By Rachel Phillips
When the existing insect repellants on the market didn’t satisfy her needs, Gina Grillo decided to take matters into her own hands.
In 2008, after contracting and battling Lyme disease, Grillo discovered that there was no good, natural insect repellent on the market.
With newfound incentive, she decided to make one herself.
Grillo already had experience in producing and selling all-natural products, having established a business called Grillo’s Pillows & Specialties in 1996. Personal matters drew her away in the early 2000s. But her struggle to find a product that could safely and effectively protect people from insects and the diseases they carried inspired her to return to the fold.
After years of research, Grillo was able to relaunch and rebrand her business in 2016 under the name Grillo Essentials, with her natural insect repellent as the catalyst.
Grillo Essentials, based in Greenwich, now produces a range of all-natural insect repellant products that are available in both stores, and online. The name is a clever play on the word “essential,” referring not only to the oils used in many of her products, but also refers to the necessity of her products as protective agents against insects, and the basic need for self-care.
Along with her repellent products, she sells luxurious sachets and pillows that are designed for relaxation and keeping a home smelling fresh. Grillo particularly recommended the balsam fir sachet for extra ambiance during the upcoming Christmas season.
Grillo credited her personal connection to the issue of Lyme disease and ticks as a significant factor in the success she’s had since the launch of her products. She said her dedication to helping prevent others from being infected, along with her knack for creative thinking, provided the drive necessary to bring success to her business.
This year, Grillo became a grand champion of the American Small Business Championship (ASBC) for her creative and exceptional entrepreneurial endeavors.
The ASBC is sponsored by SCORE, a program that helps small businesses grow through mentoring and educational effort. The ASBC program awards a $25,000 grant to businesses across the country who win the champion status.
With these resources now at hand, Grillo said she plans to expand her already growing business. Along with a spray, she’s also working on new, innovative ways to use and apply insect repellents.
Grillo said she hopes her products can help educate the public about ticks and insect-borne diseases, as well as the importance of checking for ticks, no matter what products you use.
Grillo Essentials’ products are available on her site, grilloessentials.com, and in stores such as Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga, Four Seasons in Saratoga Springs and Brookside Nursery in Ballston Spa.