Essential oils’ popularity has surged during the past few years, with products launched in such diverse markets as bath and body, fragrance, and even food additives. There is essentially no end to their unique usefulness and this fact is reflected in their market value. In North America alone, the flavor and fragrance market was valued at $7.1 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7% to just over $10 billion by 2020.
The usefulness and personal value of these oils has not been lost on Seamon, who for the past three years has been substituting them for an increasing number of common household products she would normally use. Seamon has adopted this lifestyle in order to improve her family’s health and promote better environmental stewardship through having what she calls, “a healthier home environment.”
“When I started using essential oils, my eyes were opened to the chemicals lurking in our cleaning products, foods, and even medicines, and I decided to start making a healthier life for my family,” stated Seamon.
Combining her interest in essential oils with her passion for knitting, Seamon began weaving a business plan and the result was her debut product, Have A Ball! dryer balls.
“As I was researching wool dryer balls, I saw many articles about how harmful fabric softener and dryer sheet are for people and the environment. In fact, a study of many top brands revealed hazardous chemicals and carcinogens. I read a few articles, cringed and never used another dryer sheet,” explained Seamon.
According to Seamon, liquid fabric softeners contain petroleum-based additives like propylene glycol, which she has been told will damage machines with extended use. She insists that traditional liquids and softener sheets are activated when exposed to heat, like that of a drying machine or hot water, releasing toxic vapors into the air and environment. From there, either one can be absorbed into the clothing and from there is exposed to your skin.
“Our skin is our largest organ, and it is porous, constantly soaking in what is next to it,” insisted Seamon. “Do we want to soak in chemicals and carcinogens from the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list?”
Of course, no laundry detergent chemical is on any EPA hazard list, but you can’t begrudge Seamon her passion. The laundry balls she makes are 100% wool and 100% handmade by special order, with no harmful or extra chemicals added.
Liquids and sheets make up the bulk of sales in the $1.9 billion US fabric softener market, but Seamon maintains her line offers a simple, albeit more expensive, alternative. She admitted that Have a Ball costs more than the $5 and $4 per unit average for fabric softener liquid and fabric softener sheets, respectively, but she insisted that Have a Ball possess several advantages over these traditional fabric softeners:
- Effectiveness – Being all wool, they draw water out of the clothing much more efficiently than do dryer sheets, of which many consumers use more than one per load, thus increasing their relative cost. The dryers balls also separate clothing, allowing air to circulate, thus drying clothes faster.
- Energy Efficient – Because of their effectiveness – drying clothes faster and more efficiently – they can reduce average drying time by up to 25%, saving energy.
- Function – They reduce static, act as a vehicle for introducing scent to the load (with essential oil), and are highly reusable. To reuse, or “recharge,” your dryer balls, simply place each one in a sock and wash on hot, then dry on high.
To utilize essential oils in the load, a factor that really seals the deal, one simply adds a drop or two of preferred oil to two of the balls and reintroduces them to a load of dry laundry, setting the timer for 10-15 minutes on a Low or No Heat setting. Seamon includes a sample bottle of essential oils for each customer to try when they purchase Have A Ball.
Seamon has spent several years trying to make her household safe and free from chemicals and carcinogens that are found in standard consumer products. The result of her passion and interest in this area is what inspires her to share her product with other moms and dads, as well as anyone else out there looking to promote a healthier lifestyle and better environment.
Have A Ball dryer balls are available on Etsy and Facebook for $38.33 as a set of four with one felt embellishment. The essential oils can be purchased at doTERRA.
Currently, Seamon makes every product by hand, and while she would like to take her product to the big box store someday, now is just not the time. That’s because her primary interest is in maintaining quality control by selling through Etsy and select boutique stores that share her interest in natural household products. She predicts that demand for natural products will only increase as individuals continue to seek out healthier alternatives. In time, she plans to add other handmade wool items that will be used with essential oils, the options of which seem limitless and market growth is virtually certain. For now, she continues to tinker with her products; substituting different oils to see what impact they have on the final product. And the demand for essential oils continues to grow.
“I am not alone—many companies are advertising essential oils in cleaning solutions, candles, and cosmetics,” Seamon maintained. “Morning shows and magazines are featuring essential oils in segments on cleaning and disinfecting…Once people start, they are hooked, and, like me, start to realize all the amazing uses found in the tiny bottles of essential oil.”
One thing’s for sure—Have a Ball! is a real keeper.