Due to a mother’s care for her family members, AD VITAM was born, with the meaning “For Life”. An interview with Ms. Carita Wang, the Founder of AD VITAM
To Carita, the Founder of AD VITAM, “organic” is not enough. She has been looking for the purest and high-quality land and plants which inherit the maximal natural energy. Each drop of AD VITAM pure essential oils is derived from the organic cultivation of independent farmers in south of France, respecting the harvesting and extraction of the natural environment. From a perspective of a mother and with people’s daily needs in mind, Carita, with certified aromatherapists, uses 100% organic essential oils to create ready-to-use and therapeutic-driven blends. Each blend is a key to body, mind and spirit healing. Over the past decade, more than 50 products have been created and they fall into four product lines: For Home, For Her, For Baby, For Men.
Carita holds a Master degree in Finance from Boston University. Amazed by the therapeutical power of plants, Carita dedicated her time to study at Australasian College of Health Sciences and became a certified ARC aromatherapist. In 2003, she founded AD VITAM in order to introduce people to the healing power of essential oil. SpaChina interviews her.
What was your original intention in creating AD VITAM? Why do you target mums and babies?
The original intention was simple: I hope to take care of my husband and babies in a more natural way. Twenty years ago, we went to Shanghai and lived there for 10 years because of my husband’s cement business. The medical system in Shanghai was not the same as that of Taiwan. There was no community clinic. We needed to go to a large-scale hospital for medical treatment. However, the hospital was always very packed as the residents from Jiangsu and Zhejiang all wanted to receive medical treatment in Shanghai.
My daughter has a weak physical constitution. When catching a cold, she often has a fever for a week and often has rashes. I used to give her steroids to ease the symptoms. And my husband, who has suffered from allergic rhinitis since he was little, needs to take anti-allergy pills every day. The side-effect is having acne on his back. And often he needs to take anti-histamine medicine before going to a meeting. As a mother, I am not comfortable seeing my family, especially my kids, taking pills regularly and I worry about the side effects.
The birth of the brand was a beautiful accident. In order to reduce the dependence on medicine and not to go to hospital frequently, I have tried various natural methods to care for my family’s wellness. During a long flight from Taipei to New York, my baby boy suffered from diaper rash and couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t have any balm with me, only a German chamomile bought randomly at a counter couple of days ago. I remembered that the salesperson had said to me it was good for anti-inflammation and skin rashes, so I applied it on my baby boy. Unexpectedly, it helped soothe his symptom. I was impressed by the potency of the essential oils and started to study aromatherapy.
At that time, aromatherapy was not popular. At first, I bought every essential oil I could possibly find on the internet, and formulated oils according to textbooks. Later, I acquired an essential oil fabricated by a small farmer from Montpelier in South France. And I was amazed by its effectiveness. I therefore went to visit the farmer and found out that his plants were growing wild in the forest protection area certified by the French government. It is a century-old farm. And there is no artificial pollution within 30 square kilometers. Even the spring water has therapeutical effects. I started to buy oil from him, in small batches, and I started to look for the purest and high-quality land and obtained long-term supply from independent farms. Nowadays, most of our oils still come from these independent farmers in south of France. This is also why I put French Garden under our logo – to honor the brand origin.
Year by year, my husband who suffers from allergic rhinitis and headaches, and my children have become more and more well. Their immune systems get stronger and are less prone to catch a cold.
And more and more friends have come to me ask for my “secret recipe”. With the encouragement of my husband and friends, AD VITAM was created in 2003, with the vision to do a career that could benefit more people. The brand name AD VITAM is originated from Latin, meaning For Life. I believe aromatherapy is a way of life. I want to bring wellness to the whole household, with the healing power of nature.
As a new brand in mainland China, what are the advantages of AD VITAM in terms of material resources, extraction techniques, healing effects, marketing channels and more, so that it can stand out in the fierce market competition?
AD VITAM is organic, therapeutic, and it is about at-home aromatherapy. Firstly, AD VITAM is made for family and friends. (And our family grows bigger and bigger!) To me, Organic is not good enough; we look for the therapeutic-grade: geographical origin of the plant, the way of planting. And we endeavor to preserve the healing power of the plant in the state of essential oil – as much as possible.
