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Vanessa Afful is an Aromatherapist, Massage Therapist, Natural Product Maker and Mum of one. She officially qualified as an Aromatherapist 8 years ago, but has been making products for her own uses since 2003 and started working on the Made by Pure Hands brand 10 years ago.

Since then she’s spent most of her time on the massage side of her business, based in Bellenden Therapies in Peckham, supporting people with their wellbeing journeys. Her products have always been the heart of her business. But when lockdown came last March, she had the opportunity to really spend time on her product range, and bring them to a whole new market through social media and word of mouth. 

This is such an interesting story and a great example of how a products and service business can work together to complement one another.

Listen in to hear Vanessa share:

  • An introduction to her and her business (1:23)
  • How and why she started to make products using essential oils for her own use (2:09)
  • The stage at which she started selling them (6:29)
  • Why she then trained in massage (08:02)
  • How and why she custom makes all her products at the moment (11:46)
  • How she’s adapted to offer consultations (and create bespoke products) online 14:58)
  • How she finds new clients and markets her products and services (17:16)
  • Some of the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils (21:19)
  • The time it takes to make up one of her products (24:59)
  • The logistics of creating handmade products with a young child at home (26:53)
  • Her plans and goals for 2021 and beyond (32:02)
  • The split between selling products and offering treatments (33:49)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (36:32)


Made By Pure Hands website  

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Vanessa Afful on LinkedIn 

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Selling products and services seamlessly - with Vaness Afful, Made By Pure Hands

INTRO (00:00:06):

Yeah, welcome to the, bring your product ideas to life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. He is your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg (00:00:23):

Hi everyone. So today I'm talking to Vanessa from Made By Pure Hands and say, Vanessa, is it an aromatherapist Massage Therapist and Natural Product Maker and Mum of one. So She officially qualified as an Aromatherapist eight years ago, but she has been making products for a much, much longer since 2003. And she started working on the Made By Pure Hands brand 10 years ago. So it's really, it's really fascinating. Interesting story about how Vanessa came to Rome favorite. We have a Massage and how and why she started creating her own products and sort of the journey and the evolution she's been on. I think this is a great interview. I really hope you enjoy it. And we can't wait to share a bit with you.

Vicki Weinberg (00:01:04):

So I'm going to hand you over an hour to Vanessa. Yeah. So hi Vanessa. Thank you so much for being here.

Vanessa Afful (00:01:11):

Thank you. It was nothing to join this day. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:01:14):

Oh, thank you for being here. Yeah. So do you want to just start by giving us introduction to yourself and your business and what it is that you do and what you sell Please?

Vanessa Afful (00:01:23):

Yeah, so I'm Vanessa, my company, his name is Made By Pure Hands and aromas practice and then Massage Therapist. And I make my own product. I've been doing it for me for about two more than 10 years for making and the Massage and aroma therapy consultations can offer to do that. So, yeah,

Vicki Weinberg (00:01:48):

That is so interesting. So thank you for that, because I had seen obviously that you offer services and products and I had to shamed, and this is why you should never shame. I assumed it was the other way round and that you sort of trained as a therapist first and then started with the product. So that's really interesting. So I'd love to know is what inspired you to start creating the products then that start there?

Vanessa Afful (00:02:09):

Yeah, well, so basic to me growing up, I had eczema, I had an excellent as a child and, you know, when I was younger, it was manageable. But as I started to get into my teen years, it started to get worse and I was just on stronger steroids and, and more steroids, three things. And this is, you know, this is a late eighties, 30, 19, you

know, there was no new or how much there are, we'll do a lot to have to. I realize that my perfection was light skinned with the sterile and to use and it was getting stronger. And then obviously it has

to become a teenager and to get into your twenties, you'd like to experiment with different products.

Vanessa Afful (00:02:52):

And I had started to work in PR and so I left you to, and so I go and buy thing and then put them on and then realized that I was allergic to them or was it like, I just do that. And so this continued on until one day I really had enough. And I went for, I asked my doctor to send me for allergy testing and Mitch. And when I had my test done, I realized that I was married to paraphrase, which used to be an everything and a few other products. So literally I went and looked at all my beauty products and basically have to check the more than a bit. And then from there it was like, so what do I use? What, what can I actually use on my skin? And so I am gone into scent.

