We were excited about the opportunity to have our CEO be interviewed by Voyage Utah magazine. Here is the article:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael DeLeeuw.
Hi Michael, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
In my former career, I was a Financial Advisor. While flying to Dallas for annual meetings, I sat by a gentleman that smelled like he had just smoked 15 cigarettes before boarding the plane. I usually do not have issues like this but I couldn’t breathe and had my nose in my sleeve the whole flight. On the way home I sat by a guy that clearly had been traveling for many days. He smelled so bad I wanted to move seats but it was a full plane and no seats were available. I couldn’t believe that I had just had these back-to-back experiences in a single trip. I came home and began researching to see if there was anything out there that could help with my issue. The only thing I could find was a breathe strip for snoring so I decided to get to work on a solution. I wanted something that was natural like essential oils to incorporate the wellness factor as well as something that was flexible and discreet. After attending a manufacturing convention in Los Angeles, I came across the perfect material. I quickly discovered that this type of silicone infused perfectly with essential oils. The problem I was originally trying to solve was to cover up bad smells while flying but ended up taking a more holistic approach and came up with the Essence Nasal Diffuser. It is perfect for almost any situation like getting a massage at the spa, working in healthcare, doing yoga, traveling, etc. Naturally we began marketing to essential oil users and had an amazing partnership with a large flagship essential oil company located here in Utah. We quickly pivoted into the beauty and spa industries and started attending Spa and Esthetician conventions year round. We now partner a number of retail spas and continue to grow online - have been blessed with double year-over-year growth.
We are now moving into the Luxury Hotel and Spas industry and are working with several partners across the country.Our goal this year is to expand internationally. We have the great fortune of working with the World Trade Center of Utah who has been instrumental in helping position us on the world stage. We are excited to make 2023 our best year yet.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
There are always challenges in starting a new business. Luckily for us, we are a niche product and there isn’t anything like ours in this space. We have had a few pop ups since we started but nothing that is as comfortable, discreet, and reusable like the Essence Ring. We have spent most of 2022 working on scaling the business. We have added some great partners and distributors. We located a piece of automation equipment that will allow us to scale with demand and hope to purchase it in early 2023. The biggest challenge we have is exposure and getting the word out about our product and how it’s being used. Our products are being used in Spas, yoga studios, while traveling on the plane, at hospitals in the oncology department, respiratory units, nurses, at hotels, and with aromatherapy for anxiety and minor symptoms like nausea, motion sickness, headaches.
We are hoping to continue to grow our footprint nationally and internationally in 2023 through larger distribution partners.
As you know, we’re big fans of Essence. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Here at Essence, we pride ourselves on promoting health and wellness worldwide but uplifting your soul, spirit and life. Our core product is a revolutionary essential oil-infused silicone device that allows the wearer to enjoy aromatherapy anytime, anywhere. The Essence nasal diffuser ring’s discreet and portable design makes it perfect for busy moms, fitness enthusiasts, healthcare workers, and those just looking to relax at the spa or at home. We designed the product using a flexible material that allows it to fit noses of all sizes and fit comfortably over the septum of the nose. The Essence nasal diffuser ring is infused with 100% therapeutic essential oils that provide the wearer with aromatherapy lasting up to 4 hours. The diffuser ring is also reusable – just rinse, dry and place it back in the zipper pack or soaking pod with a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils to reinfuse.
We offer single diffusers in 18 pre-infused scents, everything from classic favorites like Lavender, Peppermint, and Orange to our own custom blend creations like Stress Relief and Breathe Easy. We also sell bottles of essential oil, soaking pods and travel cases as well as pre-curated 5 packs bundles. We sell to consumers directly but also have incredible wholesale pricing for retailers or businesses looking to add a unique product to their inventory.
The Essence brand was built on a foundation of providing only the best products at an affordable price while never sacrificing great customer service. We are a family-owned company with products that are always made in the USA.
How do you think about luck?
This is an interesting question. I believe luck is where hard work meets opportunity. I think I was meant to be on that trip to experience the bad smells on the plane (which happen often). It really felt like It was more inspired than a stroke of luck. I could have let the idea go and at some point someone else would have made something similar but it wouldn’t have been exactly the same. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by good people who have had similar experiences themselves otherwise I probably would not have made it this far. It takes a big dose of perseverance and a lot of work no matter what you are pursuing. Timing is another thing I would say is vital. It is important to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself and then get to work.