Let me tell you a little about Emilee Stewart, my first live aromatherapy mentor and friend.
Emilee is from London, and was inspired to pursue aromatherapy by the Micheline Arcier treatments she recieved in Knightsbridge. She trained at the clinic and got an International Diploma so she could practice in the USA. Having married a soldier from NC, she moved to Raleigh, and opened the first aromatherapy salon possibly in the entire USA during 1974, right after I left Raleigh for Florida. This was pretty brave to go to conservative Raleigh and open a “spa” in a grand hotel downtown. I sure wish I had stayed there to meet her then, but I had moved on. Her spa was cutting edge, and attracted the rich and famous of the city, she has created a wonderful book for her grandchildren and I hope to share it here one day.
By 1986, Emilee had started her business near me , having set up and run the exclusive spa called Private Universe in downtown Winter Park, Florida. I first saw her ad in a massage magazine from our state association and immediately looked her up, and drove over to see her. She inspired my new appreciation of aromatherapy with the best facial ever! She helped me see the work as a “treatment” not just a massage or facial, and shared her oils and blends, products and perfume bottles. I was so delighted to meet a real aromatherapist, and to share what I had found out thus far.
We became great friends, travelling to many of the California conferences and supporting each others’ aromatic journeys. She created her own blends for face and body, had a line of products, and imported rose oil and rose hydrosol. Michael Alexander and I went over to visit her once upon a shipment arrival and we had a blessing ceremony to make it “healing” oil as we opened and decanted it! That was the best rose I had ever smelled before, probably because it was the first time I had smelled the real thing. I cherished it. The smell of Bulgarian rose today takes me back to that time.
She also held a mini conference with Victoria Edwards among others and contributed to The World of Aromatherapy, a collective account of 35 of the women active in Aromatherapy at that time in 1996. Since the early 1970’s Emilee has continued her practice using aromatherapy for skin and body, creating her blends, teaching classes, sharing her knowledge by training many new aromatherapists along the way. she still does a few special clients and recently joined us in St. Pete for the conference. If you come to Winter Park Florida please try to meet her. She needs to be honored as an early USA Vintage Aromatherapy Pioneer!
We attended our first class together in 1989 when Nature’s Symphony hosted a seminar with Robert Tisserand, whom I had met in California at the first American Aromatherapy Association in 1988, and Colleen Dodt, a delightful herbalist/aromatherapist who deserves her own blog page!