New Zealand based The Aromatherapy Company has been around for a few decades and keeps going from strength to strength. We chat to product & marketing manager, Brigid van Heerden, about its products, its values and its plans for the future.
When was The Aromatherapy Company launched and what was the inspiration to start the business?
The company was launched in 1990 in Auckland. The wellness and wellbeing area of home fragrance and body care, and the awareness of ingredients and natural products were just starting to make headway in the market during this time. It was this need and want by customers to have quality natural products―especially aromatherapy based products―that led to the creation and success of The Aromatherapy Company.
What makes The Aromatherapy Company products different and unique?
Our products are designed to be eye-catching decor pieces, but also have the most natural ingredients, and to smell incredible. Be it an essential oil based product or bespoke limited edition fragrance. Our unique designs, values and ingredients plus value for money make us unique in the market.
What are your best-selling/most popular ranges?
Our Therapy Kitchen Lemongrass lime and bergamot range are our best selling products, along with our Therapy essential oil pulse points.
How has the market changed since you first launched?
Awareness and access―with so much information available online, customers have ease of access to research products before buying them. Marketing has become driven by social media, which is different from the days of old with advertisements in multiple magazines/print and events.
Competitors―with the world becoming smaller and online shopping more popular, there are always new competitors popping up in the market. This makes being innovative and creating amazing products all the more important to keep customer engagement/loyalty.
What kind of retailer stocks your products?
Our products are sold in the majority of mid to high end retailers in NZ and Australia including Farmers, Smith&Cougheys, Myer and David Jones. We also sell to many independent boutique stores here in NZ and abroad.
How important is it for The Aromatherapy Company and its products to be environmentally friendly?
It is very important and part of our core values. We have recyclable packaging, we try to promote the reusing or upcycling of vessels, and we advise customers of how to dispose of a product once finished. We also donate to environmental causes regularly.
What are some current trends in home fragrance and body care?
The trend in body care is to be as kind to your body, the environment and animals as possible, which is great, and of course incredible natural fragrances. Products are being clearly marked with all their attributes on the packaging―vegan, recyclable, cruelty free, the list goes on―which goes to show the customer wants to know what they are buying more than ever.
Fragrance trends coming through are unisex scents, which can be seen with leather and tabac variations coming through from Europe and here in NZ and Australia. Fragrances that evoke areas or places are still really popular, like tropical scents or salty fragrances for the beach. Coconut and vanillas are also very popular with many of our customers.
Why did you decide to expand your business overseas i.e. Australia?
We decided to expand overseas to tap into new markets and customers, and to share our wonderful products with the world. The plan was always to expand into Australia―being a nation with close ties to NZ it was a natural course to export here.
How does the Australian market compare to the New Zealand market?
Its tougher to get traction in the Australian market as there are competitors that have Australian-made home fragrance and body care and Australians, being very patriotic, would lean towards buying ‘Australian made’ before ‘NZ made’, just as New Zealanders would.
The size of the country and its different territories, each with different trend tastes, makes marketing and delivering our range of products a challenge, but one that we enjoy. We have Myer and David Jones stocking our product, which is a great partnership and helps extend our reach to customers across Australia.
What has the response been in Australia to your products?
The feedback from Australia has been very positive and customers appreciate our innovative, natural and ethical products. Via our social media channels customers are really pushing for us to sell online so they have easier access to buy the products, which is a good sign.
What are your future plans for business growth in Australia and New Zealand?
We are looking at selling online in the near future, which will make us more accessible to our customers across the board, and this in turn will help growth in both countries. We’re also looking at keeping our core brands relevant and fresh―this involves more limited edition drops and exciting new marketing campaigns to run alongside these drops.