2021 was Clarity Blend’s first year of trading, and oh boy, was it an eventful year! Here is our year round-up and stock-taking from a small business without the sugar coating - the good, the bad, the achievements, the challenges, mishaps and fun along the way!
In the first months of the year, we had the pleasure of working on our new branding and packaging with Nancy Poller and design studio Aligned Design Co who really understood what Clarity Blend is all about and helped us bring this to life. We wanted to convey the vibrancy of our blends - from minty, fresh and herbaceous plants, to zesty citruses, beautiful florals, to musky, earthy and woody plants as well as spices - our blends are packed with personality and vibrancy of what nature offers us! As an online business offering aromatherapy, it was important to convey the function and scents without the customers being able to smell and sample the blend.
With the new branding, we wanted to also encapsulate our mission which is to help customers connect with nature in their daily self-care routines or what we like to call ‘Nature in a bottle’. At our core, we are an inclusive brand and small business that is passionate about making our products accessible and friendly to everyone as opposed to luxury or exclusive products. Adopting friendly colours and icons for each blend was a way to convey this message.
We were blessed to be able to work with brilliant creative professionals who brought our product and lifestyle photography to life. Special thanks to Fi Campos - an amazing photography stylist who understood so well our mission and brought it to life; rockstar photographers - Danni Maibaum, Diana Stainton and Ellie Grace and gorgeous models - Meera Rose Solanki and Debbie Campbell.
Your favourite blends and products
Your favourites changed throughout the year. We introduced our self-care and pamper hampers towards the end of 2019 and during the February lockdown they were flying off the shelves! You were sending our ‘Hug in a box’ hampers to cheer your loved ones and help them through these dark times - so humbling and heart-warming for us to be able to be a part of this in a small way with our self-care hampers. They were also a hit for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Come this festive Christmas season, by far our ‘Pick-me-up’ roll-on collection was your favourite. This little box with 5 pulse point roll-ons for every occasion and wellness need was a hit!
Your favourite blend was the Mind Spa™ blend (and yes, we have trademarked it!). The deeply calming combination of blue gum eucalyptus, lemongrass, bergamot and patchouli is a winning one - we all need to take a deep breath from daily stresses.
Next favourites were Deep Forest, Sweet Dreams, Energy Boost and Citrus Delight!
We launched new blends over the summer - Sunset Bliss, Flower Power, Summer Meadow and you are also loving them.
Our nebulising diffuser is worth a special mention as it was quite popular and sold out (as we speak we have just the last ones left in stock). We are proud to have introduced to the market a plastic-free, waterless and heatless diffuser, a great alternative to the conventional ones.
Markets and Fairs
One of our highlights this year was taking part in ethical and vegan markets and fairs which was only possible from the summer onwards. Meeting customers IRL, answering questions on the spot and seeing their reactions when they sample the blends (even if it is the occasional frown from specific scents - the sense of smell doesn’t lie!) is amazing and something that we are so glad we did as we learned a lot from this feedback.
‘Smells gorgeous’ was what passing-by customers would say when their noses detect the diffusing aromas.
Another great thing about markets is the comraderie with fellow sellers - such lovely people that we met! Huge thanks to Sparkle Vegan Events, Duckpond markets, Vegan Markets Co and Country Living Fair. Markets took place in Richmond, Chiswick, Basingstoke, London Design Centre, Fulham Palace, Wokingham, Windsor and Woodley.
Seeing our products on beautifully curated shelves, in yoga studios and eco-friendly, independent, ethical online stores is the best heart-warming feeling! Like multiplying the love so more customers can find us and try our aroma goodies. We love our stockists – they are the best, kind, wonderful people all driven by great missions – from preserving the planet to offering mindful gifts.
We can’t believe that we have close to 100 stockists mainly in the UK but also internationally - the USA, the Netherlands, Lithuania, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Estonia, Spain!
We took part in Autumn Fair in the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in September which was a great way to meet prospective stockists. We also signed up and listed with wholesale platforms, such as Ankorstore and Curate Beauty which are a great way to get discovered by lovely stockists.
You can also now find us on some of the UK’s best online platforms and market places for small businesses, including Not on the High Street, Virgin Experience Days, Friends of Joules, Wolf & Badger, Seekology, Borough Box (Foda Box), Go Ethical.
We received awards - and prestigious ones! Awards received included:
- Best New Aromatherapy Brand for Mums - Parent & Baby Award
- BEST 100% NATURAL PRODUCT - Bronze Winner - Global Green Beauty Awards 2021
- BEST BODY OIL - Finalist - Natural Health Beauty Awards 2021
- HIGHLY COMMENDED - Natural Health Beauty Awards 2021 - Category: NATURAL GLOW
- Best Natural Product - Finalist - Pure Beauty Awards
Press and PR
2021 brought features in publications and magazines beyond our wildest dreams, including the Guardian, the Independent, Women’s Health, the Green Parent, Platinum, Style at Home, Spirit and Destiny, Country Homes & Interiors, PaperCrafter and more. Featuring in Christmas Gift Guides was really exciting and something we didn’t think possible a year earlier!
Collaborating with Enterprise Nation (we are huge fans!) was also very exciting, including Veronika presenting at a Lunch and Learn session and also as a pannelist of the Wellness Exchange event.
Thank you also to lovely bloggers that we collaborated with and the wider online and social media community - such a supportive bunch!
Launch of Rose & Skin
As if we weren’t busy with the relaunch and rebrand of Clarity Blend, we also launched in September a second skincare brand Rose & Skin www.roseandskin.com Rose & Skin is all about celebrating beautifully simple multi-use natural ingredient to create your own natural skincare recipes. We want to show our customers how simple it can be to create your own natural skincare. At the centre stage is the Rose, we source organic rose water and oil from the Rose Valley in Bulgaria. We are so excited for the brand but admittedly, haven’t had the time and energy to dedicate to it yet.
Running a small business
We are incredibly grateful to be able to do what we love and share our passion with the world. But there is no way of sugar-coating it - Running a fledgling small business is hard work! Having both left our jobs in the beginning of the year to dedicate our time to Clarity Blend, the 25 days of paid holidays for the typical office workers suddenly evaporated – and our regular pay checks. Weekends were spent in product making, evenings with planning and marketing activities; days with packaging orders, answering customer queries and the running of the business. The 9 to 5 quickly became 5 to 9.
Personally, we found relief in ‘blue sky’ walks in nature helpful to clear our heads and see the big picture. What we learnt during this year is that a small team can put things into action.
To all the small businesses out there or people with a dream to launch a business, you are here to make waves! Here is to a better 2022 for all of us - and as we take stock and plan for the year ahead, we’d love your feedback and to hear from you - just drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us what you’d like to see from us in the new year.