In Conversation with Danielle Kimmel
This week, we sit with Danielle Kimmel to chat about wellness, essential oils (she specializes in the doTERRA line), and balancing a career with family life.
We’re bringing Danielle into the fold because she’s a wellness specialist. We’ve talked a lot lately about turning vulnerability into empowerment, wielding it to create a positive social impact through our work. And here’s the thing. Our capacity to do so is tied to our well being. I definitely tune in better when I’m nourished or my head doesn’t hurt. And you have shared the same. So here we are, creating space to take care of ourselves, in order to sustain our strength.
Danielle is knowledgeable and open. You’ll hear about oil blending, getting over the fear of public speaking, concrete solutions for your everyday health that are easy to implement, and so much more.
Theme Music: Ben Tyree
Producer: Leslie Askew
Oil blends discussed
Six (6) drops each of Onguard and frankincense in a rollerball and fill the rest with fractionated coconut oil. Roll on the bottom of the feet once daily to boost your immunity.
- Six (6) drops each of peppermint and frankincense in a rollerball with fractionated coconut oil. Roll on back of the neck, pulse points behind the ear, and wrists for an energy boost.
- Four (4) drops each of wild orange, bergamot, and frankincense in a rollerball with fractionated coconut oil. Roll on back of the neck, pulse points behind the ear, and wrists for an energy boost.
Mix 4 to 5 drops each of Serenity, Balance, and Vetiver and fill the rest of rollerball with fractionated coconut oil. Roll on back of the neck, pulse points behind the ear and wrists, 15 minutes before bedtime, or when you are feeling anxious or very stressed.
You can find these blends in the doTERRA line. For more information about oils and workshops, reach out to Danielle here.
Transcript, edited for length and clarity
Ioana: Welcome, Danielle. I’m so happy that you’re here. Before we get into the nitty-gritty and all the goodies that you concoct, let’s give a little bit of context. Tell us how you got into essential oils in the first place.
Danielle: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
I’ve always lived a healthy lifestyle. I was into sports when I was younger. I was always active and then obviously when I was a teenager, and in my early 20s, I wasn’t as into it. Over the years, I’ve just become much more accustomed to what my body needed, what I was missing, how what I ate, and used changed how I was feeling. And about three years ago, I read a book called Healing Psoriasis, which I have and which is an inflammatory skin condition. The book really emphasized the importance of putting clean foods into your body, clean products on your body, lessening your stress, going to the chiropractor, really a very broad healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t just one specific thing. So I started eating healthy. I brought healthier stuff into the house for myself and for the kids. And at the time, I met somebody who was using and selling essential oils, and she introduced me to certain ones that can help me with psoriasis.
I’m not anti-Western medicine, but I was getting light treatments, I was putting all these cortisone creams on my body, and it was expensive and time-consuming. It was masking the problem, and I thought there must be a way to change it from the inside out. So my sister gave me the book [ she had never read it, which is pretty funny], and I was very inspired. I did tweak some stuff, but it really woke me up to like, “oh my God, I can actually take control of my own health.”
Ioana: I imagine that there was a moment when you became more in tune with what your body was going through. Can you talk about what that moment was like? Were there certain conditions that enabled you to take that pause?
Danielle: I’d had a lot of physical issues related to growing up in a house with divorced parents, being on my own at a young age, getting married very young, really not knowing what I was doing. I always had a bad stomach. Digestion is a big issue for a lot of people, and it’s related to a lot of skin things, which I never knew before either. So I’d just thought I had a sensitive stomach and, you know, certain things bothered me. But I didn’t realize how much of that was physical and emotional until I got married.
I had my first child, and I was really struggling to find myself amongst all this. And I think actually moving out of the city and into the suburbs is when the moment came that I realized that if I’m not happy with certain things, I can change them.
Ioana: Do you think there’s something about the quiet and the space that allowed you the room to think?
Danielle: I think so, because when I lived in the city—I loved it—but there was a lot of noise and stress and people. I didn’t realize that until I moved out. Now when I go back, I totally feel it. I think it’s also spending more time outdoors.
