by Terry Rogers
Cindy Collins came to Delaware in 1999 via the United States Air Force. After leaving the military, Collins entered the restaurant industry as a professional chef until the birth of her first son.
“After my son was born, I worked at local hospitals as a lactation peer counselor,” Collins said. “While working in that capacity with Bayhealth, I became a birth doula with the intention of becoming a home birth midwife but decided to stay at home to raise my three boys. During those ten years, I began studying herbalism for my personal pleasure. I later decided to study formally, taking a correspondence course to become a certified herbalist and am currently enrolled in a continuing education course with Dr. Aviva Room to become a women’s herbal educator.”
Collins explained that when she initially began her pursuit of herbal knowledge, she never intended it to become a career or business. As she learned more about herbs, she began developing products for her own family and friends to use as well as creating products to use for her doula clients. As Collins learned more, she began selling her products at local craft shows, farmer’s markets and online through Etsy. Today, Euphoric Herbals ships an average of 2,000 orders per month to every state and 58 countries. This year, the company began offering wholesale of proprietary products.
“I decided to open an herbal Apothecary because, as I was building my business developing products, I always had difficulty sourcing the ingredients I was looking for,” Collins said. “Often, I would have to drive to neighboring states or order online which meant I was waiting for an ingredient to arrive from the West coast, sometimes for a week or two. I often would have customers ask where they could find botanical ingredients like we were using or if I had any extra to sell. I could refer them to local health food stores but they often didn’t have the quantity or variety of herbs people were looking for. I knew if I had this much difficulty sourcing ingredients locally that others were also going through the same challenges in a rural state with limited options.”
In addition to having difficulty finding the items she needed, Collins explained that it was sometimes difficult to trust the ingredients found online. She wanted to use ingredients where she would know where they were being sourced and the quality of the items she was buying. Since Collins had already been working with botanical suppliers for several years, she had developed a solid supply chain and new she would be able to meet the needs of the community.
Collins currently lives in Harrington with her family but chose Milford as the location for her store because it had a quaint, small-town feeling. She also knew that it was known as a progressive town that was expected to expand in the future. Collins wanted Euphoric Herbals Apothecary to become a destination location and she wanted to be sure it was easy to find.
Euphoric Herbals Apothecary offers proprietary products manufactured locally. They offer about 70 loose-leaf teas, 150 botanical herbs, Plant Therapy essential oils, CBD oil and other hemp products, local soap, local raw honey, natural body care products and other botanical supplements.
“The benefits of essential oils and teas vary greatly depending on the oil or tea and it’s intended therapeutic objective,” Collins said. “Often people start using essential oils and other botanical remedies because they are tired of using over-the-counter medications that come with a lot of side effects that are quite unpleasant . The other benefit of herbal remedies is that it is something you can use short-term or long-term for optimal wellness, unlike other over-the-counter medications that treat very specific issues. The right herbal remedies can often have a positive impact on overall health.”
Collins described a welcoming atmosphere when she opened her brick-and-mortar store in Milford, explaining that the business, although new in the community, was not completely new due to her strong online presence.
“Originally coming from the San Francisco Bay area where there is a very progressive culture, I was apprehensive yet excited to see how Delaware would respond to the concept of an herbal apothecary,” Collins said. “Surprisingly, our customer base has expanded greatly since opening the store and the community that was not familiar with our online business has developed an awareness. We have been able to attract customers all over the state of Delaware and also from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. People have given us very positive feedback since we opened and we have new customers coming into our store daily. We already have a strong weekly or monthly customer base.”
The most rewarding part of opening the store has been the face-to-face interaction with customers, Collins stated. She enjoys being able to meet their needs and finds it refreshing to discuss those needs in person. Collins has plans for expansion of what they store offers and would like to open additional locations.
“We are always looking for new products that we think our customers will like and add additional services that we can provide them,” Collins said. “We have a couple of things in the works to launch later this year and next year hope to expand our current location. We also have plans to open a second location in the Middletown area in about two years.”
Euphoric Herbals Apothecary is located at 621 North Dupont Boulevard in the Milford Village Shopping Center. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 AM until 6 PM.