Staying on the theme of Earth Day this week I thought I would treat you to an interview! I was recently contacted by Ella’s Botanicals, which offers natural and handmade products for the whole family.
All of Ella’s products smell so wonderful and I love that they are gentle on the skin using ingredients that are carefully chosen.
Two definite stand outs for me were the Lotion in “Lemon Meringue” and the Healing Hand Salve in “My Darling Clementine”.
You may not know this about me but I LOOOOVE lemon meringue pie. It’s one of my favorite desserts, especially in the Summer 🙂 This lotion seriously smells just like the pie. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not sweet, it’s really quite refreshing and feels lovely on my skin.
Please share with me your story and how you got started.
I always wanted to have my own natural body care line since I was a teenager experimenting with herbs and making ointments and using essential oils. It was a whole world that opened up to me that I fell in love with. Using products on my skin that I made myself always worked so much better than anything I ever bought in the store. As my passion for herbs grew, I know I wanted to learn more so I studied herbal medicine and took various courses in Aromatherapy which broadened my knowledge of plants. I did a workshop on cold process soapmaking and thought it was the coolest thing ever! I began experimenting with soapmaking and was fully hooked! The endless possibilities of combinations you can do is amazing and it also happens to be the best soap I have ever used-soo different from commercial soaps! It seemed like a natural thing for me to develop a line of soaps to start my brand. It was something I could afford to do because I could just print the soap labels on my printer, cut them and glue them (as we still do today)-no expensive bottles and professional bottle labels needed which I could not afford at the time for my creams and salves which I knew I would have to launch later when I could afford to have them nicely packaged.
What made you decide to become an aromatherapist and herbalist?
I became interested in Herbalism when I started working in health food stores as a teenager. I also started experimenting with making my own herbal ointments and using essential oils all the time and just fell in love with all of it! I think using herbs and oils on yourself is the best way to learn about them.
What was the motivation to start your business and what is the inspiration behind your products?
I have always wanted to share my passion for al things natural and wonderful scents with people through products. I felt that this way I can reach people I don’t even know and they can use something I made that is great for their skin and makes them feel great. I also have always had a strong creative side and I am able to utilize that in both creating products and building a business so it’s really a perfect combination. I have always wanted a career that would allow me to live by my own values and do something I would truly enjoy.
There are many body products that consumers can choose from. What do you think makes your product line unique?
I think what is unique about my line is the passion I put into my products and the quality. There are very few truly artisanal body care lines on the market. For me-it’s not just a manufacturing process, it is an art and I stand behind the product. I think a lot of the products on the market today – not just body care – have no soul; even if they have the right ingredients, they just don’t feel good or even smell good. As such a tiny company, I think I am still in business today because of the people who use my products and truly appreciate the quality. They use them and notice a difference and they buy them again, share them with friends and family and have become very loyal.
Can you take me briefly through your creative process when coming up with a new product?
I am constantly thinking about products. I think of scents and the inspiration comes from that for the most part. I am passionate about scents-especially natural ones- and just love the way they have such a profound effect on us and the beauty of essential oils is that they are not just scent-they have a multitude of therapeutic properties. Since I mainly use essential oils, I think about the properties of those oils and what herbs and other ingredients will also compliment those properties so that I can create a well rounded product that will smell diving and also be nutritive to the skin.
For example-my Lavender Rose bar soap-I combined essential oils of Lavender, Palmarosa and Geranium- these 3 oils are wonderful for mood as well as very effective for various skin conditions-and they blend very well together-it made sense to add avocado oil to this bar soap because it reinforces the skin healing properties of these oils so it’s a product that feels great, smells great and is wonderful for your skin. I believe that perfection exists in nature so it is easy to make beautiful, natural products.
I know you are busy mom, can you describe what a typical day is like for you?
Wake up, have a nice breakfast with Liam, drop Liam at nursery, go to work at the studio, come home, hang with Liam, cook dinner, hang with Liam, more work on computer while Dad gets Liam to bed, looong hot bath with essential oils and salts, tv or read a book.., chat on phone with a friend, plan tasks for next day…
What has been the most challenging part of your journey?
There have been many! Initially it was that I had very little funding to start the biz-got a $5000.00 loan from the CYBF and hence had to work at a job while I grew the business-I worked as a cashier at Mountain Equipment Co-Op to support myself. Working the job and the business for the first 3 years was incredibly difficult and exhausting. It also meant I truly had to grow this business at a grassroots level, which I continue to do. I don’t have the marketing dollars so I grow the company through business relationships and the wonderful customers who buy my products and tell their friends and family about them.
I had also herniated a disc in my lumbar spine 4 years ago and was in a lot of pain for about a year before I had surgery. So basically, through all the adversity-I have survived due to serious determination-it is my dream, after all!
Do you have any advice for others wanting to pursue their creative or artistic dreams?
I would say if you are truly passionate about something, you will be successful at it. Take some risks-it may not be the easiest thing you do but will be one of the most fulfilling. Surround yourself with people who are supportive.
What do you do to unwind or relax from the business?
Hang out with my family-we spend lots of time in parks and on various playdates-the zoo and Riverdale farm are some of our faves…. hang out with a friend-have some wine, go to a movie…I also love baking and cooking. Especially baking with my son-we use all sorts of healthy, alternative flours and sweeteners and bake wonderful treats and big messes!
Why is it important for you to acknowledge Earth Day and are you doing anything to celebrate?
I think it’s important to acknowledge Earth Day because it makes us aware that we need to celebrate and respect our planet. Our resources are not unlimited so we need to think of ways to reduce our carbon footprint and use what we have in the best way possible- or just use less of it!
In celebration of Earth Day I will have a contest on facebook for my fans to win a gift basket. I have also sent out some free soaps to Sierra Club Canada for the new campaign for natural cosmetics.
I will actually be in Vancouver this earth Day for the CHFA West- a wholesale trade show for natural health retailers. The show ends at 5 and it will be light enough to spend some time outside with my son enjoying beautiful Vancouver:) We are so lucky to live on such a beautiful planet.
***Disclosure: products were sent to me for review consideration***