Orange Blossom Wellness is the perfect name for Jasmin
Bihler’s new business. Connoting freshness, vigor, energy, and potential, it
speaks to both the creation of a novel enterprise and the health and wellness
benefits of Jasmin’s Ayurveda services. (“What is Ayurveda?” you’re asking?
The name was inspired by the design on a borrowed coffee mug. That’s disheartening to marketing professionals like me who often turn to pricey naming and branding consultants.
Her practical approach has moved Jasmin has gracefully and efficiently (at least to the outside eye) through some of the hardest items on the start-up to do list – naming the business, finding the right location, creating and launching a website, and serving the first customers.
First, what in the world is Ayurveda?
Ayruveda is very old. It began in India over 5,000 years ago and is the oldest health care system in the world. It’s the original mind, body medicine and was recognized by the World Health Organization in 1989.
Ayurveda is based on the belief that humans are a microcosm of the universe. Each of us reflects and is a unique combination of five elements: ether, water, air, fire, and earth. Along with personal nutritional and exercise choices, Ayurvedic massage treatments help keep our systems in balance.
What treatments do you offer?
I offer Abhyanga which is an ancient Ayurvedic massage that strengthens and detoxifies tissues, improves circulation, increases lymphatic flow, and cleanses and revitalizes the body. It can also lubricate joints and relieve fatigue. Each massage is tailored to the individual client.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage stimulates lymph production and increases lymphatic flow. It’s especially helpful for post-surgery cancer patients and others dealing with lymphedema.
How did you learn about Ayurveda? Are you certified to practice?
I had heard about Ayurveda and decided to take a 200 hour course at Kripalu. It was intense, very foreign but fascinating. After completing the program I thought I might be an Ayurveda health counselor but that didn’t seem like the right path. I got an email about Ayurveda massage and oil therapy training in Burlington and attended that course. Massage was a good basis for a business and I got certified.
What prompted you to make the leap from a salaried job to self-employment?
When my kids went off on adventures, one to college and the other to the Mountain School, I thought about starting one of my own. I had been thinking about starting a business for a while. A friend and I talked about opening a café but neither of us had any experience in that kind of thing. I didn’t know where to start.
Another vision was to help people make simple lifestyle changes so they could be in the best health they could be. That’s the idea for Orange Blossom Wellness.
But we all need pushes to start something new. My oldest sister died in February and that had some influence. It brought home that life is short. And a friend of mine is a yoga teacher and web designer. She said, “Jasmin, just do it” and that gave me the final nudge.
You’re an experienced, licensed physical therapist. How did you go from traditional Western medicine to a non-traditional wellness?
When I was growing up in Germany, you could get a prescription for massage. You could go to a spa and have the costs covered. It’s not like that now but that approach to health is how I grew up.
I have a solid background as a health care provider. I’m a licensed physical therapist and worked for Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, the Visiting Nurses Association, Cioffredi Associates, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock. With all that experience, I’m able to blend my knowledge of the musculoskeletal and lymphatic systems with Ayurvedic techniques.
For example, I’ve worked with and co-founded an exercise program for breast cancer patients. I love these women and have seen how hard it can be for them to get back on their feet. They’re often scared and don’t know what to do. I understand why regular, traditional massage isn’t a good idea for people with lymphedema and how to use Ayurveda to optimize their lymphatic systems.
You bring a lot of health care experience and credibility to Orange Blossom Wellness. How about business experience?
I’m not a natural business person but when I worried about that I’d tell myself that a lot of other people have done this before me and succeeded. I have normal intelligence. I’m reliable. I call people back. I realized that if I had that and was willing to start the business, things would fall into place.
Things have fallen into place! You only left D-H two months ago and have a fully functional business. How did you get everything going?
I left D-H in June but before that I started putting feelers out on space. I looked at several spaces but they weren’t right for me. When I looked at this space, I knew it was the one for me. You know, when you walk into a hospital you go into a different mode. I always wondered what it would be like to walk into a space you love.
I moved in in July.
It can take months to develop a website. Yours was up and running in weeks.
Well, I wanted to take advantage of my daughter’s skills while she was home this summer. She’s a Studio Art and English major. We built a free site using wix.com. We found a template we liked and looked for a free picture of an orange blossom and went from there. I wanted something that was simple and easy to use and gave enough information to tweak people’s interest.
It can also take time to find your business’ first clients.
I gave 10 free massages to family and friends to meet my certification requirements. When I was ready to see clients, I emailed former co-workers and a few of them responded. That began a grassroots, word of mouth effort to get the word out and I am seeing results. I’m also making connections on LinkedIn and should make a Facebook page. That’s all very new to me.
I’m also training to become a yoga instructor and think thatJa will be a good combination for my clients and business. And I’ll carry a few products so that clients can do more to help themselves than just come here. They can keep up the improvements.
It sounds like you can imagine Orange Blossom Wellness expanding beyond Ayurveda.
I can see something bigger with more people, a place of nurture where people gather to be well. I don’t know what things would come together but there’s real potential for growth.
I feel a real sisterhood in this business venture – women supporting women. I’ve bought things for the office at Zu Zu’s, a woman owned business and my neighbor sold me a small table that she painted for my entryway.
Is there anything on your start-up to do list?
I need a sign! The building is being painted and when it’s done it would be nice to have a sign near the door. And I’d like to get a tent sign to put out by the sidewalk. There’s a lot of foot and car traffic here so that will be good advertising.
Orange Blossom Wellness is very conveniently located at 295 Main Street in Norwich, Vermont. Learn more at orangeblossomwellnessvt.com.
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