Vanessa Afful (00:03:34):

So my mum used to bring back Shea butter and said, let me try this in. I started to just started mixing it and claiming that using it. And I just had to think of for essential or is it always kind of like a natural product? So it was kind of my things. And so I just started to kind of miss make things for myself, doing a little bit of reading. And that was it really because I was busy trying to advance in my career until at one point I just was stuck and I did this book called what kind of is your parachute creates book and what happened in the book, there was a chapter on that to, to sign up your own business.

Vanessa Afful (00:04:19):

And when I did it, I could automatically see that I worked. This is something that I wanted to do set up my own business, but I just, there were so much fear. It was like, no, I'm not ready for, this is not for me. And I talked to myself out of it, what would I do anyway? So I took myself out that carried on in a career of PR range, got to a certain level. And then we did two unhappy. And by that, what I've actually done a kind of a making course where you'd make it up. It was like a six week course. And I loved it. And I started making things for friends and family. And so when this point, this year and a few years before, so when this point payments, I actually had enough, they were like, you can make your own product.

Vanessa Afful (00:05:04):

And I was like, but I'm not going to make any money. And so eventually I quit my job and I started testing and making products to see if there was a market for it. But then I felt like a fraud. So I decided that I was going to do a neuroma therapy quantification. So they understand because it was more about the actual screens and the basic law, but then the essential oils to begin with. And so I just wanted to have that knowledge. And so when I signed up, I was told, well, you know, this course has been so Massage. You actually learn how to massage therapy. You got to get a coffee and nails and all that stuff quite a long ago, not okay. Then I call of my mouth and I did the because, and I loved it.

Vanessa Afful (00:05:48):

And the rest is, as they say is history.

Vicki Weinberg (00:05:51):

Oh, wow. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. So that was 10 years ago. Was it 10 years ago, you making the products for your own use or?

Vanessa Afful (00:06:00):

Yeah. So I start to make a nice before that, but you know, just kind of fix some pieces, but it be seriously as in the branding of Made By Pure Hands came about. It would, yeah, it was 10 years, 10 years ago. It was 2010 when I quit my job and said, let's go through it. I'd be making bets before. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:06:22):

And so remind me, so how long were you selling the prettiest products before you started a trend?

Vanessa Afful (00:06:29):

Yeah, so, no, I wish I would kinda make them up for my friends and families and that's what I was in it and I'd have liked it. It was coming from a party that most of the time it was getting in to my house to B. So I've said that they would come in, we would have a focus group of people, my PR and marketing, but I'd have a focus

group share out all the products based on what people liked and they'll go to go away and they would have forms to fill. And then if they would have been in the phones and sending them back to you, it was a lot of, kind of mock in the steps into a consistency mails, lots of things. So, yeah, but that was the really, really Eddy days. It was like when I first finished with my job and then, you know, spending that money to buy.

Vicki Weinberg (00:07:13):

Oh, wow. Yeah. It sounds like you done so much research died. So from that, or did you kind of came up with like a core range of products that we were going to work for you?

Vanessa Afful (00:07:21):

Yeah. To begin with. If I did have a, if there was a cup of that kind of where my court products, which are really nice and, and those Where, but then as I said, I really wanted to understand the essential oil. So I kind of put that to one side and went off to train and to do my work with folks with quantification before I started, I had a ready headsets in a sense, but I liked, or you know, that people are tested in light and they were sort of a product that people love to do that I made it. So that was all kind of in the background. And the only way while I was studying them, when I did my run with every quantification, I'd then have my son.

Vanessa Afful (00:08:03):

And so I realized I couldn't get to essential oils with that, that was pregnant and to protect the smell. And also there was some contraindication to some of them, some of the oils. So I was, you know, if this, if I was like, I'm going to have another child or, you know, if this happens again, I'd like to just have a plan Massage, one of the patients. So when my son is three months, I decided to then enroll into a pure, purely Massage. I

could understand about the board to do more. And so I did my master for the patients and,

Vicki Weinberg (00:08:37):

Oh, that's amazing. And that obviously means that you've got that the two sides of the business as well, which is great. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Vanessa Afful (00:08:42):

I did one that I, you know, I think the marketing background that I had and all of the business that they also did retail at uni was that you would never put all your eggs into one basket 'cause you never know what's going to happen. And it was just, you know, that was the thing, you know, this is a time when large antennas would start in to diversify and all the different areas it was. So that was the common thing. That's when I was studying. So it was always a case of you have to diversify you to try different things. So I didn't want to put, just have the aroma therapy quantification I wanted to be able to, because I discovered I loved Massage. And with that, and also, I really like when you have a small child was harder to make product to have that time, it takes you to go out and that our people for the clinic, and then, you know, it was just that it was an easier way to make money and I'm not what I did.

