Twenty-six years ago, Jean-Pierre and Kate Ross LeBlanc married. Shortly after, they also wedded their two passions—service and retail for her, wellness and healing through natural ingredients for him—and birthed a thriving business, Saje Natural Wellness. Their daughter Kiara, born just two years prior to the founding of Saje, is now its creative director. The family and business are headquartered in B.C. Keeping Saje local is important to Jean-Pierre and Kate; native to Montreal and Toronto respectively, they migrated west over two decades ago.
At the time, Jean-Pierre was living off a cocktail of painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories to treat a painful case of whiplash following a motorcycle accident. With each pharmaceutical, his health worsened. “My stomach gave out, I had chronic pain and fatigue,” he says. Desperate for an alternative treatment, Kate encouraged him to attend an upcoming symposium on Traditional Chinese Medicine that she heard about on the radio. “Among other things, I learned that the Chinese have used herbs to treat illness for thousands of years,” says Jean-Pierre. There, he was introduced to the benefits of essential oils—the potent liquid distillate of herbs. He and Kate flew to Europe, and over the course of a year, practiced how to blend different varieties of herbal concentrates into natural remedies. In Provence, they researched and worked alongside PhDs. In England, they mastered advanced application techniques. Jean-Pierre became a certified aromatherapist and shortly thereafter, he says, “I started to heal myself.”
Today, Saje has grown from a small assortment of essential oil blends to a diverse collection of remedies to treat anxiety, insomnia, heartburn, and skin conditions. Other blends are designed to boost relaxation, energy, or mental awareness. Peppermint Halo, with lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint, eases migraine headaches by promoting muscle relaxation, as well as blood and oxygen circulation to the brain.
Most of the essential oils found in Saje products are steam-distilled, a process that captures herbs within hours of harvest. The distillation takes place wherever the plant is indigenous—lavender from France, lemons from Italy—and then the oils are imported to Kelowna for blending. In more recent years, experimentation has yielded products such as soaps, lotions, and candles. Saje perfume, for example, is blended solely from fragrant essential oils, and each is paired with a different gemstone rollerball depending on the scent’s designed benefit. Yoga, a floral, earthy fragrance intended to elevate calmness, is matched with an amethyst, which is said to nurture wisdom and awareness. “You can use our products to relieve symptoms if you’re feeling unwell, but if you’re not sick, you use them to feel uncommonly great,” says Jean-Pierre. “We’re all about helping people feel better naturally.”
Images courtesy of Saje Natural Wellness.
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