Meet Zeine Charabati - CanvasRebel

Meet Zeine Charabati - CanvasRebel

on Nov 05, 2023

We were lucky to catch up with Zeine Charabati recently and have shared our conversation below.

Hi Zeine, thanks for joining us today. Let’s start with the story of your mission. What should we know?

The story behind My Aromaz mission is deeply rooted in my personal experiences and journey. It began with a genuine love for aromatherapy, sparked by the search for natural, clean solutions to address the pains affecting my own family. Through this personal exploration, I witnessed the remarkable strength and effectiveness of aromatherapy and was amazed by the positive results.

The inspiration to create My Aromaz came from my profound experiences with herbs and oils with my daughter, my sister, and even myself.
My daughter has a neuro-metabolic disorder called Glucose Transporter Deficiency (or Glut 1) which causes episodic muscle weakeness and pain. She is thankfully a mild case but still has to struggle daily. Her main symptom is legs pain after any physical activity. When she was a toddler, she would ask to be carried almost all the time. Later on, we knew she had pain when walking and even gets to a point where she can’t walk anymore and needs to rest and “refuel” her energy. During such episodes, I used to apply arnica oil on her legs and it would make her feel much better.
At the same time, I was working at an embassy abroad, and was managing cases of distressed citizens. After years of listening to other people’s stories and sufferings, I started developing anxiety and got to a point where I would get an anxiety attack while listening to a client’s story. I didn’t want to start medication right away, so I experimented with essential oils, and found that so many of them were able to relax me. I learnt to use them even before I get very overwhelmed to avoid panic attacks. I loved the fact that I could carry an aromatherapy inhaler in my pocket and use it discreetly when I needed some deep breaths.
Years later, we moved back to California and it was my chance to start something new. I knew I needed a change from my career but wanted to still be able to help and support people as much as I could. I started studying aromatherapy, hoping to be able to offer natural and safe products to people I love. This journey made me much more confident in experimenting with new ingredients, knowing what is safe and what is not.
A few months before the completion of my aromatherapy certification program, my sister had to go through a very aggressive chemotherapy treatment, which left her with severe joints pain. Driven by the need to reduce her suffering, I formulated a blend that successfully eased her joints pain, without creating more side effects. I used arnica oil as a base since I know how effective it is for my daughter’s pain, and added other oils to create an effective analgesic oil blend.
This blend, now called Recovery Oil, was the solution to both my sister’s joints pain and my daughter’s episodic legs pain.

The amazing results experienced within my own family and friends prompted the realization that this healing power of aromatherapy should be made accessible to everyone. This realization led to the launch of My Aromaz, driven by the belief that natural, clean solutions can have a profound impact on people’s well-being.

Overall, the story behind My Aromaz mission is a deeply personal one, fueled by my firsthand experiences and a desire to share the benefits of aromatherapy with others. It is a story of finding natural solutions, witnessing their efficacy, and ultimately launching a brand dedicated to providing effective and natural products that promote well-being.

My Aromaz
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers.

I got into aromatherapy through my personal experiences and deep passion for natural living. I was driven by the need to find natural, clean solutions for the health concerns of my own family. This journey led me to discover the remarkable power and effectiveness of aromatherapy.

My Aromaz provides a range of products that are carefully crafted using all-natural and non-toxic ingredients.
My main products are essential oil blends, formulated for specific therapeutic purposes. For example, Breathe, which is one of my best seller, is a blend that is 100% pure essential oils. You could either use 5-6 drops in a diffuser to help with sinuses and allergies or you could dilute it to apply on your chest for example.
The essential oil roll-ons serve as natural perfumes but also have therapeutic properties. For example, Jasmine roll-on not only offers a delightful scent of jasmine, but also promotes relaxation and mood uplifting. Similarly, Calm roll-on, infused with lavender, is used as a ntural perfume or when you simply need to unwind, such as before a yoga or meditation session.
Inhalers have a specific therapeutic role, such as help with sleep, help with nausea and motion sickness, and help with anxiety.
I also have a few skincare products for the face and body, made with only organic and unrefined ingredients.
All my products are free from parabens, artificial fragrances, and synthetic dyes.
Through the power of aromatherapy, my products offer an alternative to conventional products that may contain synthetic ingredients and harsh chemicals. I aim to provide effective and natural remedies that promote overall well-being and enhance the quality of life for my clients.