Vanessa Afful (00:09:37):

So, yeah. So it's all going forward. I just spent most of my time massaging and then my clients would order your products for me here and there. And then I do my Christmas, Christmas shopping events where my clients would have a bit with the skin as a party. And they come and by bits and pieces, and then lockdown happened and I was at a high. And I had literally, even though I was doing, I was doing different types of myself, I was going into offices now, chairman, I think clients are a couple of big time, as well as my clinical sites.

Vanessa Afful (00:10:18):

And then all of that is kind of foods in which you twenty-four hours. It was like, you have to close. And I had already been saying for a few years back that I needed to sort out my products because they're kind of thing at the wayside. And I didn't have the time as the massage business was so big. And, and there's only one of you, I just kind of like, I just make the products at Christmas or if somebody's, you know, from the people that have tested them in the beginning or you only make it. But then when I have, it's also as a, as a therapist, when you're training is never, ever in a straight face, you can sell products one to one, but you can't do is sell them on the nostril basically as to sell them out to the general public, I would say yes, but if there's lots of laws in, which has slightly changed with, with a Brexit, but it's still a genuinely the same thing you have to, you have to do a consultation before you sell your products in, it gets into your product.

Vanessa Afful (00:11:21):

So you can make sure that they are not an allergic to anything. If there are any medication that none of the essential oils will interact with their medication, then yes, it is lots of different things. You'll have to think

about it. So I was very I'm and I might stop this boat. You just make them with the person when they get to choose an it's just for them. So I, that was always kind of, I liked the idea.

Vicki Weinberg (00:11:47):

Yeah. And, and is that still what you're doing now? You still custom made, you know, most of your

Vanessa Afful (00:11:52):

Yeah. Custom made. And the plan is to, in the future to have a couple of ones which are really popular, that everybody's just liked to have those tested and, and a B and be able to self them. So the general public, just As, and to other organizations, coz I've had quite a bit of companies that do you really want to stop your product? When are you going to get them tested? And, and that that's a long, No procedure. And I need it. I would like to have a mental to walk me through it so that, I don't know if you had been in business for a few years, it's always good to have somebody who knows exactly what you do. See don't make any mistakes or you don't end up wasting money.

Vanessa Afful (00:12:32):

So I am looking for a mental to do that, and that will all be done some free this year and to me.

Vicki Weinberg (00:12:40):

Yeah. And that makes total sense because I guess there was lots of testing and that must have to be done. Or if any product that goes on your skin, isn't it? That it has to have lots of testing behind it. But just because I am, because I had no idea about this and I'm quite fascinated. So if you're selling products to sort of one of your Massage client, so you don't have that product, it doesn't have to be tested. Is that right? Yeah.

Vanessa Afful (00:13:02):

Yeah, because I have to have enough experience and that my client, I know I have really got a medical history about them. I know them, I know what they're doing. You know, they are, I used all my own products and clinics that that's how we used to get around it. In the beginning I have, when I went to start to do it, a lot of the Mac side, everything that I use in the clinic is meat by me. So even when I used to do full treatments, the assaults and Arabic creams, all my buttons, so you'll have an achievement with my product. So yeah. So I know what your skin is going to react to it and not react too. And I had enough knowledge and I know what smells you liked as well, which will help you to relax. But sometimes, you know, clients want to take that Massage for you in the home, especially now where you can't have a, my thoughts.

Vanessa Afful (00:13:48):

So just to bring back that memory, they're there yet. So they have to have a Massage in this movie or Queens or mood.

Vicki Weinberg (00:13:59):

Oh, that's a really nice, you can, you can offer such a bespoke service to your clients as well, so that you can give them like the exact products that they like that for you.

