‘I had ab­so­lute clar­ity that I had to live a dif­fer­ent life­style.’

No. 1 Magazine - - LIFE & STYLE - www.just­be­b­otan­i­cals.co.uk

Af­ter re­al­is­ing she needed to make some big changes, Gail Bry­den, 46 from Ed­in­burgh, re­trained in al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies and cre­ated an award-win­ning busi­ness. The role I had be­fore I be­gan Justbe Botan­i­cals was al­most my dream job. How­ever, I be­came quite un­well through stress and I think one of the main rea­sons for that was a sense of iso­la­tion. I had moved around the coun­try with pre­vi­ous roles and I had al­ways made new friends. How­ever, I think be­cause I was in my early thir­ties at that point, most of the peo­ple in the team were mar­ried and set­tled down which made it more dif­fi­cult. I think the pres­sure of the role cou­pled with that feel­ing of iso­la­tion was re­ally over­whelm­ing.

Ba­si­cally my en­tire body shut down. I was taken off a plane in a wheel­chair and it took a while to get back to full strength. I had al­ways had se­nior roles in my ca­reer and it wasn’t that my last cor­po­rate role was ex­tra high pow­ered, I think it was a com­bi­na­tion of var­i­ous fac­tors.

What I knew for cer­tain was that I couldn’t put my­self back into an of­fice en­vi­ron­ment, I had ab­so­lute clar­ity that I had to live a dif­fer­ent life­style. I read an ar­ti­cle about how acupunc­ture could help with stress. I re­mem­ber telling my doc­tor that I re­ally didn’t want any form of med­i­ca­tion and that I was go­ing to try acupunc­ture. The acupunc­tur­ist got me back to health in al­most record time and it was him that said to me, ‘this is a real op­por­tu­nity for you to choose again, what have you al­ways wanted to do?’

The first qual­i­fi­ca­tion I went for was in holis­tic mas­sage and that in­tro­duced me to the mind-body con­nec­tion. It was so rel­e­vant to what I had just ex­pe­ri­enced and I think it helped me make sense of ev­ery­thing. I then went on to do var­i­ous ad­di­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions in­clud­ing clin­i­cal aro­mather­apy.

When I first qual­i­fied I took a room at Neal’s Yard as well as a low in­come clinic and I had clients com­ing to my house. I wanted to make my treat­ments as ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble. Now as well as the prod­uct range, I train ther­a­pists as I have now de­vel­oped six Justbe spa treat­ments. They are avail­able at a se­lec­tion of spas and sa­lons in­clud­ing The Gin Spa in Glas­gow which of­fers the com­plete Justbe well-be­ing jour­ney – in­clud­ing the choco­lates at the end.

The Justbe Botan­i­cals range be­gan with aro­mather­apy mas­sage oils. It was evo­lu­tion rather than rev­o­lu­tion, I didn’t set out with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing prod­ucts. The in­ten­tion was to be kind to my­self and find a pur­pose in life that meant I could have an en­joy­able life­style.

The process of cre­at­ing the prod­uct was largely in­tu­itive but I wanted to bring a modern twist to aro­mather­apy. The skin­care col­lec­tion be­gan when I was asked to cre­ate an anti-age­ing fa­cial. I be­gan with a cleans­ing balm and an eye make-up re­mover, which is now my most awarded prod­uct. I con­tinue to hand blend the ma­jor­ity of the prod­ucts with the ex­cep­tions of the choco­lates and soap ranges which are made for me in Scot­land. When I de­vel­oped my range I thought I was only go­ing to have it for use within treat­ments but the first four out­lets I went to all said they would take it. The range has now re­ceived 21 awards which is fan­tas­tic!

Peo­ple of­ten ask if it’s stress­ful hav­ing your own busi­ness but I don’t think life is about hav­ing no stress. I think it’s about mak­ing con­scious choices and know­ing that you’re choos­ing to do what you are do­ing. When you have what you be­lieve to be a real pur­pose, it is a dif­fer­ent sort of drive and now I have cre­ated a life and a life­style that re­ally works and is good for me.

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