I had two young kids in the city. They were 4 and 2, and going anywhere with them was so stressful with the double stroller. Once we moved and we could just go outside and breathe the fresh air, it became more comfortable, and I was able to navigate everything a little better.
Ioana: Once you had that space to be more in tune with what was happening within you… Walk us through your discovery.
Danielle: The book Healing Psoriasis is what did it, I have to say. It’s an old book. Fifteen years old. A lot of the foodstuff is totally outdated. It’s the 90s low-fat diet, which I knew I wasn’t going to do.
I was also introduced to oils. I bought a large kit because I wanted to try a lot of different stuff. I wanted vitamins, cleaner shampoo, and conditioner… It took me a while to actually use it all. But when I started, I was like, “Oh my God, this is amazing. If I have a headache or my kids have a headache, I actually have something that works and is healthy for the body.”
And I realized I had to share it with people. When I started, I had to get over a lot of personal humps like speaking in front of people, which I was terrible at. I mean, I wish I had the first few classes I did on video, they were bad. So I had to get over putting myself out there. It’s not my personality. It made me grow so much to have to work on things. And to see that you can change things. If you’re not a good speaker, take a look at yourself in the mirror and practice a hundred times, speak to yourself, record it, watch it. You know, we all think if we’re not good at something, we just shouldn’t do it, and it’s not the case.
Ioana: What you’re saying is so awesome. We can all relate to feeling scared about doing something. And I agree with you that even though we’re afraid to do something, maybe we should lean into it a little bit harder, you know? Can you slow down a little bit? Because you started to go into the tactics that you use so that you could deliver help to people you cared about.
Danielle: Okay, so it was twofold. Firstly, it was realizing that when it comes to selling things, it sometimes feels, in the beginning, a little like you’re selling yourself. I did a lot of mindset work and saw that I’m actually helping people. In the beginning, I was self-conscious because oils are expensive. But so is medicine. So is going to the doctor. There are a lot of costly things, and they’re so good for you. So, it was changing my mindset to realize that I’m providing a service for people.
And to get over public speaking, I really worked on it. I’ve done work before where you look yourself in the mirror. You talk to yourself. It’s very awkward in the beginning, but I do find that if you really uncover what it is about it that’s bothering you, and you really do it –that’s the thing– you have to put yourself out there. Because the more times you do it, the more comfortable you get with it.
And most people are not natural public speakers. Some people are, but most people are not. It was really just practicing it. And before I’d go to class when I was driving, I would say the lesson out loud to myself in the car.
Ioana: And these are essential oil classes that you were teaching.
Danielle: Yes. In the beginning, I knew the people, but I’ve since gone to homes and taught people I didn’t know. It was good that I started at my house with my friends. It was comfortable. And then going and training people in all different places and walks of life. It’s incredible the diversity of the people that I’ve shared oils with.
Ioana: I imagine this work has allowed you to meet so many interesting people.
Danielle: Yes. Exactly. And I realized that all different types of people struggle with the same thing. You know?
Ioana: At the baseline, we’re human.
Danielle: Exactly. Even though we don’t all look the same or act the same. We’re all human beings.
Ioana: Talk to us a little bit about what you’re teaching.
Danielle: I teach how to bring more natural products into your home and how to use essential oils aromatically–which most people know about– for emotional benefits and other benefits as well. And then how to take individual oils and mix them to gain more benefits.
I teach what oils are suitable for, how to use them safely, and how to mix them for specific purposes. If you go into Whole Foods and buy essential oil, nobody is there to teach you how to use it. There’s a lot of information on the internet, but there are lovely recipe books I use to help whatever’s bothering you at the time.
Ioana: What are some common conditions that you’re seeing?
