We took some time to find out what Betty Torres plans for her business, Poetic Potions.
What does your business offer and what are you most known for?
Poetic Potions and I help guide healers and artists with self care needs, so they can be of service without burn out. I’m most known for being an aromatherapist. They’re heart-centered change makers and I’m noticing the focus has shifted from how to use essential oils to how to put one’s work out into the world with love and joy. I was also a regional director of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) for 2 years, which entailed sharing how to use essential oils in a safe way.
What topic did the last training session focus on?
I loved the last workshop with StartUp Mendocino — the focus was planning and self management. I thought I was pretty good at self management, but the class opened and shifted the way I look at running my business. I thought my focus was day-to-day tasks and the difference I make for people I work with, so they can get their gifts out in the world.
What the class taught me was to assess my business in a new way — to look outside day-to-day tasks and look at how the business is running as a whole.
My background is in the nonprofit world focused on community service. What this program is helping me do is help my business evolve in a way I have never known how to do. The paperwork, finances, legal stuff … things I don’t like to do .. .and it’s helping me shift my perspective to see that the other areas of my business are important if I really want to help others do the work that they do and make a positive impact.
The more I stop resisting the changes I need to make in my business, the more I can share with people I work with, so they too see their business as bigger than themselves and the tasks that they do.
If I’m being honest with myself, spreadsheets aren’t fun but it makes me ask myself what I’m resisting. My resistance is starting to shed and see how important it is.
What’s starting to change for you as a result of this business management program?
I do consider myself a creative person and the way that I process ideas is sometimes unconventional. The good thing about that is I’ve created my own way of processing ideas and sharing them. However, they have been inefficient sometimes.
Now what’s helping me stop resisting new ways of running my business is that it’ll help me be more efficient when I come up with creative ideas.For example, I’m turning to a new way of marketing, which I’m now seeing as sharing my ideas and creating a community of people with the same values and purpose.
What role does creativity play in your process?
I am a poet and I used to do performance art about 10 years ago, so that’s why my business is called Poetic Potions. Then I shifted into teaching arts and crafts in afterschool programs, and from there I got into aromatherapy for my own bodycare for healing. I had a lot of fun playing with the oils and creating my own bodycare. I started off making my own belly care and baby products.
My son is now 18 years old, and my business has been on and off throughout that time. I started selling products 18 years ago when there weren’t many products that weren’t harmful for children. My friends and family started asking for some and I loved the creative process, then the farmers market, and then I created my own website to sell online.
I intuitively started making body care products aligned with the moon cycles. I love the chemical components of aromatherapy. They are beneficial in hospitals where nurses are becoming certified in aromatherapy. A side of me was resisting letting me play with aromas. I wanted it to be taken seriously and know the benefits. They are powerful and backed by research and science. But I also loved playing with them and they smell good and are pretty!
I created blends according to the phases of the moon. I’m a spiritual person with my own practices to help me stay grounded, so something I started adding were crystals, and I did this for myself. I’d make a pretty label and add a crystal. I saw there was interest in that so that’s how my crystal-infused potions started.
My products will be back online soon and at the Ukiah Farmers Market, hopefully next month. I’m making sure I’m being creative, and I do coaching and workshops. It’s good to reflect back on why I started this business.
Once I started making more sales with my potions, I started feeling like a manufacturer but I didn’t only want to do the same things over and over. I don’t want to be just a product company, and need to balance this by working with people. I love connecting with people at farmers markets and festivals most of all. I noticed I spent lots of time teaching people to use potions. That’s how I shifted from a products business to teaching courses and workshops.
What’s something we wouldn’t otherwise know about you?
I was a performance artist — my husband is a musician who was in a band Mezklah and I toured with him through Mexico on a road trip, stopping in 5 different states including Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Mexico City – and I got to perform and recite on a stage in Mexico City. He has a new band and is a solo artist performing at the Ukiah Farmers Market from time to time as “Spider Monkey Beats.”
What’s a question I should ask but haven’t yet?
“What are we resisting in changing our business because that’s where it’ll evolve?” That’s what we need to ask.
You do need to be a kind person that people feel safe with so you can push people along, and that’s what I feel in this program — they have our best interests in mind and the teachers and mentors really are kind. I love how they are making us feel and believing in us.
I stopped production when the pandemic started and it was a big struggle. I was home teaching my daughter and son (8 and 16 then) … 2nd grade and 10th grade … and that was really difficult. At the same time, it forced me to shift into the part of my business that I was having trouble getting off the ground, working 1:1 with people and creating courses I can teach online.
I love working with my hands so I miss making potions. I want to balance making products and creating courses.
I make custom blends for people when I work 1:1 and those have higher prices because they are so customized. I want to get to the place where I can balance creativity, fun, and affordable products with a sustainable business.
Also, I completely forgot to mention why I am passionate about the work I do, which is something I call Self Care for Social Action.
Besides having fun teaching people how to use essential oils to help them do the work they do with fun and joy, I also believe that Self Care leads to Social Action.
Many of us who consider ourselves heart-centered changemakers, like healers, artists, activists and social entrepreneurs create businesses with the intention of creating a positive difference in people’s lives, but along the way we give, give, give and burnout.
The work I do is about integrating our gifts, purpose and potential, which is at times considered Self Actualization, with Community Actualization. I call this Self Care for Social Action.
The Madrones is proud to support the StartUp Mendocino 2022 program. Owner Jim Roberts says, “We were delighted to host the reception for StartUp Mendocino and are continually inspired to learn about the ambitions and goals of these local entrepreneurs.“
Connect with Betty and Poetic Potions via her website: https://www.poeticpotions.com and on social media: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/poeticpotions/; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PoeticPotions