A Conversation with Ashlee Dozier, Owner and Founder of Anuket Luxury Apothecary
Hi there, Candace here! I’m a digital media intern here at Anuket and, although you’ll often be hearing from Ashlee directly, I’m taking over today’s blog so that I can dig in a little with some questions to help you get to know the woman behind the brand a little bit better. Creating connection and community is very important to everyone at Anuket so we decided, what better way to connect than to start right off with the nitty-gritty? Ashlee sat down with me for a few moments and it was so incredible to hear her heart and score a few juicy tips for life and business. In our conversation, you’ll learn what led her to Anuket, hear a few of her lessons in entrepreneurship, see how she’s powering through a global pandemic, and find out what is coming next for consumers. Without further ado, Meet Ashlee Dozier: Globetrotter, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Owner of Anuket Luxury Apothecary.
C: When or where did your passion for entrepreneurship begin?
A: I can certainly say that I always had the desire to work for myself, but I never knew what that could look like. It seemed scary and unstable to me. However, after losing my job at the CDC because of budget cuts back in 2013, I realized that even “stable” careers can have their ups and downs. It was then that I decided I had to just go for it!
C: How has that passion evolved over the years to lead you to create Anuket?
A: Anuket is the third business that I’ve started, but only the second that I still own. After losing my job at the CDC in 2013, I was introduced to an opportunity for a virtual franchise with a skincare company and saw that as a great way to start my own business with minimal start-up costs. I learned a ton and have enjoyed that journey. At the time, I was in a relationship with someone who worked in the pharmaceutical sales industry. He couldn’t handle all of the accounts coming in on his own, so I started my second business to manage wholesale pharmaceutical products for national organizations. Before I knew it, I was running two businesses on my own. Unfortunately, I had been ignoring the emotional abuse that was occurring in my relationship, and it only amplified once we began working together. In order for me to protect myself, I handed over the company and moved out of the home we owned together six months later. Because I still had my skincare company, which I was able to work from anywhere, I realized that it was the perfect time to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling around the world. So I set off on a four-month solo trip with a backpack, one-way ticket, and no definitive plan or itinerary. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. It led me to amazing people and places, and serendipitously an amazing product that, little did I know at the time, would later become the basis for my third business and a whole new passion for luxury fragrances. For a further read into how Anuket came to be, check out Our Story on the site!
C: It’s been one year since the official launch of Anuket! Despite the normal challenges of a first year in business, you’ve also been navigating the pivots that many businesses have had to make due to the global coronavirus pandemic. What has been the biggest lesson and the biggest win this year?
A: Pivot is definitely the official word of 2020, and always triggers images of Ross and Chandler trying to get that sofa up the stairs on Friends! :) Our first year in business has certainly been an interesting ride. I’m proud to say though that I started this business all on my own, but I can also say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to not do it all on your own! Once I started leaning on those around me for resources, advice, and feedback, I was able to bring my ideas to fruition quite rapidly. Within one year, we went from a single fragrance product to seven fragrance products, and another two entirely new product categories in development right now. I would say our quick growth and expansion has been our greatest win.
C: What is your vision for Anuket over the next 5 years?
A: I am so excited to continue to expand into additional product lines, without ever compromising the core values of the company. We want to continue to be your favorite brand for safe products that create a luxurious fragrance experience for yourself and your home. Self-care products, home fragrances, and more are already in the works and are expected to be available in stores across the country within 5 years.
C: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I listen to our customers, always. Our papyrus oil has already garnered a loyal following. So when those customers ask for more ways to enjoy the scent in personal care products or their homes, we listen! I’m also inspired by women-founded or -owned brands like Chanel, Spanx, and Uncommon James. They provide motivation and examples of how classy business-savvy women can create powerhouse companies that fulfill a need for other women while also providing high-quality products and a luxury experience.
C: What type of community do you hope to create here at Anuket?
A: Our customers are looking for not only a luxury experience but a responsible company. We care about the environment and use as much recyclable packaging and as few plastics as possible. We care about animals and never test our products on them. We care about our customers‘ health and use clean ingredients with minimal additives. But we also care about unique, high-quality products that can help them feel a touch of luxury in their day to day lives. We believe a company can do all of those things and we want to create a community that appreciates luxury living, adventure, and responsibility.
C: Tell us one random fact that we should know about you!
A: My background is actually in public health. I have a master's degree in health education and worked in the industry for a decade before deciding to work for myself.
C: If you had to pick, would you pick a fancy night out or a pampered night in?
A: While I of course enjoy a relaxing night in, I also absolutely adore a fancy night out. It feels amazing to get all dolled up, wear a fabulous gown, have a glass of champagne in hand, and attend an inspiring fundraising gala or a beautiful wedding. There’s a reason I want our customers to enjoy a luxury experience with our products. I believe it helps to elevate your mood when you feel confident in what you are wearing (both clothing AND fragrance).
C: What does luxury mean to you?
A: Well, the technical definition is a state of great comfort and extravagant living. I love the juxtaposition of those two ideas. The fact that something can be comforting but still extravagant is beautiful to me. When most people think of essential or fragrance oils, they don’t realize how precious some of them are. Papyrus oil, for example, is imported from Egypt and is a precious, rare oil, but the scent provides such a sensual comfort that, at least in my mind, is the epitome of luxury. Hand-selected and hand-crafted fragrances… it doesn’t get much more luxurious than that.
C: You’re a champagne girl! Which is your favorite and what snack are you pairing it with?
A: I enjoy any kind of bubbles. Mumm Napa’s brut rosé is a fabulous bottle of sparkling wine. And if you ever get a chance to visit their vineyards, it’s worth the trip. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy champagne is in my signature cocktail: a French 75. I always order it with Hendrick’s gin and no sugar. Pair that with a cheese board and I’m a happy girl.
C: How many countries have you traveled to?
A: On my solo trip in 2016, I visited twelve different countries in about 16 weeks. In 2019, I took an impromptu trip to Aruba and was able to celebrate visiting my 20th country on that trip. I certainly don’t plan on stopping there though! My bucket list includes all 50 states and an equal number of countries.
C: What are you reading currently?
A: Right now I’m working through a signed copy of Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass at Making Money” that a friend sent me. I’ve also been rereading a couple of Malcolm Gladwell’s books recently.
C: What book or resource has had the most impact on you?
A: My incredibly helpful boyfriend, who is an entrepreneur himself, has been by far the most supportive and helpful resource in my business. But I know that doesn’t help others who are looking for something personally impactful, haha. So for everyone else, I read the book, "The Purple Cow" during a marketing course in grad school, and it has stuck with me to this day.
C: What is one message you’d like to share with the Anuket community?
A: How much we appreciate their love of our fragrances and continued support. As a small woman-owned fragrance business, we are up against some very large brands, so every order, positive review, or referral truly means the world to us! You are helping someone fulfill a dream and we will be eternally grateful for that.
C: We know your first love is Anuket’s Signature Papyrus Oil. Do you have a second personal favorite?
A: While it’s hard to get me to use something other than our papyrus oil as my daily fragrance, our blue lotus oil is also amazing. Both are unisex, which has long been my preference, and both are very fresh, bright scents.
A Note from Ashlee:
I hope you enjoyed today’s Q&A style blog to kick off this exciting expansion into further connecting with our community. In the future you can expect loads of education, luxury lifestyle tips, self care shares, and first to know updates! Be sure to leave us your email and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram so you never miss out on the good stuff!