A creative pursuit leads to a passionate wellness business.
When Lea Alston was laid off from her job in 2009, she didn’t see it as a tragedy; she saw it as an opportunity to finally pursue her dreams. Scentsuosity was born out of sheer faith. “I wouldn’t pursue it before because I needed the security of a fulltime job, but now I wanted to tap into my creative side,” she says. “Initially, I wanted to make healthy, wellness skincare products using aromatherapy.”
Alston had been studying aromatherapy for years and started selling products online. Soon afterwards she opened a small shop in City Market, and as the business grew, she moved to The Carter Building, where today she sells her therapeutic products and also teaches yoga, soap-making and aromatherapy classes.
However, the name Scentsuosity underscores the key elements of her business, experiencing through scents and the wellbeing that comes along with it. “Aromatherapy can mentally affect you, help with your mood, your sleep, your wellbeing. I want to make people more aware of what they are putting on their skin and how it affects you,” she says, which is an important part of her story. Previously, she worked in the mental health field in the prison system. “I always wanted to help people,” she adds, and now she’s doing it on her own terms.
She says she thrives in the environment of The Carter Building, where an eclectic mix of more than 80 people pursue creative endeavors. “It’s a unique setup of artists with all types of shops,” she says. “It’s a wonderful setting. We do first Fridays and art walks. We mingle with each other like family.”
One of Alston’s most popular classes is her “Soaping, Scenting and Sipping” workshops, where attendees learn how to make soap using essential oils, clays and spices in a fun environment. She serves herbal tea and wine, which adds
to the festive feeling. She says the class appeals both to creatives—those who enjoy crafting and want to learn new skills—and people interested in starting a business. Alston also offers more advanced classes and private sessions for those who want to pursue the practice further.