General > Jacqui Christie Interview
Jacqui Christie Interview
Stonehaven Guide Interview with Jacqui Christie former Community Planning Officer for Kincardine and Mearns
GMG – You have given up your role as Community Planning Officer for Kincardine and Mearns to concentrate on your business. Is that right?
JC– Yes, I felt that it was time to give Organica J the priority
GMG – How many years have you been involved assisting the community in this area?
JC– I was with Stonehaven It’s Special from its conception for 3 years, Business Support Officer for 3 and half years and Community Planning Officer for over 3 years, so almost 10 years within the Community and 10 years working with the local newspaper, The Mearns Leader prior to that.
GMG - What have you enjoyed the most?
JC - It was hugely satisfying being part of setting up Stonehaven It’s Special, but I really enjoyed my time as Business Support Officer for Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership working with the Stonehaven Business Association and being involved in the set up of the Stonehaven Farmers Market, the Stonehaven Horizon Project and being involved in the European Project SusSET (Sustaining Small Expanding Towns).
GMG – How long have you been operating your business on a part time basis?
JC - It has been over 9 years now
GMG – What was your inspiration to start your own business?
JC - There were many factors including; concerns about the environment that we live in, sourcing truly natural products for my young daughter, my problem with eczema that is aggravated by many external influences, such as e- numbers, certain cosmetics and washing powders; the desire to treat ourselves for minor ailments and be pro-active in our own healthcare.
GMG – I understand you have created and developed some organic products exclusive to you. Tell me about them.
JC - I have a great range of herbal ointments, that include comfrey (a herb), that I collect in Royal Deeside and macerate in sunflower oil for use in the ointments. Comfrey may help heal cuts and bruises. Where it is not suitable to use arnica on broken skin, comfrey will be perfect. I also make a calendula ointment which may help with eczema, psoriasis, inflamed skin and nappy rash. My muscle rub is very popular and can be good for muscular aches and pains.
I also make lovely beeswax candles scented with organic essential oils to give a truly natural product.
After searching for a synthetic free pot pourri, I decided to create my own, and have now four different fragrances; lemongrass sensation, lavender soother, sweet orange heaven and spicy scintillation. They are full of wonderful organic herbs, cones, spices and essential oils and smell divine and last very well.
My incense is a different collection of organic herbs, resins and essential oils, which is make in the old, old style of incense for sprinkling on to burn on charcoal discs or on an open fire, conjure up feelings of Love, Inspiration, Comfort and Serenity, Healing or Sweet Dreams.
Last, but not least I have a selection of 3 Aromatherapy Bath and Body Oils for moisturising your skin while you bathe or using directly onto skin as a moisturiser. Evening is a relaxing blend to use at the end of a busy day, Nervous Exhaustion is perfect when you are under stress and Aching Limbs can ease general aches and pains.
GMG - Did you get much help when you started your business?
JC - At the start I had good assistance and a small grant from Enterprise North East – our local Enterprise company. My Advisor Karen Stewart was excellent and she is still on email/at the end of the phone and has helped me on several occasions since the beginning.
GMG – How did you market your business to get your first customers?
JC- I spent a lot of time at the start of my business going to shows, fairs and did a lot of house parties, just to get my business out in the public eye and to get known. This was hard work, but very worthwhile. I also advertised a little, but found that it was most beneficial to be in front of people myself.
GMG - Have any of your customers had any particular story on the benefits of any of your products?
JC - I have had lots of good feedback on my calendula ointment helping with psoriasis and also my comfrey for healing small cuts and bruises. The Gardener’s Hand Cream (which contains comfrey) has many people coming back for a new jar when they run out. I have had many comments on softer skin, healing hacks, cuts and abrasions, etc. I had a letter from a client saying that it was the best hand cream she had every used! My muscle rub has been used before and after marathon runs to great effect, I have had customers say.
GMG – What story has inspired you the most?
JC - I think the story I enjoyed the most was from a lady about her baby, who had been experiencing extremely bad nappy rash. Following a consultation, I made a blend of oils for her to use on the wee one, and the calendula ointment as a protective layer. The blend was extremely effective and over the last year she has not been without it for her youngster.
GMG – Can you supply your products to anywhere in the world or only the UK?
JC - At the moment it is UK only.
GMG - I believe you have recently completed a Course on training as an a Aromatherapist, Is that right?
JC - I trained for 3 years, my Diploma was through the Edinburgh School of Holistic Aromatherapy and my BSc in Complementary Therapies (Aromatherapy) was at Napier University in Edinburgh. I believe a full training is essential to be able to work safely and knowledgeably. The aromatherapy massage part of Organica J has been growing effectively simply by word of mouth and referrals, but welcome enquiries or bookings from new clients. I have a peaceful and relaxing treatment room at my home where I see clients.
GMG - Do you have plans to learn any other new skills?
JC - I would very much like to go on to complete an Honours year at Napier University. I am also going to be doing a course in lymphatic drainage massage in the Autumn. Continuous professional development is an essential part of being an effective therapist.
GMG – It just shows what you can do living in a rural community?. Do think you will have to discipline yourself more working from home full time.
JC - Yes, I think it is a different way of working, however I have already been working this way through some of my work in Stonehaven , as I was self-employed through my Stonehaven It’s Special work. I am confident that my passion for what I am doing will ensure that I am effectively disciplined with my work.
GMG - Now that the Aromatherapy Massage side of your business is taking off will you have time to attend exhibitions and Trade Fairs with your products?
JC – I still enjoy getting out and about meeting people but I will be working hard to develop my business online also
GMG – Thank you Jacqui, I think a lot of people will miss your involvement in the community in Stonehaven and The Mearns but I am sure they will join me in wishing you every success with your business