Our amazing Creative Director, Carolyn Stubbin, recently featured in the Country Women’s Association magazine ‘Ruth.’ The article, written by TJ Wilkshire, discusses Carolyn’s journey into the world of aromatherapy and how her creative pursuits have impacted Perfect Potion’s unique creative aesthetic.
Scents of Creativity
Meet Carolyn Stubbin, creative director and co-owner of Australia’s leading aromatherapy and skincare company, Perfect Potion.
Words by TJ Wilkshire
For some, creativity is a rare event; it appears in the moment and will not reappear for months or years on end. It can be elusive and not easily tamed. But Boonah-born Carolyn has the constant creative energy that drives Perfect Potion’s artistic direction.
Creativity for Carolyn Stubbin appears when she is discovering something new, when learning ignites the fever of inspiration. This is how she funnels creativity into everything she does, from aromatherapy to photography to running a business.
The Australian owned and made aromatherapy and skincare brand is leading the way in aromatherapy, connecting customers to a holistic lifestyle and ensuring the future of the environment in the process by holding certifications such as Australian Certified Organic, COSMOS, and Cruelty Free.
Carolyn and her husband, Salvatore Battaglia, are the owners and creators of Perfect Potion and have been creating an experience for the senses for over twenty-five years.
Carolyn’s passions may be an odd combination, but it is the blend of aromatherapy, photography and business that makes Carolyn’s artistic direction so unique.
“I’m at my most creative when I am discovering or learning something new,” she said. “I get this adrenalin rush and sparks begin to fly.”
Beginning in Boonah, but now based in Brisbane (though Carolyn and her husband often divide their time between all their Australian stores as well as their Japan ones), talking to Carolyn makes it clear that her love for aromatherapy and photography began in her hometown.
Carolyn recalls her fondest memories of growing up in Boonah where the smell of freshly turned earth ignited her passion for scent, and watching the seasons change the colour of the landscape kindled her love for the visual.
“I love the clean air in Boonah,” she said, “I always breathe much deeper when I’m in the country.”
“And walking barefoot home from school up a dirt road,” she recalls. “It’s so different from walking on a bitumen or concrete path in the city.”
It seems in that small town, the love of sights and smell was ignited. Though, it wasn’t until later in her life that she formally discovered either.
“It wasn’t until I met my husband at natural therapies college in the nineties,” she said, “that I began to discover the array of essential oils available and their benefits.”
Boonah, a small country town in the Scenic Rim, traditionally Yugarapul country, is where Carolyn’s family lived and owned a farm produce business in town.
“Growing up on a farm meant we often had things to do before and after school and during school holidays,” she said. “Whether it was moving irrigation pipes, planting, or picking fruit and vegetables.”
Perhaps growing up on a farm is why Carolyn is able to juggle so many things; she admits she likes to stay busy. Having just completed her Masters in Visual Arts from the Queensland College of Art, Carolyn worked on a collaborative project with Uncle Burragun John Long, an Aboriginal elder.
“We have been examining the intersections and divergences of the stories of our great grandmothers whose histories are connected to the Scenic Rim of South-East Queensland, traditionally Yugarapul country.”
Carolyn’s beautiful photography allowed her to tell a story that lets viewers contemplate their own family stories and in relation to the colonial history of Australia.
Her photography also wonderfully captures the values and essence of such a unique brand like Perfect Potion.
Through Carolyn’s artistic direction in photography, merchandising and other visual inspirations, Perfect Potion has become a company that looks as beautiful as it smells.
“Our shops are a sanctuary for the senses,” she said. “We want people to walk in and feel relaxed and comfortable surrounded by the look, feel and smell of natural materials and natural products.”
“Before we opened our first shop we were selling our products at the markets.” From their doors first opening in 1991 in Elizabeth Arcade in Brisbane, Perfect Potion is now a world-renowned company, leading the way in aromatherapy.
Years later, Carolyn and her husband are looking at expanding Perfect Potion even further and are always looking for new ways to integrate aromatherapy into the everyday person’s life. But it was in Boonah that Carolyn fell in love with scent.
“I remember my mother giving me eucalyptus oil,” she said, “whenever I had a cold, that’s one of my fondest memories.”
Perhaps it is because Carolyn is embedded in the world of aromatherapy that her creativity is so vibrant. She loves diffusing essential oils like mandarin, jasmine, and ylang ylang that promote creative energy. Much like creativity, scent follows her around everywhere, particularly in the form of her and her husband’s beagle, Charlie.
I asked Carolyn if she and Sal always chose beagles because of their strong sense of smell. She laughed and said, “I think unconsciously we may have.”