Obituary: Geraldine Howard

Aromatherapy Associates co-founder leaves lasting legacy

Geraldine Howard, Chairman and Co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates sadly passed away yesterday after a long illness. She had been fighting a rare form of eye cancer since 2012.

Howard studied Cosmetic Science and Beauty at the London College of Fashion in the 1970s and trained with Micheline Arcier – one of the early pioneers of aromatherapy – alongside Aromatheraphy Associates Co-founder Sue Beechy.

Howard and Beechy co-founded Aromatherapy Associates in 1985. They orginally blended their formulas and offered treatments from a flat in Fulham. The small business soon expanded, with early high profile clients including Princess Diana.

In 2009, financial investor Ian Richardson purchased a majority stake in the company, which by then had an annual turnover of £3m. Now more than 30 years old, Aromatherapy Associates is a highly respected brand. Its products are available in 40 countries and through retailers including Liberty and FeelUnique. The company also runs its own Boutique and Treatment Rooms on Montpellier Street in London.

In 2013, Aromatherapy Associates launched Inner Strength, an essential oil created by Howard specifically to help her during cancer treatment. One tenth of all the proceeds from the sale are donated to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation. The charity is working on a new cancer vaccine treatment, which Howard herself participated in a trial of. Aromatherapy Associates commented: “It is a testament to Geraldine that even in the midst of her personal struggle, she found a way to help other people.”

Celebrated for her contribution to the wellness and beauty industries, Howard was often called upon as a panellist, writer and speaker. In November last year she was awarded a CEW Achiever Award and picked up the Leading Woman in Wellness Award at the Global Wellness Awards.

In a statement, Aromatherapy Associates said: “Geraldine’s philosophy was to treat people well, always be fair and live a full life with no regrets and having spent much of her career educating people, she is known across the globe for her kindness, generosity and incredible passion.”

The company also thanked its colleagues and associates for supporting Howard over the years. It said: “Geraldine has always credited a huge amount of her success to the people who have surrounded and supported her over the past 30 years and for those people she was eternally grateful.”

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