but for your home and health too. I think this will provide over-all better well-being, and when your happy and healthy it shows on your skin.
You regularly publish your beautiful Andrea Ashley magazine – what type of articles do you publish?
Andrea Ashley E-zine
is about all natural and holistic skin care, self care and self love. The main focus is on encouraging confidence and self-esteem in women by inspiring self love at a core level. I love to publish articles from health, wellness and skin care professionals who are passionate about what they are writing and who share the message of the magazine.
In each issue I like to include articles on mindfulness, essential oils, botany/herbs, natural skin care recipes/tips, holistic counseling or psychotherapy tips or info articles, holistic nutrition, non-toxic ways of living, emotional well-being, positive body image, holistic modalities (reflexology, chiropractic, massage, etc), really anything that inspires self care and self love to our readers in a natural, positive way!
Thank you to Andrea for sharing her story with us and telling us more about Andrea Ashley. Make sure you subscribe for Andrea’s beautiful magazine and check out her gorgeous website at https://andreaashley.ca. Please note that online ordering is for Canada Only. International orders must be placed via email to [email protected].
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Environmental Scientist and the Director of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.