Adam Crockett ’89 had his hands in many different businesses after graduating from Indiana University in 1998. Now, he literally has his hands in the natural oils/fragrance company that he runs with his wife, Ambre.
has seen total revenue grow at an average of 27.5% annually since 2011—with their best growth year ever of 31.5% in 2017!
We caught up with Adam and his family to discuss life after Orchard, the rise of Ambre Blends, and the joys of being a current Orchard parent. In the beginning, Adam and Ambre were set on having their kids attend public schools, so much so that they remodeled a house in Fishers that they loved. Today, that house is on the market as they look for a forever home closer to Orchard. Read more below!
It’s been 30 years since you graduated from Orchard. How have you been!?
I have been fantastic. Orchard set me on a great path. I went on to graduate from Brebeuf in 1993. I then attended Indiana University in Bloomington where I graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management with a focus in outdoor leadership and education. I strongly believe that the focus on the outdoors and nature that Orchard provided me lead me to find interest in a career working in the outdoors. Upon graduating from IU, I became the Youth Program Director of Bloomington Parks & Recreation where I read their summer camp program and was the leader of their outdoor portion of the At-Risk Youth program. In the fall of 1999, I was hired to be the Recreation Director for a private boarding school in Lake Tahoe called Snowboard USA. I worked there for one year before relocating to Breckenridge, CO to pursue my own competitive snowboard goals. But alas….I never made it into the X-Games :)
After a few years of living the snowboarding lifestyle in Colorado, I was recruited by my father to come back and be the general manager of Karma Records, a record store chain he founded in the 1970s. After a few years of working to try to combat the decline of the record business as a result of the digital music revolution, I thought it best to shift to the other division of the family business, commercial real estate. In 2004, I earned my Indiana Real Estate Broker’s License and went on to to become director of leasing for our family business, Williams Realty Group.
In conjunction with my career with Karma Records and Williams Realty Group, in 2002, I co-founded and became co-director of an independent art & music event called ORANJE. Over the next 10 years, my business partner and I would produce this annual event in vacant downtown industrial buildings featuring 30+ fine artists, 20+ musical acts on multiple stages, film screenings, fashion shows, interactive art exhibits, etc. While I definitely grew up in a family that was musical and artistically oriented, I also very much believe that the strong art & music programs I experienced at Orchard helped lead me down this path.
In 2011, as a result of the recession, I decided to pursue a different career path by exploring my love of The Arts. I went to work as an assistant to a fine artist and art gallery owner, Jason Myers and his gallery ARTBOX. It was an amazing experience working for him. We worked to hang gallery shows, install paintings and sculptures in private collections and displayed at world-class art events like Art Basel, Red Dot and SCOPE Miami.
However, in the spring of 2012, as my wife Ambre and I were expecting the birth of our first child, Kingston, I was pulled in an entirely new direction. My wife’s business, Ambre Blends, a side business for her as part of her massage therapy practice, had gained a lot of momentum and was starting to experience significant interest and growth. Because of my background and experience in business, Ambre asked me to join her company as director of operations to help take the daily tasks of running a business off her plate. It was the best decision we ever made and I continue in this position to this day.Now that you and your wife Ambre have two small children at Orchard, it must feel like you never left...
It very much feels that way! Though the school looks different and is laid out differently from when I was attending (I was the last class at Orchard to use the old cafeteria!), it very much has the same feeling as when I was a student. You can feel the love, passion and attentiveness when you are in the building. It was also quite a trip when, on our tour of Orchard before we enrolled our son, I ran into many teachers that had been there when I was a student! (Gail Emerich, Karen Dean, Deb (Underwood) Brown, Linda Appel, and Mike Brown). And talk about feeling like I never left…on the tour, Krystal Shelton (Admissions) took us to the Middle School area and opened the door to Mike Brown’s (in session) class. I took one step into the room and Mr. Brown (my 7th grade counselor) said, “Adam Crockett….what are you doing back in my classroom!?”
Now that we are parents of two young children at Orchard, the experiences and traditions that our kids are experiencing bring back a flood of memories and emotions for me. Gnaw Bone, Pancake Breakfast, tapping maples trees, Spring Pageant and the May Pole, and the Winter Pageant with the 12 days of Christmas. The angles as well (I had trouble keeping it together at last year’s pageant as my son Kingston was an angel). I have such fond memories of all of these things that make up the Orchard experience and I am thrilled that my children will get to engage in the same! But overall, the thing I find most important and comforting is the real sense of care, kindness, attention and love that my children experience each day with each and every one of the Orchard faculty and staff. It is truly a magical place to go to school for these reasons.
