Get to know Aromatherapy Associates' founder Geraldine Howard.
How many years have you been involved in the spa/hospitality industry?
Almost 37 years.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
I was at the London College of Fashion and met some amazing teachers, and was lucky enough to be offered a great job, learning with some of the real pioneers in aromatherapy, such as Micheline Arcier and Dr. Jean Valnet. That was way back in the early 70's when people tended to think of aromatherapy as rather 'new age,' and certainly only a few took it seriously. However, I was fascinated by the thought of using natural essential oils to improve your wellbeing. Even at college, I was mixing natural ingredients in my kitchen to make beauty products. It was strange, but I believe it was meant to be, and it was a real turning point in my life.
What is your favorite place in the whole world?
An island just off the coast of Florida; it's stunning, absolutely unspoilt and utterly tranquil. A real escape from busy life.
If you could have any profession in the world, other than what you do now, what would you be?
I would have pursued a career in Cosmetic Science, my first passion.
What is your motto or concept that you live by?
Make the most of every single day, and make sure you finish life with no regrets. Also, someone once told me that "after getting advice and options, always make the final decision yourself, because otherwise if you get it wrong it will always haunt you" and they were right.
What is your most treasured possession?
Probably my teddy bear!
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
An intensive massage that leaves me feeling de-stressed and with un-knotted muscles.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Aromatherapy Associates - building it to where it is today, with a team of people who work well together and, I hope, enjoy their work. We began by blending oils in our bathrooms; we are now in some of the world's most prestigious spas in over 30 countries.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Probably to relax more - it would do me good, but I find it impossible!
Care to share any details on family life; i.e. spouse, partner, children, pets?
I was married for 12 years and have now lived with a partner for 27 years.
Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.
My guilty pleasure is chocolate! My favourite shop in New York is Henri Bendels; I think it's really a best kept secret. They have amazing accessories, I could spend all day in there!