Sara
Credit: Brit Gill

Like, how she overcame bad advice from a high school teacher

Sara Panton and her brother, Sean, started a blog and began tinkering with essential oils in 2013. Coincidentally or not, it appears the pair got in on the trend at the right time.

Vitruvi, the Vancouver-based company they co-founded, is one of the biggest aromatherapy outfits in the country, with products in more than 300 stores in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, and fans like Gwyneth Paltrow.

By 2024, the North American aromatherapy market is projected to top US$1 billion, and it’s a safe bet that Vitruvi, which was the first essential oil brand to be stocked by retail giant Nordstrom, will continue to grab fans with its line of oils, mists, roll-ons and diffusers.

We took some time to get to know Panton, who serves as CEO of Vitruvi, a little better.
 
Where did you go on your last vacation?

Quadra Island. 

What's your favourite spot in B.C.?

Bilson Creek Farm in Metchosin (a beautiful lavender farm in my hometown).

What's your most memorable recent podcast, film or book?

I read at least two books each month. I really enjoyed the last book I finished, Little Black Stretchy Pants—I appreciate Chips honesty about entrepreneurship and his very real account of the good and bad people you meet when growing a business. I identified with how self-reflection, great people and an immense of vision are really what it takes. 

Favourite restaurant or bar?

Aleph, Heirloom or The Naam.

What’ts your morning routine?

In this order: Water, coffee, emails for any East Coast issues, Pilates, coffee (again), shower and to the office usually by 8 a.m.

Hobby?

Paddleboarding, reading and anything with my dog, Charlie.  

Favourite quote?

If not you, then who?

Best/worst advice ever received

A high school teacher of mine once told me that university wasn’t for everyone and that I should look into other options. I then completed a global health sciences degree in under four years while working two jobs and got into medical school.

It was during my time in medical school that my brother and I started our company. It has taken me a few years to not be intimidated by strong opinions—I now know that grit and tenacity are the secret sauce, and very few people really have those traits. 

Your worst job ever

Cleaning bathrooms and toilets during graveyard shifts at a local recreation centre where I grew up. 

If you could be an animal, what would it be?

Probably a koala hanging out on a tea tree plant or a panda living in eucalyptus leaves (two of my favourite botanicals).