The start of 2020 has brought with it a wave of uncertainty on how we can keep safe and nurture our bodies. In a time where our health is paramount, we discover Saje Wellness – a company producing essential oil blends formulated to fight colds, reduce stress and enhance long term wellness, naturally.
Founded in 1992 by Kate and Jean-Pierre LeBlanc in Vancouver, British Columbia, the story of the company’s beginning is a personal one for Jean-Pierre. Involved in a car accident before he met Kate, he was sent on a cycle of never-ending medicines prescribed by doctors in an attempt to cure his chronic pain. It wasn’t until the couple heard about the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Applied Kinesiology that their fascination with Holistic Medicine began. In a bid to find a long-term solution, Jean-Pierre delved into his background in corporate chemistry to create his first essential oil blend. Seeing the restored vitality in Jean-Pierre formed the beginning of Saje Wellness.
So we know Jean-Pierre does the science, but where does Kate fit in? Growing up with her mum’s retail textile business, Kate had an eye for design, and a mentality of “providing positively outrageous customer service”. While Jean-Pierre researches oil blends to soothe aches and pains, uplift the spirit and prevent illness, Kate is making sure their loyal fanbase is looked after and their products are looking beautiful. Sounds like a duo who complement each other’s talents perfectly!
Saje Wellness’s message is simple: to create essential oil blends that “help you feel better, naturally”. The oils are 100% plant-based products, as the couple believes that we should honour our bodies inside and out, and what we put on our skin directly impacts what happens on the inside. Their whole approach to business is one of protection, meaning they source sustainably from renewable areas, and all packaging is made of recycled or recyclable materials.
You never know how the dynamic will change when you merge the lines of business and personal life. But this is something Kate and Jean-Pierre seem to have mastered. In an interview with Forbes, Kate described how they work in unity: “Although we have friendly competition in our personal lives, specifically when we play chess together, we are not competitive in business at all. We make sure that we allow each other the space to play to our own strengths”. And Jean-Pierre added to this, that rather than going into business together, “Instead we decided to craft our lives together. Otherwise we knew we would be working in entirely separate realities and weaving in the scraps together”. The couple quickly realised that in order to have a successful business while keeping a happy personal life meant they had to be in it together, whole-heartedly, and with complete appreciation for each other’s unique skill sets.
So how did this essential oil business grow to have over 50 retail outlets across North America, a social following of over 275K and celebrity endorsements from the likes of Hillary Duff, Kourtney Kardashian and Jillian Harris? In a heart-warming case of family business, the founders put much of their success down to their daughter, Kiara, joining the business and becoming a young, fresh pair of eyes for their offerings. Now the Chief of Product Innovation and Brand, Kiara is an “integral influence on the evolution of the brand” and impressively led a 1017% growth for Saje in the past five years.
With a product line now including diffusers, soaps, roll-on oil blends and home cleaning kits (which we can imagine are best sellers in current times), Saje has started from one simple product and turned it into a wellness business loved by thousands. Another case of taking a simple idea, a passion for your offering and turning it into a real, tangible business model, all with your loved ones by your side. “We seek to make it easier for you to focus on what matters: living life to the fullest.” Kate LeBlanc, Saje Wellness.
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