Sara Panton stumbled into the world of essential oils while she was in medical school. Her studies, combined with her travels to Kenya and Morocco, inspired her to learn more about indigenous botanicals and the benefits of natural medicine. From there, Sara began blending her own essential oils and writing about natural self-care practices online. She then went on to found vitruvi with her brother Sean, with the intention of helping other women take time for themselves by creating daily rituals centred around scent.
vitruvi was created out of a passion for botanicals and design—what resulted were premium essential oil products that look as beautiful as they smell. vitruvi is the first essential oils company built by and designed for millennial women and its goal is simple: help you take care of yourself, so you can take on the world. vitruvi products are now sold in 300+ stores internationally, including retail partners like Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Madewell, and Goop—with a special addition launching in Spring 2018.
How did you get to where you are today?
I've followed what feels most like "me." I've listened to the quiet voice that makes me lean into certain topics, industries and activities that light me up. I think it's about finding the topics you still want to explore after hours or late at night—when you're totally exhausted. If you can turn the projects you do in your spare time into your everyday, then it's pretty magical. This is what vitruvi is to me. I created a vision board and became very intentional about the dream of the company and the products I wanted to exist. From there, I worked really hard and sacrificed many things, including sleep, to get as close to that vision as possible.
What was your toughest obstacle and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle has been self doubt. It took me two years after starting vitruvi to realize that making a decision is better than over thinking all the options. Just choosing one path as quickly as possible and moving forward is half the battle.
What’s the key to staying focused & motivated?
When you love what you do, there's no issue in staying motivated and focused. vitruvi is really my dream and being able to work everyday with an incredibly talented team is all the motivation I need. Beyond that, what keeps me focused is a clear vision about the positive global impact we aim to make in the upcoming years. That's what keeps me up at night—in a good way.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Keep things simple.
What advice do you have for someone who is looking to start a new venture?
Stay very focused—learn early on to discern what's truly productive work, as opposed to what's ego-centric, busy work. It's easy to take lots of coffee meetings and to fill your day up with tasks, but true momentum only builds when you identify the few key elements that need to be executed perfectly. This is where the momentum comes from: true grit.
How do we get more women leaders?
I think we have incredible female leaders. I would say that there's a turning point in business, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next decade brings.