Vanessa Afful (00:14:09):

Yeah. And that will work for them as well, because that's another thing. Cause a lot of the times you buy product and it, as I used to have, you know, you buy a product smells amazing and then you use it. It is like a covered in hives or is it just, does it include me or it's just too heavy for me or whatever the thing is, is it always a break out from that product that these products are all of that I make, I actually made for you. So it's just based on what you need. And a lot of people come to me and client wise either because they are, or somebody in their family might have a condition and they can't news normal product's so they may spend their child or their husbands or, you know, to come and see me to have a consultation, to go through the product that they could have in my head.

Vicki Weinberg (00:14:59):

So how were you managing things as they are now? Obviously we were locked down on the opposite is not doing it. So just for context, because I'm not sure where this will go out. We have a recording this in February of 2021. So obviously you're not able to do, and the Massage is, but are you still able to do consultations and provide and products for people? Is that something you can still do it?

Vanessa Afful (00:15:17):

Yeah. So basically I'm still making product. So my regulars, who they are just going to meet Bill's so that'd be like, OK, I just need to review all of this. Can you make that for me? But I am doing online consultations and what I did, I did a really good rep shop with as much as it's so much going on. I still like to, this has probably been the best time where I can continue to have learning. It's been a lot, it's usually hard when you're on the rush and trying to juggle family life with work. So we were to discussing that a group around the fact of how do you sense products out to your clients is that they can smell it or, you know, they know, and this somebody had is a genius idea that they used test a stick, that it is essential oils on a test just to wrap it up and then post it.

Vanessa Afful (00:16:08):

And then they could decide if they like the smell of it. And so that's why I've been doing a lot of natural products have been making new clients over the years since the original, a lockdown and essential oil blends, as soon as you can use it in a diffuser. Mmm. And also wrote in the book and which of those is

probably on my, to most popular products in the news. So it's, everybody is stressed and they want to relax and your home is now your sanctuary, but it's also where you have to work, where you have, sometimes you have to homeschool and nerves afraid.

Vanessa Afful (00:16:48):

It's trying to bring some sort of comfort and, you know, Pappy bikes to your homes. So yeah, so I'm still

making. And so they are, if it is in a completely new clients, and I don't know if it's not, your client may want a different smell or I will send out tests to stick them up in oil, in the post, a person that's going to work with other friends in the last as well. And yeah, there it goes.

Vicki Weinberg (00:17:17):

I feel it's amazing. And yeah, and I think that's been there, that's a messy genius actually, because I was wondering sort of how, you know, where they are now that are men, that you could only make products for existing clients. So I think it's fantastic that there's a way that you can still work with a completely new people. And so how are people finding out about you now? So what are you doing to kind of find these new clients?

Vanessa Afful (00:17:40):

I think very strangely now Instagram has been where I've picked up quite a lot of new clients before Instagram, while I was before lock down was just not a post, but when I'm sure people were following the following my story, but it, you, you know, it was fake makes it to my clients on my mailing list more. Or do you mean who we knew me well, where I've got my Mac, where I made my and sales from, but through Instagram six, the first lock down, I'd had quite a bit of a following and people at this concert reached out to me that I think following on Instagram for ages, I love this post and I really wanna try to get it for that.

Vanessa Afful (00:18:24):

And we book a call. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:18:28):

That's amazing. And did she change what you were doing on Instagram or, or do you think this is just being used to be doing the same thing as consistently?

Vanessa Afful (00:18:35):

I think a more consistent, I also think the message is different. I think, you know, I share what's going on to a certain extent or watch or find you missed the messages, or I may have mentioned uncle blends out there. And there was also, I mean, from the, since last year's it's locked down. So I started when I started to get back into making it more than I actually have been do, I would post recipes. And my last page has got a lot of recipes from there we go and make things, we can do it yourself, but obviously a lot of people don't want to do what you to do. So they looked at those. So that is quite expensive to get all those ingredients just to make one little product.

Vanessa Afful (00:19:16):

Maybe I just bought it for you. Is that so, yeah, so I think there is definitely a change in my message, I think will keep endangering in Instagram because it locked down the rest before when we were all kind of busy, we rushed, but we were not brushed in the same way as we look at it. So yeah. So that's been quite, you

know, that I've met new people and also just networking and talking to people on online. And it's been in different groups. This helps as well and pull it off quite interested in what you are doing.

