Depending on your actual growth targets, you can earn big bucks from this activity that you can start and operate by yourself
Capital: For just P4,000, you can buy the raw materials and the glass containers needed to prepare 50 bottles of scented massage oil. This start-up capital would be enough if you intend to sell your products only to your neighbors or colleagues. But if you plan to hit the bazaars, you should put up an additional P5,000 to P10,000 to pay for the rent. You can recover your investment in just a few days.
Materials: You need two basic ingredients to prepare massage oil: base oil such as virgin coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or almond oil, and one or two types of essential oils. You can use cheaper synthetic oils, but Bel Surla, who makes massage oil under her own ISLAS brand, prefers to use natural ingredients. “I want it to be all-natural,” she says. “I don’t want to use ingredients that I’m not familiar with because they might harm the skin.”
To blend the oils, you need a mixing bowl, a stirring rod, and a measuring cup, all of which can be found in your own kitchen. Renz Lavador, pharmacist at the Spa Professionals International Development Center, advises using a glass stirring rod or a mixing bowl made of either glass or stainless steel, both of which are available from laboratory equipment stores. Glass and stainless steel are unreactive and won’t blend in your mixture, she says.
You need to store the massage oil in dark-colored plastic or glass bottles because they can best preserve the quality of your massage oil, says Surla.
Workforce: This is basically a one-person operation, which is what Surla has been doing since she went into home-based business six years ago. A hobbyist, she has been making handcrafted soaps for sale since she was in college. After getting her business degree in 2005, she diversified into making massage oil.
From 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Surla makes soaps and massage oil and makes deliveries to the shopping malls. She maintains a business website and designs the packaging for her products all by herself, asking help from her mother only every now and then.
Process: You should learn basic aromatherapy before going into this kind of business. You can attend aromatherapy workshops such as the half-day offering by the Spa Professionals International Development Center every month, surf the Internet, and read books and magazines. “Keep in mind that aromatherapy isn’t just about smelling fragrant oils,” says Jing Reyes, general manager of Manila Herbal & Essential Oil Co., Inc., a producer and exporter of essential oils such as patchouli and jasmine. “It’s a form of treatment using essential oils.” To learn it, in fact, Reyes had attended several aromatherapy workshops in the Philippines and Canada.
You need to develop your own massage oil formula. To make 100-ml of massage oil, Lavador says, you need at least 95 ml of carrier oil and at least five ml of essential oil. Pure essential oils are volatile and may be harmful to the skin, so use them sparingly. After blending the two ingredients, pour the mixture into bottles and allow it to cure in a cool, dark area for one to two days.
Marketing: Surla markets ISLAS massage oil primarily through her web site here and also joins bazaars, posts ads in wedding-related websites, and consigns her products to mall-based stores. Lavador says that you can also sell your massage oil directly to owners of spa and home-massage service businesses.