Local essential oils business with therapeutic intent
By Amy M. Peters, Planet Contributor
Six years ago, local massage therapist Tim Lafferty began suffering from arthritis in his hands. A client who owned a skin care company introduced him to the synergistic nature of essential oils and taught him how to mix formulas which sparked a two-year journey towards discovering a remedy for his painful affliction. After dabbling with 20 experimental batches of salve, Lafferty finally landed an optimal combination of essential oils for anti-inflammatory and analgesic pain relief.
“I had no intention, though, of starting an essential oils business,” Lafferty said.
After further research, he discovered that his relief salve had an inherent delivery system for cannabidiol (CBD). Given CBD’s therapeutic effects, he added it to his salve and began using it on his clients’ sore joints and muscles. His clients, in turn, began buying it. To meet rising demand, he and his wife, Jenna Cichanski, started making more of the salve, packaging it in baby food jars and selling it out of his office.
“Jenna was working as a buyer for Jagged Edge at the time so we asked if they would start carrying the salve, and it just flew out of the store, and that’s how Jagged Edge became our first wholesale client,” Lafferty recounted.
They named the salve Tim’s Trauma Balm which remains the best-seller of their eight-product line of essential oils that they sell under the banner of Tim’s Naturals, sold in 17 stores in Telluride and Mountain Village and in nearly 90 stores across the country.
While the CBD industry is a complicated landscape lacking regulation, and all of Tim’s Naturals products have CBD in them to maintain consistency of the brand, therapeutic intent remains the cornerstone of the business.
“We use CBD as an ingredient only,” clarified Cichanski, who now manages the business full-time and sells Tim’s Naturals products at the weekly farmers markets in Mountain Village and Telluride. “We have always looked for the highest quality, most pure, most effective, organic, fair trade, clean ingredients.”
“We really went down the rabbit hole of how excellent we can we make these products,” added Lafferty. “We trace our rosemary and lavender, for example, all the way back to growers in France.”
In spite of the precision and mindfulness around the products, Cichanski says Tim’s Naturals are no more expensive than other brands.
“For us, the integrity of our products and business is the most important thing. Not making the most profit,” she said.
They source local beeswax from Bluecorn in Ridgway, and all CBD is extracted from hemp that is Colorado-grown and 98 percent organic.
“We don’t use plastic either,” noted Cichanski. “And we just started using bio-degradable, compostable push-up tubes and recyclable/re-usable tins for our new lip balm [called Cocoa Mint Lip Salvation]. We’re trying to be the company that we wish every company was.”
They went on develop Tim’s Body Balm oil as an alternative to the trauma balm, which is super-concentrated, high-potency and point specific.
“The trauma balm was too intense to put on the entire body so I made a less-concentrated balm which is what I use for all of my body work,” explained Lafferty. “It’s pretty much a total skin conditioner, effective in treating eczema, dry skin and siriasis.”
They also developed a pet formula CBD — Tim’s Best Friend Formula — in response to their dog, Elwood’s, chronic limp.
“It’s a human grade CBD which is less concentrated and a better price point,” said Cichanski.
It took Cichanski a couple of years of experimenting to make Tim’s Balancing Face Formula for facial hydration.
“We add organic Bulgarian rose otto oil because it has the most therapeutic properties,” Lafferty noted. “Other products use a gnarly solvent process because it’s cheaper.”
They also offer Tim’s Natural Face Lift, a therapeutic blend of full spectrum CBD oil complimented by organic oils to address imbalanced sebaceous glands in the face and décolletage. CBD capsules and CBD oral supplements are also available. They have also recently converted the original trauma balm into tube form, which packs and travels well.
“Telluride is a great place to start a small business because the world comes here and they take our products home,” Cichanski enthused. “Our word-of-mouth business is unbelievable and that’s how we get a lot of our out-of-state wholesale business. In fact, this year we hired an employee to help take the wholesale business to a new level.”
As a way to give back to their community, Tim’s Naturals aims to donate 10 percent of all proceeds to local organizations by donating products to fundraisers for local nonprofits and preschools, by hosting donation days and by sponsoring local events, athletes and festivals.
To learn more about Tim’s Naturals, go to timsnaturals.com.