Vicki Weinberg (00:19:54):

Yeah. And I think as well, people are getting more confident buying online in general And doing the Life. Yeah, exactly. And then all the other things online, like if you had said to me a year ago at a year. Yeah. If, and when we were recording, not in the same year, when it goes out that you were doing sort of a rate of my favorite, the consultations online on zoom and you were posted out tests to sticks. I mean, I think it was smart, but I'm not sure that I pass and he would go for that. But now what you're saying, and I'm thinking, yeah, I could see myself doing that makes complete sense because we don't like to say we don't have other options. So I think the way people are sort of shopping and making, buying decisions has changed so much.

Vicki Weinberg (00:20:36):

I think they're much more with that mentality now of okay. Sent it to me in the post and

Vanessa Afful (00:20:42):

Yeah. When Royal mail is working well. But yeah, I mean, at the moment because of the type of Massage that I do, and I can't see any of my clients who have a intelligent and, and really urgent needs, so I keep the appointments once a month and the, for those types of things, a bit of themselves and that something that I'd been working with them and it's, you know, it's got such a place like they just can't because I, I couldn't see them, but yeah, generally it is all online.

Vicki Weinberg (00:21:20):

Yeah. It was just a different, so which way should we go through a life where you'd like to watch? You know, actually, and this is a bit curious of me. I'm just asking, just because I'm nosy as well as some of the benefits of aroma therapy and massage and using essential oils. Cause I'll be honest. I don't know that much about it.

Vanessa Afful (00:21:38):

Oh, there's so many benefits. I think right now everybody's stress and stress is probably the number one reason why people are turning into a regular therapy because there are lots of great benefit in, in an essential oil or most of them we can't use on your skin. Then it needs to be a mixed into some sort or vegetable oil or queen or bath face. That's how they use the app, but they have so many and probiotic benefits. And then I'll use essential oils for the pain for pain management. And I work with people who have had a stroke and they may have mobility issues or, you know, different types of issues.

Vanessa Afful (00:22:23):

So there are essential oils that therefore the reins on too, and also that a touch and even just the mere fact of being touched, this is such a perfect thing which people have taken for granted until we were told not to

touch it, touch anybody. So now this whole thing where we can't, you can't touch each other in the same way that we did, you know, even just a handshake or hug, it's now become its now it's, it's taught you can't do that anymore. And I think that's where, you know, touches such an important part of our lives, which is why I feel that mental anxieties are all time high, that it was closed away.

Vanessa Afful (00:23:05):

So we're not, we're not missing, were not socializing as the U S as well. We need to. So we have a room with Massage and around their therapy, you know, you, you can get so much benefit from the second nation from releasing the feel-good hormones. And this is now at this time of year, we as a remedy surface because when people think of our orange and grapefruit, they think of summer, if you've got some holidays and it does have that holiday in it to me. And so it brings back really good memories and everybody has a smell that they love when that when you smell something that you like, it leases those four months.

Vanessa Afful (00:23:50):

That means. And so that's where all on one level or in the appropriate space. And it also works on that on a therapeutic benefit as well, because if there was a joke in aromatherapy and when we set as a lawyer for that, so there's, there is no condition. You can't be, there was not an essential oil you can use. So we don't go to sleep. There's no word for that. Got out at me differently with that. We have to stress or that it gets suffering from RSI as a lawyer for that. Yeah, it is. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:24:22):

Oh, thank you. And it's about, it's about sent, is it upset the other way?

Vanessa Afful (00:24:27):

That sense? The sentence is one aspect that the, all the oil will actually have therapeutic benefits. There, every oil that you, you know, that you there is on the bench, there's a benefit to it. It could be that it is, it helps you to offer to conditions. If it could help with the bringing in with pain has a pain to have lots of pain management oils. There are some that help you focus because they are what we call the fan expect to be in the head with oil of all different sorts.

Vicki Weinberg (00:24:59):

That's really interesting. Thank you. And it's really making me want to have a Massage and all of this is Ava. I would like to talk a little bit more about the products if that's okay. Just because I'm always, I'm always curious about the practical thing. So how long does it take you to like make up a product for somebody or for yourself?