Danielle: Sleep is a big one. A lot of people have sleep issues, and there’s really not a lot of ways to help that, besides taking sleeping pills, which nobody wants to take. Stress is another big one. Stress and anxiety come along together. Energy, digestion, and immunity. Either, you know, people themselves get sick a lot, or their kids do. I would say those are the most popular and then people who are a little older, it’s arthritis, menopause, stuff like that.
Ioana: I imagine those things are interconnected, or they can be, right? If you’re really tired all the time, you’re opening yourself up to other issues as well.
Ioana: Can you give us a few concrete solutions? Let’s say, how would a person who is traveling a lot use oils to feel more energized?
Danielle: Sure! I’ve helped a lot of people who travel and have jet lag to boost their immunity. There are specific blends that you can use, like frankincense and Onguard. Lemon is good for immunity, so is tea tree. Preventatively, you can boost your system before and while you’re on the road.
For energy, it’s twofold. Firstly, you want to make sure you’re sleeping. Lavender, cedarwood, and frankincense help you relax. Oil blends like Serenity, Balance, Vetiver are perfect for that as well. And to boost energy during the day, use citrus oils, like wild orange and lemon, as well as peppermint and frankincense. Frankincense is one of those oils that you use for immunity, energy, and sleep. It’s literally the king of all the oils.
Ioana: You know what I do? I have oils by my bedside, and at the end of a long day, I take a sniff to relax. The effect is immediate.
Danielle: Yeah, they work very quickly, technically within 15 minutes. But yes, some people like to use them on their body and even inhaling them has the same benefit. So it’s an easy way to help yourself with whatever little tweak you need at the time.
Ioana: Yeah, totally. And if you were to travel a lot, let’s say you’re a musician and you’re on tour, or you’re doing a book tour or something like that. How would you do this on the go?
Danielle: When you use oils topically, it’s easy to make travel roller balls. You should always dilute the oils. They’re powerful, and when you dilute them, your body absorbs them better. So you can make little rollerballs. I have them at home, and they’re always ready to go. It’s much easier to use oils this way. You can make a roller blend that says “energy,” you can make one that says “sleep,” you can make one that says “immunity.” And then you could just grab it and roll it on. It’s super easy and quick. You need to make things easy because nobody’s going to use something that’s not.
Ioana: And you use oils in your food?
Danielle: Yes, I use them in my cooking. It’s really amazing to infuse olive oil with different essential oils like rosemary, basil, thyme, marjoram. It gives it such a strong flavor. Essential oils are a lot more potent than most of the herbs we get.
The taste is amazing. You can use oils for vegetables, meat, chicken, and I also use them in baking. Like lemon, peppermint, wild orange. I’ve tried lavender in baking as well.
Ioana: Maybe it’s the oils that you use because I tasted your infused orange cookies, and they were very flavorful, but not nothing about that was fake.
Danielle: Exactly. That’s a great point. When you’re ingesting oils, you need to make sure they’re a hundred percent pure. The FDA doesn’t regulate the market. A lot of oils have fillers and chemicals, which is terrible because you’re ideally using them to be natural.
That’s another thing. If you are going to cook with essential oils, you want to make sure they’re pure, and from a company that tests their product and publishes the results, so you can properly evaluate it.
Ioana: You know a lot about this stuff. How do you carve out the time? You are raising four children, teaching workshops, and now growing your business with these unbelievable baked goods infused with essential oils. You are all about wellness, how do you balance your time?
Danielle: I do make sure to take care of myself. I have, thank God, a lot of energy, so I try to pack a lot into a day. I make sure I exercise, that’s a time I can relax and shut off my mind. I try to get enough sleep, and when the kids are in school, I work. When they come home, I pause my work because I want to be present for them. That might mean that eight o’clock rolls around and I’m starting to bake, or helping a client with oils, or reading. I just squeeze it in. I do not watch any TV. I cut that out about two years ago.
Ioana: Wow, that’s impressive.
Danielle: It’s a little extreme, but I find that I don’t have the time for it. My days are packed, and I do a lot of my work at night. I make sure I eat and sleep well and that I exercise. If I’m not okay, nobody else is going to be taken care of.
