The Clever Root

Spring 2018

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s p r i n g 2 0 1 8 | 7 3 The guiding purpose of aromatherapy is to link a scent with a specific memory or emotion, so Simpkins started out by creating a custom fragrance for Lancaster Estate that would connect guests with the winery long after they had left. Her business acumen led Simpkins to found Wine Country Botanicals in 2013, and five years in, the brand's product line has expanded to include body wash, lotion, soy wax candles, shea butter sugar scrub, perfume, and bubble bath. Each product can be purchased in three signa- ture scents: Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Barbara. All three exhibit lavender notes, with Sonoma also featuring bergamot and sandalwood; Napa exud- ing rose and neroli; and Santa Barbara showing mandarin and rosemary. "Each scent's botanicals and lavender are harvested from that particular wine region, and then we make everything here in Healdsburg," Simpkins explains. "It's important to me that we use locally-sourced ingredients." Wine Country Botanicals can now be found in stores throughout the U.S., with Simpkins esti- mating that online sales account for about half of her business. "I would say our retail presence is split between stores that present our products as a 'gift experience,' and the other stores are spas and hotels that present it was a 'wellness experi- ence,'" she adds. Social media plays a big part in directing prospective customers to buy from her retailers, and because there are "millions of soaps out there," Simpkins says it's important to dis- tinguish her business from competitors in a way that conveys authenticity. "We use social media to convey that wine country experience and create a personal connection to our family that makes Wine Country Botanicals stand out in a saturated market," she explains. And in regards to wine tasting, Simpkins says she crafted her products to be as subtle as pos- sible to assure their scent doesn't overpower any food or wine aromas. "It's comparable to having a bouquet of flowers in the room while wine tasting, rather than a scented candle," she says. "While some people are extremely sensitive to smells, I've found no issues with people trying on our prod- ucts and tasting wine at the same time!" PHOTOS COURTESY OF WINE COUNTRY BOTANICALS Wine Country Botanicals' signature scents are named for the three wine regions their ingredients are sourced from: Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara. Nicole Simpkins' interest in essential oils led to the creation of her brand Wine Country Botanicals in 2013. ■cr

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