It was 2003. I was doing workshops to teach people how to use essential oils because it seemed no matter how many times and ways I explained it I still heard the question, “But how do you use essential oils?” In my two-hour workshops I demonstrated how to use essential oils topically, via ingestion and through inhalation. When I got to the inhalation part I showed them my diffuser necklace, a piece of clay I’d tied with a cord and wore around my neck, and told them they could diffuse all day with a drop of essential oil on it. The workshop participants wanted one but since the store where I’d bought the piece of clay had closed the only diffuser necklaces I could offer were ones sold by the company whose essential oils I sold.
That was a problem. The company’s diffuser necklaces had the company logo on the front of them. When I looked around my workshops I noticed a few distributors wearing them but not the customers. I believed this was because the customers didn’t want to wear diffuser necklaces that advertised the company; they wanted diffuser necklaces that said something about who they were. (Note: this was why the Rune designs were among the first Terra Cotta Pendant designs we made.)
The only other diffusing option offered by the company was an expensive home diffuser but my customers weren’t willing to make that investment right away. They wanted to try the oils first. I knew diffusing essential oils was one of the best ways for them to experience their benefits. What was needed was inexpensive yet effective diffusers; diffuser necklaces made with kiln fired terra cotta clay.
I went online and did some research. The few diffuser necklaces available were expensive and fragile. One thing lead to another and finally, upon considering the fact that my husband is an artist, we arrived at an idea: maybe we could make them.
We invited our children; Alex, fourteen and Natasha, sixteen, to work with us. This was to be a family business. I recognized this might be the answer to a question I’d asked myself not that long before: how could we put the children through university and at the same time provide them with work so they could earn the money themselves? Maybe this was it!
Alex went to work designing the web site. (Note: WordPress came on the scene in May of 2003, the very time Alex was writing all the code for our first Terra Cotta Pendant site.) Auguste, artist and clay-worker, rose to the task of designing and making the clay pieces. Natasha and I worked on other aspects of the business.
Over the past dozen years Auguste has developed trade-secret methods of making Terra Cotta Pendants so beautiful and uniform it’s hard to believe they are made by hand, but they are, lovingly so. I’ve made the forays, first into Internet Marketing then into social media and, most recently, into YouTube. What a learning curve it was and still is! I enjoy connecting with customers: Nothing makes my day more than a positive comment or a photo posted on Facebook showing someone diffusing with their Terra Cotta Pendant.
What I remember most fondly was how “Team Gosselin” became “Team TCP”. Without the contributions of Natasha and Alex, Terra Cotta Pendants wouldn’t be where it is today. Alex remained our Webmaster even while he was away at university. During his summer vacations he updated the code for the site as needed, adding a shopping cart, a search feature and an Affiliate program over the next few years. Natasha went on to design a few pendants, one a special design for a fundraiser for her university’s Shinerama campaign that won an award for the school. Working with their parents in the business proved to be a valuable experience for Natasha and Alex. Being part of a wonderful team always is.
On a sad note, we lost Alex in August of 2012, a life-shattering loss. We soldiered on. When, a year later, we began to have trouble with the site the task of addressing it fell to me. I was fortunate to have a code-savvy friend, Ashvini, who discovered the problem was caused by the code that was becoming out-dated. He guided me through the process of rebuilding the site. In that process I found Beke, a designer of beautiful WordPress themes. Thanks to his generous, ongoing support we have a friend and Webmaster in Romania and our precious Webmaster, Alex, on the other side, forever a part of Team TCP.
The only thing I don’t remember about the spring of 2003, when we were building this business concept, was how we came up with the name Terra Cotta Pendants. But I do know we were the first to use it: We are the original Terra Cotta Pendant diffuser necklaces. It’s nice to meet you! Welcome to our site!