i. I work as:
I am the creator/maker of Element Botanicals natural product line.
ii. I do this creative work because:
This lifestyle organically grew from my lifelong interests and passions. Also, I’ve been at it so long, yet it still fascinates and inspires me.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
I am highly motivated to create. I am hooked on the feeling of accomplishment and genuinely want to facilitate a greater connection to nature for myself and others through what I do.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Sticking it out has not been easy. I have spent more than a decade entirely committed to creating my brand and it has certainly paid off, but with endless devotion on my behalf as well as with that of my husband and business partner, Hardy.
v. Childhood hobbies:
I have always loved to make things. Drawing, painting and crafting. When I was little, I also used to make potions with whatever I could find. I grew up in an old farm house in Ontario and would sneak into the barns with milk weed, corn silk, acorns, spices pinched from the kitchen, my Mom’s good shampoo and other found treasures and mash them all together to see what I could make. Sometimes I laugh to myself as I’m mixing products, it’s really just natural evolution!
vi.Creative people I admire:
I admire all creative people! Or rather, all people who take the time to create. This kind of sums it up:
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative if you love life enough that you want to enhance it’s beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. ” (Osho)
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
I studied formally herbalism which gave me great insight as to how herbs work and how the human body works and is affected by them. I learned the basic sciences behind the art of herbalism such as botany, anatomy, herbal studies as well as wild crafting, medicine making, even TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Reiki. All of these things along with a lifelong personal study of natural healing techniques, occult, perfumery and so on combine to create the basis of my work.
viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is:
Anyone can do it! I am amazed by the new aromatherapy/natural skin care brands popping up all the time. The skin is the body’s largest organ and absorbs like a sponge. I strongly believe that we should all take great care as to what we put on our skin, which includes researching product ingredients before slathering our bodies in anything. Just because it says it’s “natural” doesn’t mean that it actually is. Also, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean that it is safe. Essential oils, for example are strong chemical compounds and can be damaging in larger quantities or if not used properly.
ix. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Educate yourself. There’s a lot of risk when creating products that people put on their skin. Also, don’t try to emulate other brands, find your own, unique style. Get creative but above all, educate yourself about ingredients, sourcing, ecological impacts, branding, all of it. Also, can we all just lift each other up!? I make body care that I love and use every day, but there are so many other great hand made products that I adore, admire and use too! There’s room for everyone to succeed!
x. A professional goal I have for the future:
We are starting to host retreat/camps and hope to do an increasing amount in the near future. These retreats are designed to help people relax, rejuvenate and connect with lost arts/nature/talented makers and spiritual alchemy. You can check it out at www.lostandfoundcamp.com.
Also, we are planning on building a new Element Botanicals HQ to accommodate our growing business, so that’s pretty great!
xi. If you want to see my work, go to:
We’ll be at First Pick in September and you can find our products in retailers across Canada.
* Photos courtesy of Amber Haase