Ioana: That’s absolutely right.
These healthy, baked goods are relatively new. You’ve been baking for your family and your community for a long time. It’s in you. So it made sense to expand it into a business. How did you carve out space for that, alongside everything else that you are already doing?
Danielle: It’s funny, I have been making them for a while, and I always bring some to the essential oils classes because I use the oils in them. And everybody wants to sit and learn while they’re eating something yummy. Everybody was telling me to sell them. A lot of people want to change the way they eat, but they still want sweets. And I realized that it’s another way to help people achieve health goals.
So I find the time. I think people have more time than they realize. You know, if you’re sort of organized, you can squeeze it in. An hour here an hour there.
Ioana: And if it’s important enough, I would add. There’s a self-discipline aspect that comes in.
Danielle: Of course. That’s with everything. You know, I have a strong passion for health. As a child, I did not like blood. I always said that if I could have gotten over that, I would have loved to be a doctor. So it makes me feel good to know that I’m helping people in my way. I think the passion has to be there. If you don’t like what you’re doing, it’s hard to really push forward and put yourself out there to actually accomplish it.
Ioana: A hundred percent. I think a lot of people can relate to that. If what you’re doing is fulfilling a higher purpose and it’s beyond you, it’s a win-win.
Danielle: Exactly. And sometimes it takes a little while to get there. People may tell you, and when something clicks for you, you can actually do it.
Ioana: Yeah. And what you do is so integrated. Because it’s not like, you know, Daniel Kimmel is building this wellness business that has nothing to do with her personal life. It’s literally an extension of you.
Danielle: Yeah, exactly.
Ioana: Nothing is compartmentalized. When we start to think about the ability to be vulnerable, open up to new things, learn new things, do hard things—it’s more doable if what you’re seeking is connected and adjacent to where you presently are.
Danielle: That’s so true. And also—what can I do that will make me feel good and fulfilled while still wanting to be very involved in my children’s life and raising them and not being away from them? That’s been a huge aspect of it. What can I squeeze in? What can I add that will still work with being a mother, a wife, sister, fulfilling all the other roles that we play?
And listen, some people feel like if they work full time, they’re better mothers. There’s every side of it. It’s really an individual’s feeling about what works best for them.
Ioana: I love what you said about switching your mindset from sales to realizing that what you’re doing is not really selling. It’s actually making a positive contribution.
Danielle: Exactly. And the truth is, when people commit with money to buy something, they’re committing to actually doing it. They’re at the point where they want to make that change.
Let’s say somebody is suffering from headaches, and I tell them that for $75, I will provide something they can use for years, and their problem will be gone. If they say “No, oh that’s expensive,” it means they’re not really putting value into feeling better. You know what I mean? Advil is not cheap either. Neither is going to the doctor. To be clear, I’m not anti-Western medicine. I just think there’s a time for it and there’s a time when you don’t need it.
Ioana: How can people find you?
Danielle: I’m on Instagram. I’ve met and helped a lot of people through it. Also recommendations. Clients refer me to people in different areas. I’ve traveled. I’ve done classes in Florida, which was a lot of fun. I’ve taught in D.C. But the place where I put myself out there and share a lot is Instagram because it’s a great way to connect people when you’re not physically close.
Ioana: On your feed, you share in-the-moment essential oil mixing and baking adventures. So it’s not a sanitized, pretty account. It’s the real deal.
Danielle: It is! I’m not so good at taking pictures, and it’s okay, that’s me. Yes, it’s definitely not perfect because nothing in life is perfect. Personally, when I see people, and everything looks perfect., I’m like, “What’s going on? Where’s the real stuff? I want to see it when nobody’s watching you what’s going on.” I don’t think people can relate to it. I personally can’t.
Ioana: Yeah! When are your next workshops?
Danielle: The summers are usually quiet. People are more into workshops when it’s not as beautiful outside. So after everybody’s settled into school and the Jewish holidays are over, I start classes again. I really like to teach in people’s homes. It’s a lot more intimate. I like small groups so that people feel comfortable.