For example, vegetable carrier oil is easily oxidized, and when it does, it has an unpleasant odor. In order to prolong the shelf time of the carrier oil, it is a common practice to refine the molecules that are easily oxidized. But we insist on using unrefined carrier oil in order to preserve 100% of the plant nutrition. All our products are 100% natural, absolutely free of artificial flavors, and free of synthetic ingredients.
Every year, I visit our contracted independent farms and select the most energetic essential oil of the year. Each of AD VITAM’s products is formulated by me and our certified aromatherapist team. With years of experience in aromatherapy, I follow the spectrum analysis to understand the molecular structure of each essential oil, and select safe and excellent curative varieties. With the intention to care for my family, I created the formula for Asians, to solve problems we encountered in daily life – a solution from head to toe.
Each blend is made with at least 5 kinds of essential oil. Its effect is greater than the single essential oil. And consumers can apply them safely and it’s very convenient.
This is what we call at-home aromatherapy.
What is the current situation of mainland China’s essential oil market? Who are your target customers? How does AD VITAM meet the health needs of customers?
The current market and consumer acceptance of essential oils and aromatherapy is much bigger than it was twenty years ago. Although many people still can’t tell the difference between natural essential oils and synthetic flavors, I am very happy that more and more mothers are willing to take care of their families in Naturopathy methodology. However, the increase of demand has also brought large-scale industrial planting that often violates the rhythm of Nature.
AD VITAM is a brand created by a mother. Along the way, we have created more than 50 products, mainly body care, crafted respectively for women, men, and babies. I hope that consumers will use AD VITAM as a natural healing kit. Every essential oil product is a password to mind & body healing. Through aromatherapy, we endeavor to improve physical constitution, enhance immunity system; and rather than rely on drugs, we advocate active prevention.
Could you give us some suggestions on how to differentiate between good and bad essential oils? What have you done to guide the public into deeper understanding of essential oils?
Olfaction and Mass spectrometry analysis are two ways we use to tell the good and bad essential oils. And the soil and variety are the core of essential oil quality. Only by knowing the origin and the nature of the plant can you control the quality of the essential oil. For example, ester molecules are particularly effective for relaxation, and in the lanvender family, Lavendula angustifolia has particularly high ester content and grows only at a certain altitude.
At AD VITAM, we are not playing with essential oils, but looking for plants, finding the most primitive ones. When we visit our suppliers, the scale of the farm is not the focus, the point is how they treat the plants, the soil that breeds the plant, the methods of extraction, and the methods of transportation, there are too many links, we need to trace each of them. This is what we are looking for. We have the ability to tell what is correct and what is not. We make sure that every essential oil we source is correct, and the blend will be correct.
AD VITAM’s acquisition of EU ECOCERT and French COSMEBIO dual organic certification is another self-monitoring of product quality. And for consumers, organic certification can also be used as a general way to tell if the essential oil is good or bad.
To guide the public into the world of essential oil, we use our products as the medium. These easy-to-use & safe formulated essential oil blends lower down the bar for public to practice aromatherapy. We also insist that each of our sales staff at store must be aromatherapist. So we can make sure that advices given to consumers are professional and safe. The brand also organizes offline salon & events – the AD VITAM ACADEMY.
We leverage our professional aromatherapist team & over 20 years of experience of at-home aromatherapy to guide the public enjoy aromatherapy safely and easily.
What is your development plan? What level do you expect AD VITAM to reach in 5 years?
AD VITAM has kept to the strictest standards since its birth. The pursuit of business success and market share is not our core. Our products are simple; the quality is everything. Consumers’ word of mouth and their long-term supports is the core spine of the brand.
To me, the more important thing than business scale is the high quality of my raw materials. Our brand is a gift from Nature. The focus on supreme quality is the equity of the brand and it will always be.
So this is my vision for AD VITAM in the next five years: People who go to the pharmacy for medicines might consider trading drugs for natural therapy. People living in the city can access natural energy through every bottle of AD VITAM products. I hope that fewer kids will be given intravenous drip for whatever minor symptoms. And more and more moms will be happy and more well with the help of aromatherapy.
