Originally posted on Facebook.
It feels surreal to announce the start of my 20th anniversary year for Aromaleigh. I can't quite believe I've kept it going this long, but in all truth- Aromaleigh is what I chose to devote myself to long ago. I had no other choice but failure, and failure for me wasn't an option.
The most tangible calendar date I have for Aromaleigh's beginnings as a bath/body/fragrance company is December 11, 1998. This is the date of record for the registration of my url, aromaleigh.com. By the end of December that first website had gone live, which makes 2018 my 20th anniversary year. Prior to Aromaleigh, I had "Divine Dog Company", and formulated and sold natural products for dogs from 1994-1998. When my customers began asking for human shampoos, conditioners and soaps, Aromaleigh was born. At the end of December 1998, Divinedog.com came down, and Aromaleigh.com went live, featuring products for both pets and their people.
For Aromaleigh's first few years, I still worked in advertising as an art director. I was in Rochester NY, and had just left my job at Saatchi & Saatchi to go out and freelance for other agencies. By 2001, I was doing less and less freelancing, and in May of 2002, I was blessed with my Son's arrival- seven weeks early!
Becoming a single parent was the biggest motivator for taking Aromaleigh full time, and it still is my biggest motivator. My Son is now fifteen (sixteen in May '18) and he often helps me with Aromaleigh!
At one point, Aromaleigh got far too large for me to manage on my own. I had anywhere from 6-10 full and part time employees at the time and tragedy struck my life. I lost my Father in 2008 to suicide, and watched my family unravel in the aftermath. Then I ended a brief and turbulent marriage to another single parent, and watched in grief as he brought my business into our divorce proceedings and tried to lay claim to the company I had started years prior to even meeting him. At the time, I wasn't strong enough to stand the sequence of events that were happening. I admit that I crumbled under the pressure. I had to close my business, and decided that maybe it was time for me to quit altogether and go back to my advertising and graphic design roots.
Aromaleigh was closed in late 2010 and miraculously reopened in late 2011 with new management and a buy-out contract. That contract never came to be, as those first few years it was impossible to bring forth any new or exciting creative work, and my company floundered under the weight of it all. By 2014 I had my full creative control back and was free from any contractual obligation.
These past few years have been somewhat full circle for me. I'm running the company similarly to I was back then- on my own. I have part time assistance with the customer service portal, which gives me more time to devote to orders and product development. Gone are the days of shipping 1000-1500 orders per month, and I am glad those days are gone. I never went full time with Aromaleigh to "hit the big time". It was always a way for me to have freedom, time and flexibility as a single parent- to be able to support my son and myself, but have time for the important things in life.
And it is still all of those things. Your support over all of these crazy years has always been my reason for keeping things going, and not letting it fizzle. I've been blessed with being able to provide for my child, have the flexibility to live where we wanted to live, and these days, to homeschool and also start a small farm, as my Son's dream is to work in agriculture. Aromaleigh began in a small red house on Averill Avenue in Rochester NY, continued in a loft in downtown Rochester, several other locations in South Carolina, and now resides in a building on our ten acre permaculture farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upstate South Carolina.
It's been a wild ride, full of more twists and turns than I ever imagined. Thank you so much for traveling with me...
Here's to many more years!