We're excited to welcome the newest addition to our suite of beauty products: Vitruvi! Concocted by brother and sister Sean and Sara Panton, these aromatherapeutic oils and mists each augment a specific emotion or action, such as focus and energize, to empower you throughout your day. To tell us their story, we spoke with co-founder Sara.
Sara: Growing up in a rural community in Victoria, B.C. I completely took for granted the clean air, fresh produce, and community markets that were a common occurrence. Sundays were spent at the weekly farmers collective where we would purchase fresh soap, jam, vegetables, and eggs from the local artisans and farmers.
My mom has always been ahead of her time and never let me use the make-up and skincare products from the drugstore that all my girlfriends used. I was only allowed to wear chemical free natural make-up and organic skincare, but despite not having the cool lip gloss like all my friends I’m grateful that it changed my expectations of what beauty products are and that from an early age I was aware that what I put on my skin was just as important as what I ate. I think growing up in a rural community around plants and natural food created that ethos.When did you first start creating handmade goods?
Sara: Vitruvi was born out of a fascination with scent that developed when I was in medical school learning about the olfactory cranial nerve and the power that scent has on the brain and body. I became inspired by the potential to use scent strategically throughout the day to trigger different changes in my cognitive functioning and emotion and started experimenting with blending my own oils.
Sean (my brother, and now cofounder) and I started a simple website that shared ways to use scent as well as articles that highlighted the rituals and ways botanicals have been used for hundreds of years in cultures around the world. We worked on the website every evening from 9pm to 1am for close to a year, it was our passion project. We joke that the company grew from my bathtub as I would regularly send emails and designed products that set the groundwork for the collection from the bath each evening after a long day in school.
We quickly gained a following and launched our first collection when we saw a need and interest that our community had for a product collection that would allow them to weave the benefit of aromatherapy throughout their days. There wasn't another company making aromatherapy and essential oil products for the needs of the people we related to and so the 'Rituals' Collection was designed and launched as a way to take traditional botanicals and help weave them into the rituals of a modern day.
Interest in the concepts and collection began to grow quickly and I decided to take the leap out of school and focus 100% of my time and energy on the company. Sean left his job and we have been working together and growing our team and collections ever since.What drew you to “your craft”? What do you enjoy most about it?
Sara: Learning about traditional wellness practices and uses of essential oils while studying global health during my undergraduate degree was my first introduction to essential oils. I enjoy the dynamic energy between understanding the science of scent and the art of creating a 'smell' with our understanding of using natural and pure products on our bodies and in our homes.What is your creative process when you’re trying to create a new product?
Sara: Each Vitruvi product is made with an immense amount of intention. The formulation process mixes the science of scent with the art of perfume making. Most of our blends take between 6-8 months to create and use a lengthly research period to learn about each oil and how it has been used traditionally, as well as how it effects different regions of the brain. From there the oils are combined into complex blends using traditional perfume making techniques that combine top notes, middle notes and base notes -- This results in very complex oils that are incredibly unique. Education is a huge part of Vitruvi, each product comes with a card that has an image of the key scent molecule of the blend as well as the science behind why the oils are chosen and how to use the product throughout the day. 6 years of organic chemistry classes have definitely come in handy more often than I anticipated and an understanding of the body has absolutely played a huge part in the creation of the brand.
How did you come up with your company's name?
Sara: Sean and I began researching the history of design and started learning about the first Roman architect Vitruvius who came up with the first design principles. These principles stated that everything designed should have: Utilitas, Firmitas and Venustas; that is, it must have utility, functionality, and beauty. Vitruvius later found mathematical equations for symmetry in plants and flowers that were also reflected in the human body -- This finding resulted in Leonardo da vinci naming the historic 'Vitruvian Man' after Vitruvius.
Inspired by thoughtful design and the connection between plants and people we aim to apply that same attention to detail in the creation of all Vitruvi products: being cognitive to our design principles and that every product we formulate is intended to be as useful and functional as it is beautiful.Any other interesting facts or stories you’d like to share?
Sara: First and foremost we are a company focused on design and innovation. We take a huge amount of pride in how we create our products and how they are intended to be used. All oils used in Vitruvi products are sourced from over 21 countries around the world. We use only the highest grade essential oils and combine them in small batches that are then blended by hand with traditional perfume formulating techniques in our studio in Vancouver. Our packaging is recyclable and our iconic triangle shaped boxes represent the 'change' symbol used in physics and mathematics, an ode to the creating change in our lives when we go throughout our days with intention :)