Vanessa Afful (00:25:17):

It depends on where I'm starting from. So I have different types of products and some which are just, you like

a massage massage oil is going to be different types of vegetable oils depending on the skin time with the essential oils added to it. So that is generally quite quick. I think there's a lot of, I like to get into a spot in a head space before I start making Where I'm kind of what kind of, I suppose I am quite nurturing when you think about what works and I'm using my intuition Find, then that would work. But it's kind of getting into that

head space to blend is it takes time for some of the products that are quick.

Vanessa Afful (00:26:02):

Whereas if I'm making a farm, I'm going to make my phone from scratch. So I'm literally making this cream balm from scratch, added all sorts of things with these blacks, open it up or yours. So it's, it takes longer and it has to call and set, but there are lots of products in the market as well, where you can just mix essential oils into it. So for instance, when I am making a face cream that I like as a tech and a brand I buy for Bolton's because I think it's a, it's an amazing brand. And I we'll mix my essentially as a base that you basically add your essential oils in it.

Vanessa Afful (00:26:42):

So it's not going to take so long. So, you know, you can go from there kind of a few hours, two half an hour and 15 minutes. Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg (00:26:53):

Yeah, because I'm always fascinated by the logistics, especially because you're making to order. So do you tend to have like a day when you are, or in the afternoon when you feel like the conditions, right. And you're going to sit down and you're going to make them, or do you sort of do it as, and when they have requested, how, how do you like to do it?

Vanessa Afful (00:27:10):

Yeah, I usually do it. I have a particular day because it can get into my room and protein head and I just, I'm just making a name that is my favorite way to work, where the four children, you can have your day and you could just do that because that is still my favorite way to work. Sometimes it, is it a bit ad hoc way. You have to kind of look around you to make it today and I'm not going to make that tomorrow, but my idea ways that

I'm gonna make all the audio in one day is just more practical and I get more out of it. And I think that my orders, you know, there are better when I work that way.

Vanessa Afful (00:27:53):


Vicki Weinberg (00:27:53):

Yeah. No, I think that, it makes sense. I think that a lot of tasks that makes sense to kind of batshit all together, like wherever you are doing. And is it like a really, yeah. It was about to ask you, is it like a really like a messy process or was it,

Vanessa Afful (00:28:07):

Oh, it can be great. Especially when you're making it with creams and waxes. Yes. It can be quite a bit messy. And do you, I have a corner of my kitchen look to just dedicated to no, the latches at workspace, that's mine. And I use that to, and that's where I work. Can I make all my side of that? But yeah, it's, it can be messy, which I don't really see as the next, because I am, I suppose I have liked to bake, but as a child, I would love to bake and they like to make these. So it's just, it's just the safe space where I'm creative. And I think the Fest, even when they're not making products for someone to have the days where I could make and try to in tech and what could we be, or there's is nothing more satisfying.

Vanessa Afful (00:28:57):

Then working with a lens or an oil She oil that has never worked with me to see what happened. I'm the perfect, and it takes for myself as it was my son and part of my family members. They're just looking it's for them. How do you find that?

Vicki Weinberg (00:29:12):

Oh, it's amazing that you're still doing that and you still have the time to do that. And I'm also thinking in your house must smell amazing. Your kitchen must just smell. He loves it.

Vanessa Afful (00:29:20):

Yeah. So it goes through phases where it doesn't smell amazing, like really amazing, especially when I'm making lots of the ones which are So aromatic when I'm making a lot of which I would be making tomorrow. I am not making box at the cook, the hot, he just wants to do the whole house. You don't have that. Nothing really has nothing to, so yeah, sometimes it does. And sometimes I like, Oh, and I think my note, you will notice changes when you are on that run in the practice that you can pick up the slightest smell. I am very, it smells that it smells a little bit less now my, my notes is automatically affected. So yeah. So my sense is that it's definitely changed a bit.

Vicki Weinberg (00:30:02):

That was really interesting because it's almost that you've trained your nose.

