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Making scents of jewelry

Technician spends quality time with wife running aromatherapy business.

Ophthalmic professionals often follow unique and unexpected career paths. For me, it was the transition from auto mechanic to novice ophthalmic technician to lead technician who happens to sell aromatherapy jewelry as a side business. Let me explain:

My career in aromatherapy began as a hobby to share with my wife, Pamela. She and I already made jewelry together, as a way to spend time with each other after work — me as a lead ophthalmic technician at Carolina Ophthalmology Associaties, in Chapel Hill, NC, and her as a preschool teacher.

At the same time, Pam was also investigating aromatherapy to help her calm down after stressful days at her job. The aromatherapy had a secondary benefit: we have a lot of pets — two dogs and five cats, all rescues. We love them all but they don’t always smell the greatest.

During our research, we learned about jewelry that could discreetly carry scents. We experimented with different scent blends and made some for our family and friends, who were very impressed. We decided to share the jewelry with more people, and MyAromas2Go was born.

Made by hand

MyAromas2Go has now been in business a little more than two years. On the weekends and after work, Pam and I sit down and make bracelets, necklaces, and candles, similar to what we did when this was just a hobby.

To make the jewelry, we use a pair of spring-loaded tweezers, similar to the jeweler’s forceps I use in the ophthalmology clinic, to place the beads on a thread. It can be challenging and time-consuming.

Our biggest sellers are the bracelets; most use durable, porous stones, such as lava beads, that allow essential oils to soak in and carry a scent. The scent usually lasts for a day or two, and the stone can be “refilled” later by bathing it in whatever scented oil the wearer desires, includng essential oil “blends” that we sell.

The aromatherapy benefits depend on the scent. For instance, I find lavender and chamomile have a calming effect on me, so I’m drawn to those scents. Other people find scents to help them relieve anxiety, headaches, or breathing trouble. We sell our wares at farmer’s markets and craft fairs, and donate 10% of all sales to support the adoption of shelter animals.

Daniel Miller, COA, lead ophthalmic technician at Carolina Ophthalmology Associates, spends his free time making aromatherapy jewelry for MyAromas2Go.

I never pictured myself in ophthalmology

I first started working in ophthalmology 11 years ago when, between jobs as an auto mechanic, I took my great aunt to an eye exam at a clinic in Chapel Hill. I mentioned to her doctor that I was looking for new work and he got me an application to work as a technician. I never pictured myself in ophthalmology and had no experience, but I took this as a sign. I got the job and the first two weeks were very intense as I learned just how complex the eye really is.

One critical skill both at the clinic and at MyAromas2Go has been having good “bedside manner” ­— being attentive to patients and what they want has improved my abilities as a salesman. You want to teach people about your products and why they’re useful without coming across as pushy.

I even used my aromatherapy skills at my clinic recently. My office manager likes to do team-building exercises and one year she asked if any staff could volunteer any activities. With the help of Pam and I, my co-workers designed and created their own aromatherapy bracelets. Everyone made something unique, and it gave my wife and I the idea to start offering private “bracelet parties” to customers. OP