When aromatherapist Linda and her daughter Claire came up with their family business helpmeorganics, it was to create essential oil blends with purpose. From falling asleep to feeling positive or ridding yourself of stress, each product combines ingredients that can help - all natural and organically sourced, handmade in Cheshire.
Here's my interview with Claire about what it's like to be a mother-daughter team:
Tell me about helpmeorganics
Helpmeorganics is a family-run business based in Cheshire created by me, Claire, and my mum Linda. She's an aromatherapist with over 25 years experience creating personal essential oil blends for people.
One day Mum asked herself, why weren't blends like these more widely available? So she decided to create a range of products for people to enjoy at home. It was then that mum asked me to help her with the marketing and social media for her new range.
Our products are vegan, organic and cruelty free - all that's good for the planet. We're both incredibly passionate about this. Even before, we'd take part in beach cleans and do our best to live in a way that's eco-friendly.
We've brought these values over into the way we run our business. We're gradually trying to use less disposable waste and make our packaging reusable or biodegradable.
What were your first steps to get started?
That was two years ago now. The idea was the seed and the two of us sat down to brainstorm and think up a name for our brand. We couldn't think of one!
I went to bed and, lying there, I had an idea. The words that came into my mind were, 'Help me, it's way past my bedtime.' Our products could do what they say on the tin. Mum loved it. To give credit to Dad, he came up with 'helpmeorganics' in a single word, which became our brand name.
It went from there. I worked on our social media, logos, colour schemes... Mum came up with all our essential oil blends - help me, it's way past my bedtime, help me, apparently I need to chill out and help me, I'm feeling under the weather. Those were our 3 original blends.
I designed the labels on our products, the website... Finally, we celebrated our launch at mum's shop Simply Relaxing to coincide with Small Business Saturday in 2016.
To start, we tested our products with local people and the response was really positive. People couldn't get enough of our 'bedtime' blend! I think that's because the scent is so subtle and calming. It's exactly what you'd want before going to bed - a mixture of lavender, ginger, melissa, lemon and eucalyptus.
And Claire, you're studying at university. What's it like running helpmeorganics with your mum at the same time?
I always wanted to play a part in design. I was going to study fashion design originally! But at A level I started to learn about graphic design and got more into that.
I'd like to be a person who creates ideas. With helpmeorganics, we sat down and put together the branding and values of our products. I enjoy that process and would love to turn that into a career. Working with my mum has been a wonderful opportunity to have 50/50 control so early. Creativity will always have a part to play in my life and it's brilliant to get this chance here.
We've tried out your special festive blend. Could you tell me more about it?
We release our blend help me get into the festive spirit on 1st October every year. It was our first product that's just for the festive season. I adore this time of year, but I don't like cinnamon! It isn't purely for Christmas either - that's why we say 'festive'. People get bombarded with Christmas! This is just festive and cosy.
There's an overwhelming smell of this blend at home now as we're constantly making it! It's there to ease you into Christmas though, rather than dive.
What's the process for making your products? How does an idea come into being?
Normally mum does research into what essential oils do best for the purpose we have in mind - like helping people get to sleep for example. Or a scent to make people feel positive. That's what the festive blend is for. It's a nice smell.
For the festive blend, we started with the scent of fir needles, cloves, ginger... It's traditional. Then we added lemon and sweet orange to make the scent fresher. The next step is to create different versions of the blends and dip tester sticks in to smell them - just like you might find in a perfume store! Mum and I will line them up and smell over twenty different versions. It's to make sure we're happy with the final scent, and narrow down on the ratio we like best. It's like cooking, just as you wouldn't want one taste to overpower the other, here it's about balancing the different notes.
How do you use your blends at home?
When I get in, I'll take a room spray and spray two to three times at each corner of the room. If I'm feeling under the weather at university, I'll use the essential oils to help me not get ill. I usually top up the scent just before I sleep. I like it strong!
We've found that the best way to use our room sprays is to spray 2 to 3 times in each corner of the room to get the best dispersion of the scent.
What's Helpmeorganics taught you about life that you would share?
If you have an idea in your head, go for it. We developed Helpmeorganics on paper and talked for a long time about it before we jumped in, but don't put it off. There's so much fun to be had when you go out and do it!
When it comes to living in a way that's more eco-friendly, it depends on your values and there are so many different ways to do it. The amount of places providing biodegradable packaging are growing. It's so much easier than it was ten years ago. It's easier for us to put our values into action.
Make gradual changes in your life and apply your values to what you do. Do your research. We swapped to biodegradable packing chips for example. Start out with the essentials of what you need to do and change little things over time. We're improving as we go. Be proud of each step you take.
Enjoyed reading about this? Scroll down to sign up to our monthly email, full of stories about indie makers and fun ideas to keep you committed and inspired on the path to ethical living.