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Life often throws curveballs, that result in loss, grief, depression, shame, and a myriad of emotions. The key to overcoming is to take action. This is a story of an entrepreneur who took action over depression after two ectopic pregnancies resulting in loss, to start a clean fragrance business.

Kelly Kussman had to overcome deep depression after losing two babies as a result of ectopic pregnancies. Her journey led her to start a clean fragrance business. She is now helping others create memories through scents.

About Kelly Kussman

Kelly Kussman is the owner, designer, and vision behind Cayla Gray, a luxury line of clean fragrances. She started her career in fragrance buying for a major department store where she fell in love with the distinctive nature of scents and their ability to make memories tangible.

Seasons, nature, and scents have always been important and inspiring for Kelly. Scents have always made memories tangible for Kelly.

Kelly’s entrepreneurial journey began after she suffered from two ectopic pregnancies that ended in the loss of the babies. Through these experiences, Kelly realized that life was short and she began working on her business, Cayla Gray.

Action and therapy are what worked for Kelly to recover from her loss. Kelly emphasized that it is important to honor your emotions in a way that works for you. Likewise, the more she shares her story, the more other women open up to her.

Learn more about Tayna Dalton and her interview on The Robyn Graham Show. 

Taking action is key to overcoming

Robyn emphasized that to overcome, whether it is shame, anxiety, or other emotions, we must take action. Without action, we stay stagnant and don’t grow or change. It isn’t always easy to take action, but you can put one foot in front of the other, baby steps, not massive action first, it is gradual.

Kelly took action to shed the life she had before and create something new. One action Kelly took, was journaling. This helped her see things in a new way and to appreciate the tiny moments of life. She began to purposefully see the beauty around her. As she journaled about all of these beautiful things brought Kelly back to scents. Fragrances are what brings her joy.

Learning and discovering were key to beginning her business. She used Google and took classes as well as tapped into her past experience in retail for resources.

Kelly worked two full-time jobs for about 18 months before she resigned from her corporate job in retail.

Scents matter when you start a clean fragrance business

When Kelly is creating, she begins with the scents she loves from her memories. She has created four scents, petals, water, cozy, and hearth. The Cayla Gray scents are related to the seasons.

Petals – the Spring scent, light, powdery, floral. It smells like clean laundry and flowers at the same time.

Water – the summer scent, cucumbers, spa water, and sitting by the pool with drinks.

Cozy – the fall scent, sipping coffee outside on a chilly morning as winter starts to come.

Hearth – the winter scent, a smokey bonfire scent that reminds her of her father.

Once she mixes the scents she sends them off to a fragrance house to clean the mixtures and strip out any chemicals or preservatives.

Kelly wants to have healthy products for her perfumes, candles, and other beauty products that are being created.

Finding the right resources by aligning your values is important if you want to start a clean fragrance business

Kelly has a perfume manufacturer or fragrance house that purifies the fragrances and then sends the fragrance oil back to her. From there, she sends the oil to a perfume fill house that fills the bottles for her. The same for the candles. She has a candle manufacturer who makes candles using her fragrance oils. Kelly started doing this herself but quickly realized that she has to hire others to keep up with the demand.

She spent a lot of time networking to connect with others to see what they were doing and to gain connections to figure out the right partners, those who were aligned with her values.

Learn more about KJ Blattenbauer and her interview.

Integrity is very important for Kelly and she based her partnering decisions on which organizations she felt that she would be able to trust long-term.

 Aligning your values, visions, and passions is a must if you want to start a clean fragrance business

Kelly chose perfumes and candles as her products because they were items she is passionate about. She loves to have a scented candle and the flickering light when taking a bath and is obsessed with fragrances.

Note: When you align your values, visions, and passions you will be able to build a solid foundation for your business.

The importance of purity

Using clean products is important for maintaining health. Kelly realized this when she was pregnant and she learned of all of the things she should avoid. She began to question why she was using products that weren’t clean when she wasn’t pregnant.

The health and beauty industry is very minimally regulated in the United States. Currently, there are only 11 ingredients banned by the FDA compared to Europe, which bans over 1300 ingredients. There are harmful ingredients in a lot of products created in the United States, carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, and other harmful ingredients. It was important to Kelly to have clean products. But even the word clean is not regulated in the United States.

Cayla Gray uses European standards when creating fragrances and products. When purchasing, Kelly suggests starting with the discovery kit.

If you want to start building your business on the right foot to ensure long-term success, download the free eBook on How to Build a Solid Foundation for Long-Term Business Success.

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