Vanessa Afful (00:30:06):

Yes, it is. It's trained, but it's just also, it's just as a heightened to a different smell of the sentence. And I, and he knows what he likes and it knows what it, there's lots of essential oils that I do not like, or, you know, I had done classes where I essentially was, or out and open the gate. People have smell them and they're not, Oh, it smells awful if you blend it, if something else is like, Oh my gosh, I can't smell it. And you make it, why do you put it that way? And in there, because that way it has a benefit to you. And sometimes it's easy, it's a musket and have it in there. 'cause, you know, that that's going to be the oil. That's what that would work for the precedent needs it, but it was just may not like the smell.

Vicki Weinberg (00:30:49):

That's so interesting. And it sounds like it's just like constant, like learning and testing and not so much fun. Yeah.

Vanessa Afful (00:30:57):

Yeah. I get, I think, as I've said, this locked down has given me the opportunity to do a lot more testing and, you know, try and learn things, which I never had the opportunity when I was doing a lot the Mac and it was just a case of, okay. Something may come cause like, Oh, that smells nice. I'll make that journey. Now I get to have much more time. Well, the first lot done, I had much more fun than this one is a little bit more, but it will. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (00:31:28):

Yeah. I think this is the first one where we had the kid at school. Some of the time it didn't work, which made it a bit of a difference.

Vanessa Afful (00:31:34):

Yeah. Or the schoolwork was just a little bit more as a way when you worked every day, but it wasn't as structured as it is now. So now we all have some time to teachers. So I find it. Yeah. I find it a bit harder to actually make in this lockdown. And then I did try to say up until Christmas, you know, it was, I, I think that it can be quite enough, but yeah, since Christmas I'm still making, but not too the same amount in the end.

Vicki Weinberg (00:32:03):

Yeah. But that sounds a standable and say, what are your plans for OB? Let's assuming that that assuming that things turned out well, and we all get vaccinated, what are your, your plans or are you still are looking to get, get your products approved? And so you can start selling them.

Vanessa Afful (00:32:21):

Yeah. So I'm not like the idea of making bespoke, pull it up at night, working one-to-one with a pastor and to find a product that is, that it doesn't have to be. If they don't have to have a condition, they could just be in that. I just worked for this, but it made I really, yeah. I'm not that process. So I don't think I would ever give that. I think that's still where the love is, but there are certain products which I know is that will display off the shelf. 'cause people just want to be. And so there may be, I will call or text them on it and do a couple of those. But the rest of it would still be a lot with the spoken to, so that you feel are coming and it just for you in that. And then sometimes if I'm, if I make an extra something,

Vicki Weinberg (00:33:03):

It's a really lovely, and it's nice that you, that you can do that. I think that's really a nice thing. That sounds like a really nice mix as well. So having them that the staff are not standard, you know what I mean? But the

ones that you can produce on a bigger scale plus the more passed it was, because I guess the products that you can produce in a bigger scale was also may be a nice introduction to you for someone who buys one of those likes and then goes on to get something custom as well.

Vanessa Afful (00:33:27):

Yeah, exactly. And so, yeah, so that, I think that the way for what, I don't think it's gonna be the main heart in my business. That's also in a Massage, we'll be back and the clients are screaming for me as it is. So I knew that that will, and as we lost a lot and when I went back, it was quite busy. Whereas, you know, that there was a, it was back to back treatments.

Vicki Weinberg (00:33:49):

Yeah. You're definitely going to be busy. So how do, how do you juggle? So when you are sort of doing treatments as well, how do you fit in offering treatments and making products? And what's the split

Vanessa Afful (00:34:03):

In normal times? The Massage is the bigger part of my business. I don't know if it will be when I, when we were out of this, because this is my original love. This was the reason I started. So I don't know how I will split it up, but I know that will take up as big a chunk of my time. So I mean, I don't Massage every day. Anyways. It's not good to Massage in the day because you are in a lot of strain on the body. And, and when you're in a mess, algae, as you get older, you don't want to have that kind of strange. So I probably will probably keep it to what I do now, which is as I do it a couple of days or a week, and then I repost and then spend a couple more days of week and then in the product's five or six lines that run in the business and you have so much and takes up so much time in which people never understand.

Vanessa Afful (00:34:58):

And like, why do you do that? So I think in this pot of lockdown, it's a chance to move on to kind of streamline this, the admin outsource, essentially some of the admin and to help with the next two to make things a lot easier.

