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Exploring Life & Business with Erica Alford-Bethea of Classy Fragrances 19

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Alford-Bethea.

Hi Erica, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with different fragrances. It has always struck my interest that one perfume could smell so distinct from the next and how smell alone could put me in such a good mood. As time went on, my fascination only grew as I became introduced to other forms of fragrances to include body oils and home fragrances. This captivation ultimately led me to pursue studies in aromatherapy and soon, an entire business was born! As a Certified Aromatherapist and founder of Classy Fragrances 19, I have always wanted to change the world through smell and to make a difference, one pleasant smell at a time.

Classy Fragrances 19 is a company that I built from the ground up through hard work, dedication, and tunnel vision. Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils, provides relaxation and relief through organic ingredients and gentle scents that leave people feeling refreshed and invigorated – quite like how I used to feel as a child playing with perfumes. So, while a business that is centered on the benefit of smell through essential oils may not be the norm, what I’ve learned by starting this company is that many people could benefit from the products I offer. My products help to enhance the sense of smell which in turn helps to alleviate many symptoms related to stress, anxiety or other chronic ailments, to help people to relax and feel better overall.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
By far the greatest challenge that I have faced in starting my business has been transitioning from working full-time for someone else to being self-employed and meeting the demands of my clients as I continue to grow my “side hustle”. For instance, I have found that I have to be selfless and have more strong will that I could have ever imagined in order to balance the demands of a day job and my growing company. But what has kept me going, even when things get hard is that I always want to be remembered by my clients, not because of a particular scent, packaging, or presentation, but because of the difference, I can make in people’s lives. That’s at the center of everything I do – to make a difference in the lives of others, one scent at a time. Also in my opinion, the first few years of growing a business are the most challenging since people aren’t familiar with your brand and you have to prove yourself, but luckily I have crossed paths with some amazing customers who want to learn more about aromatherapy and the wonderful benefits that this line of business has to offer.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Classy Fragrances 19 offers a curated collection of products infused with organic ingredients and gentle scents that leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Combining an array of scents and extracts to include blossoms, peppermint, lemongrass, and citrus among many others we offer safe, globally sourced and complementary botanicals that stand as an alternative when compared to harsher, chemical-based products that deplete natural vitamins and minerals. The company’s core commitment is to deliver products that protect your body, home and peace of mind.

How do you define success?
How do I define success? That’s a good question. In my opinion, I think success is having the ability to pursue your passions and to do what you love every day. For instance, daily I get to feel the excitement that is attached to being able to do what excites me most – creating fragrant oils that heal the body and well-being. This quote from Oprah Winfrey aptly describes the passion and value that I put into my business in this manner: “My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” For me, success is work-life balance, understanding my non-negotiables, working to achieve all of my business goals and objectives, and lastly the positive impression that I can leave with my clients. In my opinion, customers won’t always remember you because your products, but what they will remember is how you made them feel and if you provided outstanding service when they needed it the most.

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