Category Archives: Essential Oils

Essential Beginnings in Idaho

Here are some distributors from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in the early days, helping me harvest with our mechanical harvester, called our hands, to distill it in that tiny distillery.

Preparing the ground is critical, putting in the right enzymes, the right organic foliage feed, to nourish those plants. If you don’t build the soil, you’re not going to have good oil. And that’s what we do with our Seed to Seal that nobody else in the world does.

In fact, years ago I was told, “The harsher the soil, the better the oil.” That man was totally wrong. I have proven over and over and over again—the better the soil, the better the oil.

These were the early days of harvesting in St. Maries in 1993. The first Seed to Seal complete process of collecting the seed and propagating our crops from the seed that we grew. You can see that as I’m standing in front of the clary sage, I haven’t aged one bit.

Gary and Mary checking on the progress of the first stainless steel distillery at St. Maries, Idaho.

Mary and Gary checking on the progress of the first stainless steel distillery at St. Maries, Idaho.

But yes, this is where it all began, the peppermint, the clary sage, the thyme, the lavender. And you know what? The first year that I brought lavender seeds back from France was 1986, and those seeds are the seeds that have grown all of your clary sage and lavender in St. Maries and Mona today.

This was the first vertical distillery I built in 1994, the first stainless steel distillery to ever be incorporated into distillation, perhaps in the world but certainly in North America. I built it in the garage of my old farmhouse in St. Maries and installed it here in my log wood frame structure I built, because there wasn’t money to do it with cement and steel. That came later.

Now you might notice that standing down there in the left hand corner of the picture, there’s a person standing to my left side by the boiler. That’s a woman who came to see the crazy man. She was a distributor at the time and didn’t believe a lot of the things that she was hearing.

Starting with a Quarter-Acre Plot

There are some Diamonds sitting up in that next level in those plush seats that they’ve earned, and I can remember one lady who said to me, “Gary, if you ever teach marketing, I’ll get up and walk out.” So I didn’t teach it. I didn’t want her to get up and walk out because she was too precious.

And that wasn’t my passion. Even though I knew it was an integral part of it, my passion was teaching the value of God’s gifts, the pure essential oils that He ordained for the improvement and betterment of his children on this earth.

Gary in the one-quarter acre plot in Spokane, Washington with his first crop of lavender.

Gary in the one-quarter acre plot in Spokane, Washington, with his first crop of lavender.

Seed to Seal means taking it from the field, from the dirt. But first you have to plant that seed. But if you don’t prepare and cultivate the soil and you don’t do the things that are important for it, how are you going to grow the right quality of plant that’s going to produce the oil that has strength? It won’t happen.

It all began in 1989 in Spokane, Washington, on a little quarter-acre piece of ground, where I started experimenting to see if I could grow lavender, clary sage, and thyme. Everyone was telling me that I was crazy, “This is not possible; Gary, you’re wasting your time; Gary, we don’t have very much money at this point, and you’re just throwing it away.”

Well, I’ve been crazy my whole life. I want all of you to know that if somebody says you’re crazy, take it as an honor, because they don’t recognize the genius and creativity in you, which is why they call you crazy. They don’t understand why you’re outside of their comfort zone.

Young Living’s Beginning

We have experienced a lot of precious and tender moments in the growth and evolution of Young Living. It all started in 1985, when I started making the first oil-infused formulas and the first essential oil blends.

R.C. was the first blend that I made in 1985. What do we use R.C. for today? To take care of all those emotional and respiratory memories of the past that you want to change into good memories and take to a higher level of wellness, purpose, and abundance. All you have to do to achieve that is breathe, breathe, breathe. These are precious and wonderful memories.

Gary taping Donna Riley, Clint Walker, and his wife Gigi singing at the Young Life Wellness Center in Mexico (1988).

Gary taping Donna Riley, Clint Walker, and his wife Gigi singing at the Young Life Wellness Center in Mexico (1988).

I got a little sidetracked because when I saw Donna Riley, a little bit of a lump came up in my throat of gratitude and appreciation. At the time Donna came to my clinic, she was given only two weeks to live, and here she is today. She, in a manner of speaking, was a guinea pig for me to try my new products on, and they worked! Of course she recovered and went on with her new life, so Mary became my new guinea pig, and you can see the products are still working.

That was the beginning, the very foundation for what we call Seed to Seal. What does Seed to Seal mean? It means we take great care in the seeds we plant to the product we send you. Why is Young Living the only company that can use this term and, more importantly, still be prudent, humble, and grateful for what we have? Because no one else in the world has it, and if people wanted to try to develop it, they would have to go back 30 years and start where I started.

I knew what I wanted in 1985, and I knew what it would become. As you heard Donna say, in 1986 I said, “There will be a day when we will fill an arena.” I’m telling you that next year you’re going to come and see the other part of my dream, and that’s when we will fill a stadium. Why? Because we believe in something. We have something that’s real, tangible, and of great substance. It’s not marketing hype. That’s why Young Living has grown and become what it has, and yet we never focused on teaching marketing until about five years ago.

An Overwhelming Farewell

Gary and Jacob are honored for helping the people of Yarsa rebuild their homes and their lives.

Gary and Jacob are honored for helping the people of Yarsa rebuild their homes and their lives.

GARY: This was the day that Jacob and I were leaving to come home. But something unexpected happened.

JACOB: We started to leave, and the entire village, all 500 people, started to walk behind us. Before we had walked 5 feet away from the brick machine, they all gathered around us and said thank you. You may never get a feeling like that ever in your life, so it’s definitely one I will never forget.

GARY: Thank you, Jacob. And to share it with my son was exceptionally fantastic. To share it with each of you who may not be able to make the journey, your contributions will help to build homes for these people.

I thank all of you who have already contributed. We need to continue to raise money for all of the projects that we’re engaged in, because Young Living is a company that cares for people first. That’s our mission.

Gary and Jacob receive a royal send-off from the grateful villagers of Yarsa, Nepal.

Gary and Jacob receive a royal send-off from the grateful villagers of Yarsa, Nepal.

Just One More Thing

GARY: I must say one more thing. Jacob, while we were in Yarsa, I gave you an assignment. What was it?

JACOB: My dad gave me the task to go pick cinnamon bark leaves and wintergreen plants. When we went to pick the wintergreen, I actually found a new plant with possibly a new oil that may be coming out.

GARY: Maybe.

JACOB: We don’t know exactly what it is, but it has similar traits like wintergreen. It grows in similar places and is within the same gene family. So, I found a new oil.

GARY: Yes, it was very exciting. From my hike into the mountains and Jacob’s excursion looking for plants, we have found 12 beautiful aromatic plants right around the village of Yarsa, where we’re building the homes. So guess what? In February I took a distillery to Nepal, and those of you who go with us will get to help distill oils in Nepal while you’re there building homes. So that’s a little extra frosting on the cake.

Jacob climbed up and down hillsides looking for cinnamon bark and wintergreen. He may have discovered a new variety of wintergreen!

Jacob climbed up and down hillsides looking for cinnamon bark and wintergreen. He may have discovered a new variety of wintergreen!