Did you know that soap starts out as oil and water? The science behind soap making is fascinating and one that I love dearly (I used to be a soap maker..) I love how simple Elizabeth’s creations are – tapping into the goodness that mother nature has to offer! Read on to find out how Elizabeth started out!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am fairly simple. I love being outdoors, dogs, and knitting.

Where did your business idea come from?

Like many people, my business developed from personal need. My skin is extremely sensitive to all the chemicals in modern skin care products. Even some well known ‘natural’ products would cause it to break out or became red and irritated. So I created my first products–the Lavender and Frankincense moisturizer and cleanser–out of pure desperation. When I saw the changes to my skin after using them for a few weeks, I started making it for family and friends. And, my business grew from there.

How does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I am a nature-loving, simple, organic type of person and my products reflect that fully. They are 100% natural, organic and made with simple and pure ingredients.

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What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

My biggest learning curve since starting my business has been social media. Being visible on social media does not come naturally for me, so learning what and where to post has been a deep learning experience.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

My inspiration comes from two places; family and friends, and the plants themselves. When a friend or family member approaches me with some kind of health or skin issue, I start playing around in the kitchen trying to come up with an effective remedy or recipe. My friends call it “Kitchen Witching”, because it usually involves a lot of herbs, a mortar and pestle and great smelling essential oils. For example, I formulated my Hot Flush products after a friend approached me because she wanted relief from the discomfort of hot flashes. My Healing Skin Balm was devised for a friend suffering from eczema. My Honey, Lavender and Frankincense Cleanser and Moisturizer duo were designed for me, who has hyper sensitive, aging, yet prone-to-breakout skin. The second way I receive inspiration is from the plants themselves. As I discover more and more about their amazing healing gifts, I devise products designed to showcase these medicinal uses. For example, I’m working on a soap made from nettles, which is amazing for inflamed, irritated skin so it would be great for people with rashes, eczema, or psoriasis.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It depends on the product. Soap can take a few hours to make, but then takes 4-6 weeks to cure. My lotions and balms can me made in an hour or two.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

My faves change depending on my needs. Right now I’m having trouble sleeping, so I am in love with my Dream Cream. It’s a body butter that has been formulated using essential oils renowned for their relaxing and sedating qualities. Using it just before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What is the story behind your business name?

That is a good question. I wanted something that represented what I did and what I valued, so it had to be a name that made reference to the woods or forest as so many of my materials come from trees and plants. The apothecary part came from what I was doing with these plants–taking them from nature and formulating them into products that nourish and heal.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love getting out of the city and heading to the cottage. A walk in the forest or swim in the lake, always rejuvenates me. At home, when I can’t get away for any extended period, I love walking my dogs in the wooded ravine by my house.

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Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Just keep going, one step at a time. It will definitely seem daunting and feel overwhelming at times, but just keep moving forward one task at a time. Oh….and make sure you use tags…

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My Healing Skin Balm is my best selling item. It’s popular because it works. It’s rich and creamy, smells great and helps ease the discomfort of eczema or psoriasis. I love to put it on my feet at night. When I wake up in the morning, my feet feel fantastic!

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

No, I am a full time high school teacher. I balance my day by taking advantage of my evenings and weekends, as well as any time off. Summer vacation, Christmas and March Break are all times I work crazily on my business. During the school year, it’s weekends and evenings.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

For me, the most challenging aspects of being a creative business owner has been social media. I am fairly shy and introverted by nature, so being visible on social media has been a struggle. I am learning though.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

Both. I take lot of classes on herbalism and plant medicine making, as well as aromatherapy, but my products themselves are often trial and error. Even though I might have the right formulation of plant and herbs, I sometimes have to experiment with the best way to get it onto the skin, whether it should be a lotion, salve, cleanser, balm, etc.

Find all of Elizabeth’s concoctions at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd, or follow her online channels!

Website: www.wildgroveapothecary.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildgroveapothecary

Instagram: @wildgrove_apothecary

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