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How Aromatherpaist Sam Clarke Turned Passion Into Purpose

Aromatherpaist Sam Clarke
February 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

Introduce purpose into your self-care

This month we caught up with Sam, local entrepreneur and head of aromatherapy company Bliss Therapies. Together, we look at what it takes to run your own business, her journey into aromatherapy and how we can introduce purpose into the pampering products we buy.

At this time of the year it’s important to take time to look after ourselves, especially considering the longer nights and cold weather which take their toll on our wellbeing. As a result, more and more of us are investing in dedicated self-care routines, something local businesswoman and qualified clinical aromatherapist Sam Clarke knows all about. Based in Slaithwaite, Sam is the owner of Bliss Therapies.

Sam’s journey to establishing Bliss Therapies has been a long and unique one. ‘I’m actually Huddersfield born and bred but moved away pretty much as soon as I could,’ she tells us. ‘In 2006 I was working as a training manager for a skincare company and I’d set up a training centre in Leeds for them. That involved a three-hour commute so I decided I was going to sell my house and look for something in Leeds.’ But after selling her home, Sam took a leap and used the money to travel instead. ‘I gave up my job, handed my notice in and used some of the money from my house sale to go travelling. The excuse for doing this was I would go and do some training. So I went to Sri Lanka to learn Ayurveda, I went to India to learn Indian head massage and I went to Thailand to learn lots of different types of Thai massage.’ Having had a passion for wellness since her school days, Sam had already completed specialised training in aromatherapy and massage technique in the UK. It was meant to be a short trip, but Sam ended up staying and training in Thailand for six years, and in this time refined her technique (as well as setting up an elephant conservation camp).

Returning home, and after the birth of her son, Sam began to provide treatments again and found herself enjoying making products for friends and family. ‘With the products, I’ve kind of always made them, you know? I was making them for customers and that was pretty much it. It was very twee looking, definitely very homemade.’ Then, like for so many small businesses, the pandemic turned everything upside down. ‘Overnight like a lot of people I lost my income, so I very quickly set up an Etsy shop and started selling my products on there and it just took off,’ she says. ‘When we could go back to work after the pandemic I had a bit of an idea in my head to make the product a little bit more of what I do. So I had proper branding done with a graphic designer, and a website built.’ 

Although the venture was doing well, Sam found herself stretched thin between balancing the treatments she’d always done, and the growing success of her new product line. ‘I gradually realised that actually this is what I really like doing. So in July last year [2022] my son was starting high school and it seemed like a good time to change. So I stopped the treatments and went fully into the product side of the business.’ With the business now offering candles, oils, diffusers, and accessories, it has gone from strength to strength.

Aromatherapy is a term we have all heard at some point or another without necessarily knowing the ins and outs of what it is, whether we are buying gifts for loved ones or booking in a much-needed treatment. We ask Sam, who is clinically qualified as an aromatherapist, to catch us up on how it works and what the benefits are. ‘So aromatherapy literally means therapy through smell, using essential oils’, she tells us. ‘When you inhale one of these essential oils, they penetrate to the olfactory in the brain which is right next door to the memory part of your brain, which is the hypothalamus. So with these oils, they alter the emotional centre of your brain, the emotional part of your brain. It really has an effect on our moods and our emotions. That’s the main way we can benefit from them.’ Sam also clarifies that as well as affecting our emotions, the molecules of the essential oils also enter our bloodstream to create a physical effect when applied to the skin.

‘All my blends that I’ve made have been researched and developed because there was a need for them’

As with many new businesses, the challenge Sam faced with Bliss Therapies was standing out from the crowd of her competitors. Sam feels that Bliss Therapies differs from other aromatherapy businesses like it thanks to its built-in purpose. ‘For me, all my blends that I’ve made have been researched and developed because there was a need for them. So my baby range I made when I had my baby because I couldn’t find anything that did what I wanted it to do, and then if I did, when I actually looked at the ingredients, I didn’t really want to put them onto my baby.’ Some of Sam’s blends have been made to meet the needs of friends too. Sam’s yoga teacher approached her with a very specific blend in mind. ‘The empower blend was when she was starting to teach aerial yoga, where they’re up in the hammocks, with the big strips of silk that they wrap around themselves. She wanted a blend that would make people feel courageous and brave and would help to take away the fear. Every single blend has come from some kind of need.’

With a career that has taken Sam all over the world, we ask her what it is about Yorkshire that draws her in and she tells us about the unique folklore of Slaithwaite which has inspired her branding. ‘Smugglers used to rake things out of the canal that runs through the village centre,’ she tells us. ‘One evening they were apprehended by the police so they pretended that they were raking the moon out of the canal instead. Every year, Slaithwaite celebrates and calls them the Moon-rakers and every two years there’s a big parade through the village. People spend the two weeks before the parade making big paper lanterns and we put them on long bamboo sticks for a huge parade that goes through the whole village at night time.’ This moon imagery has been beautifully incorporated into the Bliss Therapies branding, something Sam felt very strongly about. ‘It’s the biggest thing I think the village would be known for, certainly locally.’

Sam certainly has no intention of slowing down and the new year brings big aspirations for Bliss Therapies. ‘I think now, more than a year and a half into the product business, I’m starting to see what’s popular,’ she tells us. ‘It’s really fine tuning it to make sure that nothing is surplus.’ Maintaining a business that is not only successful but also sustainable is another priority for Sam. ‘I really look at the oils and if an oil isn’t that sustainable, (such as rose wood as rose wood trees take a really long time to grow and certain sandalwood does as well) it’s about looking for an alternative.’ This is not the only priority for Bliss Therapies either. ‘The big thing that I’m looking forward to is that I’m moving into a new workshop which will make life so much easier. I’ll be able to buy things in bulk and I won’t have boxes everywhere at home. It’ll be nice to be in a proper workshop in the village where people can come and see me as well.’


What product can you not live without?
My pain relief balm.

Tell us a hidden gem in Yorkshire?
My sanctuary is Sass Yoga and Wellbeing, in Marsden.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
It would be to go for it, to have the confidence. Be more like that person who just went travelling and went off and just did it.

For more on Bliss Therapies, visit

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