June 7, 2015

Natural Perfumes by April Aromatics

Passion Discovery

by Delia Montgomery 
Interview for Fiber Ethics Magazine,
Nova Scotia, Canada by HPI Group, (launched 2000 July). 

Published 2001 January

All of April Aromatics ingredients are organic, totally natural and free of synthetic additives. Contents are combined with 100% pure essential oils, which contain natural antibiotic, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. German-born founder Tanja Bochnig believes her sources fulfill the most important component of any beauty product, which she says is the energy that goes into creating it.

To develop this interview, Tanja and I communicated by e-mail as she traveled to at least three different countries in just as many months. During all that jetting, I was impressed with her organization and enthusiasm, not to mention computer laptop and English fluency. Her website, www.aprilaromatics.com, was recently launched with some of her treasured photographs; a testimonial to her involvement with the harvesting and distillation processes.

Initially, the reason for her well traveled lifestyle was due to her modeling career. Tanja was taught the importance of health while she learned foreign languages and cultures. She studied homeopathy, herbals, nutrition, Reiki, Reflexology, yoga and meditation. But jet lag became a nuisance and made her feel sickly. For relief she tried some essential oils purchased from a health food store in Miami. The oils not only comforted her travels, but aided her bouts with insomnia and other petty discomforts. From there, Tanja’s thirst for aromatherapy began. Once she sought professional training, she knew she had discovered her passion.

Our interview begins with Tanja’s aromatherapy fascination which evolves into the formation of her business and her challenges today. Telecommunicating while viewing her illustrations makes me feel as though we are traveling together.

When did you leave your home in Germany for New York and why?
Eleven years ago (1990) I left my home in Hannover-Germany to become a Ford fashion model, which I still am. The travels are great with most modeling assignments in New York and Paris.

How did your career lead you to your discovery of essential oils?
Although my career provided me access to ample skin care goods, I was unsatisfied with all the artificial products on the market. My aromatic jet lag therapy confirmed my craving for pure ingredients. I discovered that essential oils helped combat many ailments. I realized that they not only smelled good, that I also felt healthy. I was intrigued.

So you decided to seek professional aromatherapy training. How would you describe your student life in the past, present and future tense?
Amongst many wonderful instructors, (including those in England, Turkey and India), I am proud to have studied aromatherapy with Micheal Scholes at his School of Aromatic Studies in California. That course required a year and a half of instructions. But during that time I was able to play and try things out. Retrospectively, I see that every teacher had another way of showing me the wonders of nature. Each time I came back home I felt so much richer in what I had learned and experienced. I plan to visit the South of France this summer for the lavender harvest and to do more plant studies with some teachers there. My aromatherapy education has become infinite.

When and how did you decide to start April Aromatics?
I decided to start April Aromatics in the summer of 1997. It was an idea, more just for fun. I gave my products a name, but it wasn't a business yet. I called it " April" because April is one of my favorite months of the year. I'm born in April. It is new beginnings. Spring means fresh and clean to me. Nature comes alive in April. I also happen to like April as a girls name. So here we go, I made little products for myself and my travels first. People kept asking me about my creams and what scent I was wearing. I gave some concoctions to friends and then they came back. They wanted more and then their friends came, and so on ... the snowball effect. I had to get professional to handle the growing demands. So my passion became my business. In autumn of 1998 I was incorporated and official. From then on I’ve had to learn all the uncomfortable sides of business life. If I had the choice, I would rather just blend all day.

How about finances? Is that the uncomfortable part?
Somewhat. My dream business was developed from my personal earnings and savings, all of which was acquired from my modeling career. I rejected the opportunity for sponsorship. It is important to me that April Aromatics is my own. I want my company to grow at its own pace.

Aromatherapy is such a broad, complex expertise with so many products that apply. How did you decide to start your initial collection?
I thought of what would be the most important skin care items to take with me on a trip and restricted my wishes to six products. Debut offerings consisted of face oil, face cream, body oil, body lotion, body wash and rose water spray. Since then I’ve added four more products and offer custom blending of absolutes and essential oils. 

Most aromatherapy suppliers claim to use pure essential oils. What are your purity standards?
I travel to countries like India and Turkey where I witnesses harvesting and distillation. It is very important for me to observe the plants being distilled, to see who does it and what energy goes into it. I get my essential oils from people who consider pristine quality crucial. All of the oils are GC tested. GC means gas chromatography, which is a special way to analyze the whole consistency of an essential oil. With this computerized method, one can see if an oil is adulterated or stretched, meaning cheap components added. So organic in this way means that the plants are grown without pesticides and in a healthy soil, in an area where the air is clean and they are harvested and distilled in a gentle manner. Base products are obtained from an all-natural supplier in California who uses organic ingredients and only natural components to produce the creams and shampoos, which I can't do in my kitchen. All other products are mixed by myself and therefore I know everything which goes into a bottle is pure. I realize that a growing number of consumers request organic certification and I am working on that now.

What are your marketing plans?
I intend to reach out to consumers through beauty and health media. I want to garner as much consumer feedback as possible to improve and expand my offerings. Plans are to see my first returns on investment by year-end.

What is your mission?
To entice customers by exuding magnetic, personal energy. Energy which I personally inject into each hand-filled bottle of natural and pure ingredients.

Tanja is having a blast as an essential oil and aroma therapist virtuoso. Much like any artist with a dream, she cherishes every opportunity to fulfill her passion. A passion so kind to organic farming and earth.

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