Finding the Perfect Potion
Founded in 1991, Perfect Potion’s story began when natural therapist Salvatore Battaglia and naturopath Carolyn Stubbin opened their first retail store in Brisbane’s CBD after being involved in aromatherapy for a number of years.
“We opened our first retail store in the old Elizabeth Arcade opposite Festival Hall. We used to get lots of interesting people and artists pop in all the time – it was a very trendy place to be!”, commented Salvatore, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Perfect Potion.
Salvatore’s first business, The Garden Party, was his initial deep dive into the aromatherapy space; a business operated out of his parent’s home, crafting essential oil blends to sell to markets in the mid-80s. Many of these original blends stayed the course and are still for sale under the Perfect Potion branding.
“The business has always evolved around aromatherapy and my passion to improve people’s health and wellbeing,” Salvatore commented.
Meeting fellow aromatherapy enthusiast, visionary creative, and now wife, Carolyn Stubbin, helped Salvatore along his journey – rebranding the business and together creating the Perfect Potion name that we all know and love.
Sustainability for the couple was first born out of necessity. Their first store was constructed with recycled parts of Carolyn’s parent’s old kitchen, and their West End space was fitted with secondhand furniture sourced from the local area. This focus on sustainability is a core value that remains with them today, having been recently recognised as a CCIQ ecoBiz Energy, Water and Waste 3-Star Partner. Since their first ecoBiz audit in 2017, the business has reduced its energy consumption by 54% and reduced the amount of waste material to landfill by 64% – a huge feat achieved through installing rainwater tanks, composting, recycling and implementing an energy-neutral strategy.
The initiation of refill stations also nods towards the brand’s commitment to sustainability, of which it hopes to increase the number of refill stations and expand the range of refills available.
Although aromatherapy remains at the heart of Perfect Potion, the brand has now grown into the wellbeing space with its main focus on using pure, certified organic essential oils. But that hasn’t always been easy.
“At the beginning, we couldn’t get certified organic essential oils. There were limited suppliers and no guarantee of continual supply,” Salvatore admitted.
“It’s great to see a change in the mindset of consumers. People are now willing to pay a little more for better quality.”
This increase in demand for organics has ensured a more consistent supply for Perfect Potion, which prefers to source its essential oils from smaller producers to support local communities.
“Essential oil production is often run by big corporates who want to produce oils as economically as possible and are therefore no longer supporting those smaller communities and farmers. By supporting small farmers, you’re also supporting those communities that rely on the farms.
“Organic is not just better for your wellbeing. It’s better for your community and for the land. That’s the way I’ve always educated people. I love our new purpose and vision.”
That new vision is to be a part of everybody’s daily ritual, and their purpose is to support the individual, community and environment to flourish by listening, guiding and reconnecting mind, body and spirit. These two mandates make up part of every decision the brand makes – continually questioning, “does this align to our purpose and vision?”
After gaining organic certification in the early 2000s, Perfect Potion became one of the first aromatherapy companies in Australia to offer certified organic essential oils in the retail space.
Today, Perfect Potion’s largest export market is Japan, where Japanese customers trust that products produced in Australia are clean and natural. Many of these customers also associate organic as the best option for their health, wellbeing and the environment.
“We became certified because organic is what we believe in, in terms of integrity and we wanted our customers to be able to build trust in our products,” Salvatore recalls.
“It’s up to us (the organic industry) to make more people aware of the importance of certification. We have to meet a lot of criteria before we can call a product certified organic and helps to reduce a lot of the greenwashing that is happening in the industry.”
Soon to be celebrating its 30th anniversary of being in business, Perfect Potion is excited to share its story of organic aromatherapy, retailing and sustainability. A perfect way to share this story is in the form of a storybook, which Salvatore hopes will help to tell his own story about the creation of the Perfect Potion brand and his learnings from being in business for over 30 years. The book will also teach readers how to blend oils and create their own recipes.
Perfect Potion is also hoping to create a new anniversary blend and fulfil Salvatore’s own dream of creating an aromatic garden at the brand’s headquarters in Banyo, Qld, to create a calming, natural space where consumers can learn more about the plants where their oils have come from.
“2021 will be a year of sharing our stories.”
Perfect Potion is an Australian, family-owned pioneer in the creation of unique, sustainable, certified natural and organic aromatherapy and skin care preparations. Our vision is to help you, our community, and the environment to flourish by listening to, guiding and reconnecting body, mind and spirit.
Learn more about Perfect Potion on their website perfectpotion.com.au
Photography by Louise Wright