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Why we created Blend Precisely - an Aromatherapist's best friend

May 26, 2020
 

 

Why go through all the trouble creating a software tool for a niche market such as Aromatherapists and Essential Oil Educators?

 

Blend Precisely is an online business tool for accurately calculating the costs of Essential Oil recipes, including sales tax, shipping, and profit factor. It also quickly identifies safety issues, blend percentages, and visualizes the ever-so-important dilution ratio, which is a critical item for Aromatherapists.

Katrin, the founder of Petal & Stem Aromatherapy and a certified Aromatherapist, was happily puttering about her shop in Lisbon, Portugal, when she received another client request, which required several custom blends.

It took her 4 hours to go from analyzing the clients' needs to calculating the recipe with the tools she had learned from the Aromahead Institute, then packaging it and figuring out all the costs involved. What should she charge her client? What would be her net profit? She needed to calculate the cost of the labels, shipping boxes, shipping, total price of the blend, and tax. This is not fun for anyone and takes away from the happy place of creativity and helping clients. How could she minimize the pain and maximize the fun?

Fortunately, she was married to a professional web developer (me) to whom she turned and said: "Can you just write me a program for this?". To which, he foolishly responded: "sure." I could see the pain and annoyance in her eyes, and like all husbands who love their wives, I desperately wanted to see that pain go away. So I began with something simple, which she thanked me for many times. At that time, it wasn't anything to brag about, but it was effective. She went from 2 hours of calculation pain using Excel spreadsheets, finding price lists from her suppliers, calculating the per-drop unit price down to about 5 minutes. And those 2 hours did not include any adjustments to the blend. Wash and repeat.

Eventually, we got the bright idea to make it available to the public. We researched the pain points above and discovered that Katrin was not alone in her suffering. Other Aromatherapists found the spreadsheet calculation techniques annoying and difficult, too, so we were surprised that no-one had come up with a better solution before. We did find a vague reference to a tool in a blog somewhere where a husband was also trying to help his beleaguered wife and got a fair distance with it, but it appears to have faded into history. We also found some painful recipe apps based on Appsheet (run away!) and some inventory apps but nothing to simply fulfill these fundamental business needs.

Without knowing your exact costs, you do not have a business. 

So, here we are. The first of many blogs to convince you that there is a better way. Yes, we are entrepreneurs, and we do want to make money but, surprise, we actually want to help you. Katrin cares. I care. But the business world is not for sissys.

The end result that a customer sees does not expose the blood, sweat, and tears involved behind the scenes. You likely have no idea what we have gone through to simply get to the point where we can deliver a quality product but suffice it to say that I will gladly tip my hat to every successful entrepreneur and even the ones that gave it a good go and failed.

First, there are the Negative Nancies who tell you it is a stupid idea and you should stick with your day job. Then there is the impossible Wall of Choices, which must be sorted through to figure out how to give people what they actually want, need, and will ultimately give you a vote of confidence with real money. We think we have done that with Blend Precisely, but really, you are our judges, jury, and possibly our executioners.

There are financial, marketing, sales, and legal hurdles. Creativity and time limits that make you go crazy. And if that isn't enough, there are more than enough people and services playing a confidence game to eat up your entire budget. Entrepreneurs are blissfully unaware of these things in the beginning. And then there are the reviews and a reputation to defend. The bar is very high. There are, of course, people that simply cannot be made happy.

I could, of course, describe to you in great gory technical detail all the things that have happened with coding, servers, and contractors, but I will save you the pain. I am not sure I could even find the words to describe it to a non-technical world. What I can tell you is that we tested the heck out of Blend Precisely.

We recruited Aromatherapist instructors, a CBD specialist, Essential Oil workshop teachers, Aromatherapist consultants, Cosmetic Formulators, and Essential Oil suppliers.

World, here is our dream, exposed to the elements. Our hope is to share Katrin's joy and creativity with you.

Seth

If you would like to join our community of Aromatherapists, please free to do so by joining our group Aromatherapists in Business.

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