By Maury Thompson The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "Grillo Essentials" is an all-natural tick, mosquito and black fly repellent made from essential oils. Founder Gina Grillo was recently named one of 43 finalists in the "Score American Small Business Challenge."
Gina Grillo was an entrepreneur in crafts and essential oils for about 20 years, at one point even selling a line of bed pillows on QVC, a cable television shopping channel.
Being diagnosed with Lyme disease set her on a new business path, developing and marketing Grillo Essentials, an all-natural tick, mosquito and black fly repellent made from seven essential oils.
"This is a mission now for me," she said.
Grillo released the product in spring 2016, after more than a year of developing, test marketing, and branding the product, which she makes at a home workshop in Greenwich.
Grillo said she started out with four criteria.
She wanted the packaging to be compact and easy to take along on a daily routine.
"You could tuck it with you and carry it with you. You could pull it out in a minute," she said.
She designed a heavy, glass, light-resistant container with a roll-on applicator.
Second, she wanted the repellent to smell pleasant.
"Finding a repellent that smells so good that you want to wear it was definitely one of my main requirements," she said.
Finally, she wanted it to be all-natural and effective.
Grillo has had success, selling the product online and at the Made in Upstate NY store at The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls; Fallon Wellness Pharmacy and Four Seasons natural foods store in Saratoga Springs; Hulett's Landing Marina in Lake George; and Watkins Nursery in Hudson Falls.
Grillo was one of 43 finalists in the Score American Small Business Challenge, which netted her a $1,000 Sam's Club gift card to invest in her business and an all-expense paid trip to a small business conference in Dallas.
Score is a nonprofit organization of retired executives that counsels small business owners. Grillo now is in the running for the grand prize of a $25,000 Sam's Club card to invest in her business.
If she wins, Grillo will invest the money in developing additional repellent products and educational materials about Lyme disease.
If not, the seminar in Dallas provided inspiration and practical advice on social networking that will help her to reach those long-term goals, Grillo said.