Even before women broke into the world of business, they were innovating — take for example the invention of the aquarium, the paper bag, the dishwasher and Kevlar, all of which were innovations brought on by women.
Today, Angie Pettro’s own innovative mind is what she credits much of her success to. Though she laughs when referring to herself as such, Pettro is the president and CEO of her own company, which has for almost three decades been producing variations on an aromatherapy product she named Spazazz. According to Pettro, Spazazz was the first aromatherapy spa and bath salt ever produced, which she introduced into the market in 1993 while living in Southern California.
“We were filling this swimming pool, and we wanted to get a hydrotherapy hot tub as well. We did, and then…the chlorine,” Pettro hesitates: “I am sorry, you know, the chemical smell?”
Pettro says she immediately sought a solution. With the help of a local chemist, Pettro created what she believes to be the first ever aromatherapy salt base. “And then I labeled it ‘a crystal to soak in with Epsom salt and magnesium.’ That way, we were able to make a therapeutic blend, as well as one that smelled really good, so you wouldn’t have to smell the chlorine or bromine.”
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From there, Pettro took her concoction to trade shows, where she was typically among the only female business owners. Initially, she says, the response was not encouraging.
“[I was] quite naive when I walked in,” Pettro admits. “It was all men, and nobody really was familiar with aromatherapy back then. They were like, ‘Are you the medicine lady coming through town?’ ”
All that changed when a small retailer called Bath & Body Works opened in New Albany, Ohio, and began gaining worldwide attention. “The men were suddenly getting educated by their wives or significant others about how orange is energizing, lavender is relaxing, etc.,” she says, “and we kind of took off after that.”
Today, there are countless aromatherapy bath salts on the market, which means competition can be fierce, but Pettro says nothing can stop her from finding new ways to innovate.
In more recent years, Spazazz has developed a spa bath bomb as well as a line of CBD products that came out during the height of the pandemic. “We will keep on pioneering and being the first to come out with new ideas,” Pettro says. “We will keep being the leaders in the aromatherapy hot tub industry.”