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Featured Shop: Wild Rose Herbs

May 31, 2013

by Wild Rose Herbs

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hello, my name is Ash. I am the creator of Wild Rose Herbs, a botanical skin care company focused on sustainability. I’m entirely self-taught, and have largely learned through experimentation over the past eight years. My unique blends are made intuitively using the best, most ethically-produced ingredients available. I am fortunate to live on a two acre mini-farm in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, and I design, blend, package, and ship my products from a 400-square foot workshop and office nestled between an herb garden and a lush, half-wild pasture.

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I learned the value of a DIY ethic at a young age. I was raised by a single mother of three and resourcefulness was key in our household. My mom gets credit for introducing me to herbalism. Teas, tinctures and bad tasting supplements were always on hand, and colorful herb books filled our shelves. This, combined with my immersion in the local punk scene, made me crave the skills necessary to be totally self-reliant. Despite doing well in school, I skipped college and invested in a small library of books on everything from aromatherapy to homesteading.

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At first, I didn’t intend to sell my creations. I made them as an alternative to store-bought synthetic products for myself, family, and close friends. It wasn’t long before I was selling my herbal salves to the local health food store, funding my new-found hobby. I maintained a low-key presence at farmers markets and craft fairs for the next four years, even while living off the grid in Northern California. When I found myself back in “the city,” I decided to take my most treasured recipes and reincarnate my products under the name Wild Rose.

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Wild Rose is my response to an economy where the ecological, political and social costs of manufacturing are veiled. I spend much of my time tracking down raw materials, packaging and even office supplies to their source. This minimizes or eliminates the social, environmental and ethical footprint of my products by choosing sources that are non-GMO, sustainably harvested, organic or fair trade. I grow many of the fresh botanicals needed for my recipes just outside my workshop.

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Not only do I use the purest, most completely natural ingredients available, I also seek out raw materials with the strictest quality and ethical standards. I carefully consider multiple factors when sourcing my ingredients, including growing conditions, worker treatment, endangered status or bioregion impact (for oils and herbs), sustainability, production waste, and ecological impact. I research my sources on behalf of my customers to ensure purity and sustainability. It’s what I do when I buy anything for myself or a loved one, and I can’t help but give the same care and attention to my customers. My business practices are completely intertwined with my personal ethics and integrity. This ensures that my customers always receive the best of what I have to offer.

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For the things I can’t grow or collect myself, I try to find materials locally. Oregon is a hot spot for earth-conscious professionals, and I am fortunate to be able to source most of my materials, including packaging, from local producers and distributors. To help offset the inevitable impact of shipping and manufacturing, I make yearly donations to both local and national organizations working to protect critical bioregions. In this way, I hope to set a precedent through steadfast ethics and transparent business practices.

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For me, Etsy is the result of our collective need to take responsibility for the cascading effects of our lifestyles. The unique transparency of this marketplace is both rare and in demand. That gives me hope for an increasingly ethical and true-to-cost economy.

Maker and process photographs by Nic LeBrun; product photos by Wild Rose Herbs.

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