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Enya Lim isn’t your typical entrepreneur. 

At 51, she was a seasoned professional in the financial industry, with over two decades of experience under her belt. 

Yet, a twist of fate, a dash of frustration, and a whole lot of essential oils led her down a completely different path—the path to phytoE, her aromatherapy brand focused on emotional and skin health.

A calculated leap

The turning point for Enya came during the COVID-19 movement control order. 

Working from home, Enya found herself questioning the stability of her corporate career. “What if I lost my job?” she thought. “What next?” 

The uncertainty sparked a desire for a backup plan, something beyond the traditional notions of retirement. 

Another factor came into play—Enya’s allergies to many Western medicines. This pushed her towards natural healing methods, and essential oils emerged as a fascinating option. 

“The reasons above became my motivators, I was looking for a retirement plan with no timeline and an alternative to Western medicine.”

“Thus, taking up a new skill was the way to go and it has been something that I was passionate about, therefore aromatherapy was the obvious answer,” she told Vulcan Post.

Leaving a stable career might seem like a gamble to some, but Enya was no stranger to calculated risks. 

Her financial background has equipped her with a strong business foundation, particularly in planning, problem-solving, and customer-centric strategies. But desiring to start off on the right foot, she went back to school to complete a Professional Diploma in Aromatherapy in 2021.

That only further convinced her that this was the correct future path for her.

“To everyone, it is madness to leave a stable income job. However, I was too passionate to stop there,” said the certified clinical aromatherapist.

The power of persistence

Image Credit: phytoE

Returning to school presented its own set of challenges. 

“Will my memory fail me during exams?” Enya worried. But her determination was unwavering.

She embraced a step-by-step approach, turning a busy schedule filled with assignments and case studies into a springboard for learning. 

“Age is not a problem; the problem is whether we use it as an excuse,” said Enya.

The rewards were immense. Enya gained a deep understanding of aromatherapy, not just as essential oils, but as a holistic healing practice. 

“Discipline is very important when studying part-time, proper scheduling will help balance between work and studies,” she shared. 

Her dream was to become a professional aromatherapist and inspire other women to pursue their passions, proving that career changes were possible at any stage of life.

From formulation to functionality

Enya’s knowledge of essential oils, human anatomy, therapeutic treatments, and blending became the bedrock of phytoE’s product line. 

Each product is meticulously crafted with a specific wellness purpose in mind.  

To further solidify her brand’s foundation, Enya pursued formulation certification, enabling her to handcraft natural remedies.  

Image Credit: phytoE

phytoE’s mission revolves around making the therapeutic benefits of essential oils accessible to everyone. 

Enya started with personal care products—shower gels, hand creams, and hand sanitisers—all infused with essential oils and botanical ingredients. 

Feedback from friends and exposure gained through booth events fueled her passion.

Learning from scratch

The transition from corporate teams to a solo act was a steep learning curve. 

Enya found herself juggling everything from product creation and photography to social media management, marketing, finance, and administration, among other things.

It was a stark contrast to the support network she enjoyed in her previous career.

With a hunger for knowledge, she tapped into the vast resources available online, proving that anyone with dedication can learn.

“From here, I realised that if you want to learn, there are plenty of gurus out there,” she said.

Enya’s message boils down to: Be clear about your goals and perform a thorough risk assessment, especially a financial one. If the numbers add up, then age becomes irrelevant.  

Image Credit: phytoE

She encourages everyone to consider an “active retirement plan”—something beyond the traditional notions of rest and relaxation. Keeping your mind sharp and exploring new passions is key.  

The road ahead

Three years into its journey, phytoE is blossoming. Enya envisions it as a value brand built on a therapeutic focus. 

Positive customer feedback about improved well-being and healthier skin conditions fuels her drive. 

Collaborations with other wellness partners are on the horizon, and Enya aspires to work hand-in-hand with hospitals or wellness centres in the future.

Enya Lim’s story is a monument to the power of passion and calculated risks. It’s a reminder that life’s most fulfilling journeys can begin at any stage and that sometimes, the greatest transformations can come from something like swapping spreadsheets for essential oils.

  • You can learn more about the business here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: phytoE

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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