Did you always know you wanted your children to experience Orchard?
Honestly, I did not always know that I wanted to have my children experience Orchard. Shortly after my son was born, we purchased a house and moved to Fishers. We felt like it would be one of the best options for a public school system. We also did not know if we would be in a financial position to afford a private school. However, we began to think differently after a conversation with Kingston’s preschool teacher at Fishers Montessori. Upon learning that I had attended Orchard, this teacher suggested to us that Orchard would be a great option for Kingston based upon his learning style. That was the first time we really began to consider Orchard as an option. My mother was also a huge advocate of our kids going to Orchard as she still feels to this day that sending me to Orchard was the best decision she ever made for my education. For me, I took a lot of solace in knowing that the children who attend Orchard have a strong family behind them who cares deeply about them and their personal growth and education. My wife attended public school in Lawrence Township and was a pretty staunch advocate for public schools. However, once we scheduled and took the tour of Orchard, her mind was forever changed and my reason to have my children attend Orchard was stronger than ever. Now, we are fully committed to Orchard for the long haul. So much so that after 6 years of completely remodeling our house in Fishers (which we LOVE), we are now in the process of building a home that is less than five minutes from Orchard.
You two may not know this, but around the late 2000s, Ambre Essence was given the unofficial title of “The Scent of the Orchard School,” at least by a handful of the teaching staff haha.
Shortly after Kingston started at Orchard, Linda Appel told me something to the same effect. We had no idea there was so much love for Ambre Blends at Orchard. But after now being there for three years, we definitely smell it around the school often.
How has business been since those days?
I am very pleased to say that Ambre Blends (ambreblends.com
) business is booming. Since Ambre quit her massage practice in 2008 and I joined in 2012, we have been experiencing steady and strong growth of about 27% per year. We have grown to having nearly 450 retailers nationwide and doing an equal amount of business direct to our customers via our online store (shop.ambreblends.com
). We are regularly getting, on average, about eight new retailers per month! Our products have been featured in the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Organic Spa Magazine, New Beauty, Indianapolis Monthly, Style and our oil essences and natural deodorants have been selected as the best in their product categories. Our business has grown from Ambre’s spare bedroom, to a converted bungalow in Broad Ripple, to the basement of our house in Fishers. Then in 2014 we purchased a 4000 square foot building near 96th & I-69 and did a full remodel on it to better suit our manufacturing, sales, warehousing and distribution needs. Within two years we were bursting at the seams and subsequently added on 5000 square feet to the building to accommodate our growth. We have ballooned from three employees (including Ambre) in 2008 to now having 11 employees. We turned down a buyout offer in 2015 from a venture capital firm as we are just having too much fun doing this ourselves. We have held strong to our ideals, not bitten off more than we can chew, not taken outside investors and worked hard to achieve a steady, organic growth pattern.
Anything new being released for the holiday season?
In 2017, we released the newest of our five signature scents, Ahnu. It was a huge hit and we are still working to keep up with demand. However, we also always have our eyes on the future. New for 2018 will be a salt soak for bath use and limited seasonal releases of our popular body wash. We'll continue to work to expand our customer base of men who wear Ambre Blends. Many men do not know that our scents are unisex and smell equally good on them! The big news is that in 2019, we will be releasing a new product line called Ambre Baby with products specifically designed for pregnant women and newborns. Keep your eyes peeled for that as we are already getting interest from new and existing retailers to carry this new line.
On another note, Orchard would like to thank you for your contributions to Annual Giving and The Orchard Auction these past few years. I know I’ll be bidding on the Ambre Blends baskets again this year!
We feel honored and blessed to be able to give and donate to Orchard. We understand the importance of community support in order to keep the strong history of Orchard moving into the future. The amount of money we pay in tuition does not come close to the value we receive or the care and attention given to our children every day at Orchard. I hope that people understand, as we do, that Orchard does not ask parents to give and donate just to fill coffers. They do so in order to keep tuition affordable while also maintaining the high level of education that Orchard is known for.