In their west coast workspace, Julia Wills and Alex Kummerow devise, formulate and create small-batch skincare products using 100 per cent natural ingredients.
Since the company's inception in 2011, the range of products has grown exponentially and now includes bath salts, bath soak, face and body oils, toner, soap bars, face masks, beard tonics, skin elixirs, body polish, lip balms, all of which can be purchased through the Herbivore Botanicals website, Etsy, and selected independent retailers.
Everything is handmade, suitable for vegans, free from parabens, sodium laurel sulphate, alcohol, phthalates, chemicals, colourants, synthetic preservatives, fillers, mineral oils, petroleum, and packaged in sustainbly-sourced, recyclable materials.
As Julia and Alex choose ingredients based on their efficacy and therapeutic properties, the finished products (the facial oils especially) are so potent that you only need to use a little amount each time, meaning the bottles and jars last weeks, sometimes months.
I love so much about this brand – the skin-friendly ingredients, the thoughtful and unusual formulations, the subtle scents, the minimalist design – but I was curious to know more. Co-founder Julia Wills kindly took some time to talk inspiration, innovation and what will come next for Herbivore Botanicals...
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START HERBIVORE BOTANICALS?
I've always been a lover of perfume and skincare. I grew up with my mom owning a spa, so I've always been surrounded by the industry. As a child, I used to sneak into my mom's tub and use her expensive shampoos and soaps when she wasn't home. I later took some intro classes on aromatherapy at Bastyr University, a naturopathic school where I'd attended college.
A few years back, Alex was having skin issues, and I wanted to use my knowledge from Bastyr, so we invested in a soap-making kit. It then turned into a hobby on Etsy. The soap became very popular, and that's when I decided to quit my job and pursue the venture full-time.
WHY DO YOU FEEL IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO USE NATURAL INGREDIENTS?
Knowing that what we put on our skin quickly absorbs into our bodies, we want to be conscious of the ingredients we invest in for our products. The earth offers so many effective ingredients that there's no need to add anything extra.
FROM WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
The majority of our ingredients come from all over the world; although we also use a few local ingredients, many of our favourites – coconut oil, rose absolute, pink clay – are not available anywhere near Seattle. We do research to make sure our ethics align with those we source from.
How do you devise the different blends and scent combinations?
Lately, I've been getting inspired by flowers. We recently went to Hawaii and got very inspired by the native flora there.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR HERBIVORE BOTANICALS?
We are releasing some new facial masks for fall featuring pineapple enzymes, gemstones, clay and more.
THE SECRET TO RADIANT SKIN IS...
Our Brighten Face Mask! And moisture. Which you can get from our fabulous facial oils.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
Keeping things balanced. If I'm feeling over-indulged, I'll do a juice/vegetable only cleanse for a few days. It's hard to get through, but my insides feel refreshed after.
FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN SEATTLE:
A vegetarian restaurant called Cafe Flora is one of our favourite.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
Getting a daily dose of Vitamin D is really important, and stretching, walking, sometimes yoga. I am definitely not a hardcore fitness person but do like to get out and move around a bit. Taking a bath is my daily meditation.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Traveling, seeing new things is a favourite. And spa days, even if just at home, always make me happy.