It’s amazing. You start the class, and people are scared to say what they want to work on health-wise, but then as the evening goes on, they begin to relax. That’s when you learn what they need and what they’re looking for.
Ioana: What’s your format?
Danielle: I share a little bit about myself, my experience, and how I came to use essential oils. Then I love to go around and have everybody share something health-wise that they’re working on. It could be emotional, it could be physical. It allows me to connect my knowledge with what they’re looking for and to delve into it.
So throughout the class, if I’m talking about a specific oil, I’ll be like, “Oh, remember, you mentioned you have headaches. This is great for that.” I make it relevant to the people in the room, instead of having an exact way I teach and not going off of it at all.
Ioana: You’re a great listener. Do you blend oils at that time? Do you show them how to do it? How does that part work?
Danielle: Mixing tends to scare some people. I usually don’t blend during group classes. Clients order individual oils, and I provide directions and recipes. I create ingredient lists for blends like headache, immunity, so they can label each one. I encourage everyone to mix and label so that they’ll use them.
We do a follow-up video call, and I show them exactly how to blend them. Some clients want to mix everything on the call, and that’s okay. We sit, and we go through everything. Other people create one blend and then feel confident to do the rest on their own.
People have asked about doing mixing parties. So after everybody gets their materials, we come back together and blend. I think that would be really fun as a follow-up.
Ioana: We talked a little bit about the moment where people are sharing in the group. Some are quite uncomfortable in the beginning. How do you create a safe space?
Danielle: There’s no judgment in the room. And sometimes there’s one extroverted person that’s like “All the above, everything is wrong in my life,” and they are an icebreaker. Quieter people who aren’t as used to sharing open up.
I’m like an open book. I grew up in a house where we put everything out there. My husband makes fun of me that if I have a problem with somebody, I just confront them. He’s never seen anybody who’s just really good at that. That’s the way I am. So I think people get that feeling from me—that I’m not judging you. I just want to help you. So it lets people open up.
It also depends on the environment. I’ve taught really religious Jewish people. They tend to be more private, and it might be harder for some to open up in a group. Some people prefer to speak on the phone or do a video consult, and that’s okay too. I really like video because there’s a face with a voice. I offer a variety of options to work together.
Ioana: What you and I do, could be done just online. You can do Zoom sessions or a YouTube series on how to mix essential oils and how to bake with them. And it would be useful, right? People would still learn from you. There’s something to be said about getting together in real life.
Danielle: Yes. It’s totally different. Even doing a video call can be more intimate. Things change when you’re in person, and people change. People let their guards down easier. These days it’s hard to commit to getting together in person, but it’s so important given all the technology that’s around us.
Ioana: When we get together in person, the energy change is palpable. Seeing you here, now, talking with you live is different than had we done it over a phone call.
Danielle: Exactly. And things come up in person that wouldn’t come up on a call because it doesn’t flow the same.
Ioana: Yeah, or if you’re recording something and then posting it on social media, it’s a demo and not a dialogue.
Danielle: Exactly. That’s a big difference.
Ioana: Do you see people over and over again in your workshops?
Danielle: Not usually. Once I met a client on social media, and after a video consult, she hired me to run a workshop in her home in Brooklyn. I like that. I also like it when people in the room are using essential oils already, and they can share their personal experience. So it’s not just me sharing.
Ioana: Oh my God, I love that so much. You don’t need to be the expert in the room.
Danielle: I’m so happy when other people share tips and knowledge. It’s even better than me saying it.
Ioana: Yeah. At that point, you’re enabling people to teach with you. There’s no need to have the authority.
Danielle: Exactly. And I like to sit when I’m teaching so that I’m with everybody. We sit on couches. I want it to be a relaxed and enjoyable conversation. And when everybody gets involved, it’s so great in person.
Ioana: It’s where the goodies are. I’m so happy you came on. Thank you so much.
Danielle: This was so much fun. Thank you.