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The Profitable Aromatherapy Customizing Bar

By: Jimm Harrison
Posted: March 30, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Rebecca Kroll, front desk coordinator of The Still Point Mind and Body, a Wellness Spa in Takoma Park, MD, dispenses essential oil from a burette.

Rebecca Kroll, front desk coordinator of The Still Point Mind and Body, a Wellness Spa in Takoma Park, MD, dispenses essential oil from a burette.

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The upfront cost may be anywhere from $700–25,000 depending on the scope of the project, build-out and consultant fee. Your investment should, with suitable staff support and promotion, have a quick return. An aromatherapy bar has high margins. A holistic aromatherapy consultation may be added as part of the personalized treatment or as an independent service with a time-dependent fee—for example, $25 per 30 minutes or as determined by your expertise. The consultation may also be rolled into your service fee, where the cost of personalization is added into the cost of a first visit, perhaps $25–75 more than your basic facial.

The essential oils used in the customized service can be calculated by drops used, such as $1 per drop, plus the cost of your base formula if this exceeds the cost already set for back-bar products. The margins are considerable with the cost of a drop of essential oil ranging from $0.01–0.25, and an average cost of $0.09 per drop, depending on the oil’s quality. Some oils exceed this average-per-drop price and may require a higher “premium oil” charge. Pricier oils include the chamomiles, helichrysum, neroli and true sandalwood (Australian sandalwood being the only one with a guaranteed authenticity), and extremely pricey oils that exceed your cost of $1 or more per drop include melissa and rose.

In customized retail products, it’s possible to have a 300%-plus markup and still be in the range of a value-priced offering. Your total cost of a truly organic and natural facial moisturizing cream with added customized essential oils can average around $9 for a 50-mL jar. This product can easily be sold for $36 or more. Comparable products, which are few, hard to find and not personalized, would normally retail from approximately $65–165.

The benefits of customization

Offering treatments and retail using a customizable, authentic essential oil aromatherapy bar has great potential when used with skill, integrity and knowledge. Essential oil treatments, especially when incorporated into therapeutic and botanical bases, result in stellar healing and client satisfaction. Achieving positive results for your clients that are exclusive to you and your skin care facility is a rewarding and profitable healing and wellness opportunity.

Jimm Harrison is an essential oil and holistic beauty author, educator and consultant. During his 25 years as a licensed cosmetologist and a leading expert in aromatherapy, Harrison has created essential oil customizing systems for spas and resorts, and has developed professional and retail organic nutritional skin care products. He is the author of Aromatherapy: Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils for Esthetics (Milady, 2007), and developed and teaches an aromatherapy certificate program at Seattle’s Bastyr University. He can be contacted at 617-650-3206 or via e-mail at