A massage therapist who trained in Thailand, has given up full-time therapy to focus on scaling up her growing aromatherapy product-based business, which exploded during lockdown.
Sam Clarke, who has 30 years’ experience in aromatherapy, massage and skincare, is the founder of Bliss Therapies, which was founded as a holistic treatment business eight years ago, following her return from Thailand – where she lived for six years, training in holistic healing.
During lockdown, Sam’s income was lost when treatments were no longer allowed. She pivoted and started making candles, bath and body products and essential oil blends, sold via her growing Instagram following and her Etsy shop. After lockdown, Sam began trading her products in local shops and, whilst profitable, it was still a side-line business, until she joined business members’ club, Empire House.
Being exposed to other businesses in a supportive network, Sam was inspired to grow her income from products and underwent a rebrand with fellow Empire House member, Smith.
Her products are now stocked at The Gallery in Slaithwaite and Curated By Anna, which she has created an exclusive candle and wax melt collection for.
Sam said her decision to rebrand and join Empire House were the catalyst to Bliss Therapies’ subsequent growth. She commented: “Since being part of Empire House, I felt as though I blossomed within myself – it gave me a confidence to step up, because I knew I was in a supportive environment.
“I’m surrounded by people who are passionate about quality, ambitious, prepared to take risks and do things differently. People began buying my candles and products and recommending me within their networks. In addition to the product business I now do pop-up clinics, candle and product making workshops and offer one-to-one teaching, and my business has snowballed from there.
As a clinical aromatherapist, Bliss Therapies products are based on Sam’s 30 years of knowledge from qualifying as an aromatherapist at 19 and training from brands such as Clarins and other premium spa brands, as well as at training facilities in Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
There is a strong focus on sustainability. All packaging is made from recycled materials and is recyclable, whilst candles come with seeded paper, so customers can plant seeds in the jar after the candle is finished.
Sam continued: “Many aromatherapy brands on the market are set up by business people. Bliss Therapies is founded by someone who is passionate about plants, products and skincare.
“From being eight years old, I have made products. I would make lotions and potions from flowers in the garden and then I went straight to college to learn aromatherapy. After working in spas and retail, I gave it all up and went travelling to Thailand to do extra training. Whilst there I volunteered at an elephant camp and ended up setting up an elephant conservation project, living in a hut for six years to be near the elephants whilst gaining more skills. This line of business is my everything and I’m so grateful to be growing a brand I’m proud of.”
Over the next 12 months, Bliss Therapies is set to grow into a six-figure brand and Sam’s ambition is to become a nationally recognised brand, with roots firmly in Slaithwaite.