Happy Wednesday, folks! Wow - Thank you so much for all the birthday week love yesterday!! For those of you who missed out, you still have time to enter my Birthday Bash Giveaway, hosted by Victoria and I! Today I've got a really great Talk/Shop featuring the lovely couple, Julia and Alex of Herbivore Botanicals! I must admit, I was pretty excited about this one. Herbivore Botanicals was one of my first favorite Etsy Shops ever - I'm a natural skincare fanatic and was looking for something gift-worthy when I stumbled upon their site - and boy am I glad I did! I love that their products are 100% natural, vegan, and so gentle for sensitive skin! Not to mention, all the gorgeous packaging designs make their products as the most perfect gifts (hint hint: upcoming holidays!)
I pretty much guarantee that you'll love getting to know Julia and Alex - continue below to learn more about their shop and what their favorite ingredient to work with is (it's something that dates back 300 million years!)
Tell me a little bit about the two of you: We are Julia and Alex. We are both avid bath takers and live in Seattle Washington with our two cats, Baxter and Mongo. We got married in June of this year.
Why did you start your shop? We started our shop through Etsy about 2 years ago with a small curation of soaps that we handcrafted in our kitchen. As we experimented with different ingredients, our love for high quality natural ingredients became the foundation of all of our products. Since then, we have enjoyed exploring ingredients from all corners and eras of the earth. From ancient clays to volcanic debris, the natural world offers an abundance of minerals and nutrients to care for and nourish our skin, no chemicals or synthetic materials necessary.
The best thing about owning your own small business? The best part about having our own business is that the sky is the limit. It is so exciting initially coming up with an idea in our heads and walking it through every phase of development, from sketching it on paper to seeing it on the shelves. It is an ever changing job. There is no worry of our work ever becoming routine.
What’s your favorite natural ingredient that you’ve worked with? One natural ingredient that we are really love is Cambrian Blue Clay. This clay dates back 300 million years to the Cambrian Era and is extremely high in mineral content, making it excellent for skin care. It has a powerful drawing ability - it really gets down into your pores to draw out toxins. It is also a really beautiful natural shade of blue. We use this clay in our Blue Clay Soap, Blue Clay Detoxifying Facial mask and Detox Dead Sea Salts.
Can you give us a sneak peak into your creative process? We go through most stages of our product development together. Julia is mostly responsible for conceptualizing the product and developing the recipes. At that point, we collaborate on the branding, packaging and label design, product descriptions, product photography, and testing.
What are your future goals? We have a lot of goals. Business wise, we plan to come out with more skin care products for the Spring, possibly specific facial soaps and probably more Sea based products. Also, Julia is starting to work on natural perfume. We are both working on spending more time on personal goals as well such as Alex focusing on creating music and both of us taking yoga classes to, eventually, become yogi masters.
How do you juggle work/life balance? It is always tough when you are starting your own business...the first year or so there wasn't much balance. But, recently we hired two of our close friends as employees to help out and this has made a world of difference for us. We find ourselves with some time to do things we used to do, before the business, little things like cooking dinner or playing with the cats.
What inspires you? Alex: Small things - a change of season, a good cup of coffee, my favorite song stuck in my head, or waking up five minutes before my alarm. Julia: Bath time is my main time to feel inspired and think up new ideas and products. I usually imagine what I would like to have in my bath that is not already there or a product I would like to use when I get out of the tub. I take a bath every night.
Current obsessions? Alex: Parkas, old rangefinder cameras, the new ramen restaurant that just opened downstairs, and of course, synthesizers. Julia: Dark Wave natural perfume by OLO that I've been wearing every day for a month, black pepper essential oil, finding the perfect dry shampoo - or maybe we should just make one someday soon.
Other shops you’re inspired by: OLO Fragrance is a natural perfume company based in Portland, Oregon. I recommend the sampler kits where you can try many perfumes to find your favorite. SoftGoldStudio is one of Julia's favorite shops on Etsy. Dianna is really talented and hand makes amazing gold (and silver) jewelry. Morning Calm is another favorite Etsy shop of both of ours. Hwasoon is so sweet and makes wonderful soaps and skin care products with extreme care to detail and simple packaging.
Favorites + Holiday gift ideas
1 // Coconut Milk Bath Soak 2 // "Detox" Natural 3 Soap Gift Set 3 // "Hydrate" Facial Toner with Rose Water and Ylang Ylang 4 // Sea Minerals Gift Set (with Sea Mist Beach Wave Hair Spray and Sea Clay Soap) 5 // Lip Balm Set of 3 6 // Cypress and Mint Bath Soak
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Thank you Julia and Alex! Be sure to check out their Etsy shop!
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all photos via Herbivore Botanicals