Unfortunately, the aromatherapy and skincare industry is not totally regulated in the US, and there are a lot of unsafe products on the shelves. There is also plenty of essential oils that claim to be “pure” and “undiluted” but these are just marketing terms that anyone can use on their labels. Being a ceritified aromatherapist, I can read the oil reports, understand the components of the oils and know when an oil has been adulturated (mixed with other oils to lower cost).
What I promise my clients is that they will always get a good quality blend, safely formulated with the best ingredients possible. Therapeutic quality is always my prioroty even when I have to pay more for my ingredients. I think this is what sets me apart, in addition to the fact that I am not MLM business.

We’d really appreciate if you could talk to us about how you figured out the manufacturing process.

I launched my business at the beginning of 2022 and have been manufacturing all my products myself. My journey into manufacturing began with a humble background in creating simple DIY aromatherapy blends. Initially, I enjoyed experimenting with different carrier oils, butters, and essential oils and have created simple blends such as a room spray or an aloe vera based blend for myself. I used to follow recipes I found online. However, during my certification program, I started realizing that a lot of DIY recipes are not safe and would cause more harm than good. For example, I learnt that creating a room spray with water and essential oils would actually cause bacteria to grow in the blend. I also learnt GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and realized that even when you make an anhydrous (or waterless) product, there is still a possibility for bacteria to grow if you don’t follow certain practices. I also discovered that there are a lot of unsafe products on the shelves such as room sprays without proper preservation.

Recognizing the importance of product safety, efficacy, and responsible manufacturing, I started educating myself further in the field. I learnt formulation principles and decided to test my products at a lab to ensure consumer safety. This is a step that is often ignored because it is costly and simply not required in the US.
Over time, I continued to refine my manufacturing processes, and started using machines to make my work faster. Everything is still handmade, but I have bought a machine to fill bottles faster and have also just started using a labeling machine. This has saved me a lot of time and allowed me to ask for help from my family members who can now easily help me with the packaging and labeling process.

I have looked into outsourcing manufacturing and have contacted several companies here in California, but part of me still wants to have my products handmade in small batches. I see value in that and not sure I am ready to let go. However, I also know that to allow growth, I will maybe need to eventually get there one day. I have mixed feelings about that but will not worry about it for now.

Lessons I have learnt and want everyone to know before starting their own small handmade business in cosmetics/aromatherapy etc. is to really study formulation and GMP before embarking on this journey. It is crucial for consumer safety that we have the required knowledge to make safe products, specially when we are in the health and wellness industry and are trying to make people live a healthier and more natural lifestyle. The least we can do is to offer clean and safe products that match our mission.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about selling platforms like Amazon/Etsy vs selling on your own site.

When I launched in 2022, I was only selling on my website. I discovered very soon that it’s not enough to just have a website and list your products. More needed to be done, including blogs, updates, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and Google Ads. However, as soon as I created a Google Ads account, it was suspended for some unknown reason and I was not able to run ads for a whole year. I then decided to look at other platforms and eventually decided to try Amazon. After four months of preparation and paperwork, I finally launched three products on Amazon in the last two weeks. What I like about Amazon is that it has a massive customer base and gives you access to so many potential buyers. It also has an established infrastructure that you can benefit from. Also, the Fulfilment by Amazon is an incredible service where your clients can get the product next day. The main disadvantage is obviously the large share Amazon gets for listing your products and fulfilling your orders. It’s also not as easy as you would think. It’s a very competitive marketplace and you do need to invest a lot of time to set up the account and optimize the listing. Also, brands have limited control over the customer experience, and one thing that I really don’t like is that I can’t control the packaging and clients end up receiving the products very differently form when I ship orders myself. I still think it is worth it if you succeed in getting a little share of the market.
Ultimately, the decision to sell on Amazon should be based on a thorough assessment of the brand’s specific circumstances, including its goals, resources, and target market. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons to determine if the benefits of selling on Amazon outweigh the potential challenges. On a side note, my Google Ads account has now been restored and I will start experimenting with that.