Vicki Weinberg (00:35:17):

Yeah. I hear that. Some people are a lot and I think you're right. It is something that you, you always underestimate when you start a business that you have to have time for the admin and the accounting and the marketing and all of those like little jobs. But when you had them all up, I actually take quite a big chunk of time.

Vanessa Afful (00:35:33):

Yeah, absolutely. And when you work in for a company, there has somebody in department, he was doing that, that, that, that the task you're doing all one in your self employed. So it ends up doing it and not spending a lot of time. I spend a lot of time in real life, a lot of time on emails, which I am going to figure out

how I'm going to stop because emails or applying emails takes up a lot of time.

Vicki Weinberg (00:35:57):

Yeah. And I think you could spend so much time doing the things that I've used to it and enjoy it, or you're not good at or BI and yeah, just never, I think maybe you don't think about that at the outset. Do you do I say it and he did it. And when I get assaulted, I would say, I hope you manage to get things more, more streamlined this year. So one final question is this, the question I always end with Vanessa is what was your number one piece of advice be for someone else you wanted to start creating products. And I guess maybe specifically products they're creating by hand because obviously that's what you do. And what you're passionate about,

Vanessa Afful (00:36:32):

I think definitely has to be aroma therapy, a quantification, I think, you know, every two weeks with the imposter syndrome and that made me do it. But, but I think it's really important to understand the oils and get yourself a mental. I think The putting products out that there are many different of what I've learned. There are many different avenues to take, and it depends on how you classify your product. And you need somebody to understand that in the industry to walk through a minefield, I know that that there are not service companies now where you could bring them to buy their products and they would give you like a recipe or a basic recipe of what you can use in your product.

Vanessa Afful (00:37:17):

And then you'd go away and then that's passed, has been testing, but you don't have to stay in creative license. So if you want to be more creative with your products, if they are not just making a lot of soaps or anything, I think is really important to get a mentor too, and that will help you to save money and take you through the process.

Vicki Weinberg (00:37:38):

Yeah. I think that was a really good advice. Thank you. Because I think, yeah, but it has a lot of them, someone who is being a head, it's great because we all are always, of course, going to make mistakes will do things that we wish we have done differently. But if you could have someone else's knowledge,

Vanessa Afful (00:37:51):

Yeah. It could be really expensive when, you know, when you're working with the product. And I think now that were not part of the EU with Brexit, the laws have changed again. And I know that this is for people who are having to have made products, they have a certain amount of time to change over to this new No, and this new system. So why is that? There is a lot of things that we may think, okay, I'm just going to make my product. And so it's not that simple. So yeah. A mentor to be able to take you through and make sure that you don't go through a lot of the mistakes or issues that arise.

Vicki Weinberg (00:38:31):

Yeah. That's so USEFUL. Thank you. You and I think that anyone listening, who is, you know, thinking of making any kind of beauty products, it sounds like you really need to be sure, you know, what the laws are and what the regulations are. Because I, I mean, I obviously knew it was an industry that was regulated, but I couldn't tell you what the laws are. And I didn't know that we are changing as well and say, yeah, that something for people is definitely to go away and, and have a look into because there was something you just can't afford to get it wrong.

Vanessa Afful (00:37:56):

Yeah, no, absolutely could, it is a long way because it does take a long time to get from these starting to make the product, to getting them out. But if you haven't bought your Ram is that the quantification could take a bit of three to six months. So that's quite a long period of time. So yeah, I would definitely have to say, even I have my products when I, when I'm going to walk through some of them through, into the commercial. Now I am going to have a mental to make sure that I like that.

Vicki Weinberg (00:39:26):

That's brilliant advice. Thank you so much. And thank you for everything that you've shared and it's been lovely to talk to you and to hear your story and everything that you've done. Yeah. I really enjoyed it. So thank you for that answer.

Vanessa Afful (00:39:36):

Thank you, Vicki, to me is not me. I really enjoy talking about, but I love to talk about our emissaries really shut me up.

Vicki Weinberg (00:39:44):

Oh, it's been brilliant. Thank you so much. Thanks. Yeah. I really hope you enjoyed that conversation with Vanessa as always, if you get a bit of time and you're able to rate and review the podcast, that would be absolutely amazing. Also remember to subscribe. So you don't miss any future episodes. Thank you so much. And looking forward to talking to you again next week,