SCENT OF CARE: A healing legacy spanning generations

SCENT OF CARE: A healing legacy spanning generations

SCENT OF CARE: A healing legacy spanning generations

Julia Cummings thrives on the joy she feels every time a customer raves about how her product soothes headaches, muscle sores, and congestion. She considers it her main motivation, finding inspiration in the difference her products make in others' lives.

“It’s not just about beautiful smelling products from tuberose or gardenia flowers,” she explains. “Scent moves people; it's an emotional thing that heals and is very special.”

Maui Excellent Natural Aromatherapy is a family-run business rooted in Maui's healing traditions, with a story that spans two generations. The company's commitment to community healing is evident through testimonials highlighting the positive impact of their products.

Founded in 1999 by Helen Cummings, a clinical massage rehabilitation therapist and dedicated mom, the company offers one-of-a-kind, all-natural aromatherapy products, ranging from pain management to soothing creams and facial and skin rejuvenation treatments.

Assisting behind the scenes was Helen's daughter, Julia. The family worked together, attending conventions and festivals, where they developed a range of products, including the popular Volcano Oil—a natural alternative for sore muscles.

When Helen passed away in 2017, Julia took up the mantle, supported by her stepdad and lifelong best friend, Amber. Despite challenges, the business thrived, establishing a strong presence in health food stores, boutiques, and online platforms across California, Washington, and all the Hawaiian islands.

The family faced setbacks due to the Maui wildfires on Aug. 8, losing retailers in Lahaina, including accounts at the iconic Pioneer Inn on Front Street. The picturesque street turned into rubble and ashes, hitting close to home as Julia’s close friends lost their homes. The pain became overwhelming, making the road ahead much more challenging to see.

Despite the losses, Julia redirected the company’s efforts into meaningful actions, donating to various causes, initiating fundraisers for the Maui Food Bank and Humane Society, and using social media to raise awareness. They are, in fact, in the business of healing and soothing pain. Recognizing how she could help, Julia set aside personal ambitions for the sake of her community.

While the retail business experienced a dip, the online presence flourished. Participation in events like the Made in Maui County Festival and the Kokua for Maui markets in various islands brought attention and support. Their signature product, Volcano Oil, became a staple for its mint blend offering relief for headaches, congestion, and sore muscles.

Approaching its 25th anniversary in 2024, Maui Excellent looks forward to launching new products, expanding its business, strengthening its branding, and continuing to find retailers. The focus remains on supporting the community and contributing to Maui’s ongoing healing journey. The company aims to grow and give back, emphasizing the importance of coming together in times of adversity.

The tragic events, including wildfires and personal losses, have revealed the strength of the Maui community. In the face of challenges, Julia emphasizes the importance of supporting other businesses, especially women in Hawaii. “There is room for everyone,” she says.

Maui Excellent Natural Aromatherapy exemplifies the power of collaboration, leaving a lasting impact that extends beyond the realm of beauty and fragrance. The real strength lies not just in its beautiful and aromatic products but in the resilience derived from coming together and supporting one another.

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