According to your observation, have today’s spas made sufficient and proper use of essential oil products? How can spas make use of essential oil products in a more multiple and efficient manner?
Spa combines essential oil in bathing, massage, and aroma diffusing. We focus more on its aroma and less on therapeutic benefit. The role of essential oil at SPA is like a strawberry on a cake.
I think the SPA nowadays is more than a massage treatment, but a wellness state of body and mind. Today’s Spa focuses more on result, and combines medical knowledge of aromatherapy, so that essential oils are no longer limited to aroma, but become a body of the result-driven treatment. For example, we use muscle-relaxing oil blend and Physiotherapy in treatment. And in SPA for pregnant ladies, we shall avoid essential oil from flowers.
Could you give some advice concerning the home-use of essential oils? What are the proper and convenient ways to use essential oils at home and gain true benefits from them?
People often say to me, “I know that essential oils are good, but I just don’t have time for it.”
In fact, inhalation is a great way to practice aromatherapy. I always have AD VITAM’s wooden inhaler in my bag, adding 3 drops of essential oil blend in it, and take a deep breath. It only takes one deep inhalation to get the healing power of nature. Shoulder and neck pain often comes with headache. My secret recipe is AD VITAM’s breathe easy blend. I will dilute it & massage the scalp, and use wooden scraper to release tension at shoulder neck.When my immune system is down, I’ll take First Aid oil blend with water and gargle to ease throat inflammation. Recently, it is very heated & damp. So while doing laundry, I add a few drops of Eucalyptus blend. Great for anti-bacterial & anti-mite. And it leaves refreshing aroma on your laundry. I’ll also dilute Sleep Well oil blend with edible corn alcohol & sprayed on the bedsheet when I travel. Good to get to sleep with your favorite aroma to ease jetlag. I also DIY candle and soap with our pure oil blend to get the therapeutic benefit.
In fact, the creation of every AD VITAM’s product is derived from my personal needs. So I really can talk forever on this. I found that when you don’t feel well, there is really no time nor energy to make essential oil blend – even for professional aromatherapist and even so for busy moms. At this time, it is very convenient to use have the product already blended for you. To me, aromatherapy is a way of life.
How do you see the role of high-technology in the future’s wellness industry? Will technology facilitate the development of health products? What changes will it bring to people’s health lives?
Our nose can recognize more than 10,000 aromas. Yet, plants are much more complicated. Each essential oil is made up with numerous molecular arrangements – it’s like a symphony, and many of them remain un-decrypted. This is where technology can cut it. But here, I don’t mean that we want to extract certain molecule, but to preserve them all as much as possible.
Distillation is historically the major way to extract essential oils, but in the process of heating, it is inevitable that some therapeutic molecules will be lost. In recent years, the CO2 extraction method and the cold pressing method helps better preserve the “full energy” of the plant.
The question is: How to utilize technology to preserve the healing power of Nature – completely? And how to utilize technology to avoid the environmental damaged ensued by large-scale cultivation and respect the rhythm of Nature? A better soil breeds stronger energy to plants. And I don’t want to captivate plants – for they are no longer wild and their innate energy will be lost.
Do you position yourself as someone at the frontier of technology or an advocate of pure Nature?
I don’t see myself a pioneer of technology. Aromatherapy has changed me a lot. It taught me how to respect Nature and help me to be enlightened in Nature. I think that in one’s lifetime, we deal with three relationships: people and themselves, people and others, people and Nature. We often focus too much on our relationship with others and accumulate too much negative energy. The essential oil is a medium that help establish a relationship between human and Nature. The healing power of Nature is always there. We only need to open our senses and embrace it & get well – naturally.
However, I also don’t see myself as an advocate of pure nature. My assignment & my talent does not lie in farmland, but to utilize technology to bring nature to the urban city life, and to protect nature with the help of technology.
Recently, I have been working with medical institutions to extract & analyze cord blood at my postpartum center (AD VITAM’s exclusive postpartum center). Our attempt is to understand the most suitable “caring recipe” for each pregnant mom and baby via the help of advanced technology (are they allergic to certain food and etc). And we use Naturopathy methodology, such as aromatherapy, nutrition, SPA and etc. to care for their wellness during the time at postpartum center.