Q&A Featuring Females: Wildcraft
By accident, our team of nutritionists at Village Juicery has become mainly all women. We chalk it up to the profession being female dominated and open up welcoming arms to male nutritionists every chance we get! As a result, we are lucky enough to be among a group of intelligent, creative and like-minded women who inspire me daily.
Because of the pride we have in our team and in women with passion all over the world, we are kicking off a series of featured posts on strong, powerful, accomplished woman that exude positivity and act as role models to our staff. These women are the game-changers in our community that we are fortunate to have crossed paths with. The quality of their work speaks wonders, however, getting to know their successes and failures and tidbits of advice has been eye-opening, educational and simply, beautiful.
Our first feature is on two talented women behind the Toronto-born natural skin care brand we carry in our stores, Wildcraft. With the goal of creating luxury skincare products that use solely ingredients that come from the earth, Laura Whitaker and Jessica Johnston created an all-natural and hand-made skin care line with strong roots in attention to every last detail.
What inspired you to make your own natural products?
Jess: Honestly just experimenting with making a few simple, homemade concoctions was the beginning of my interest in all of this. Watching how something like a basic beeswax salve can work magic on dry winter skin really made me reconsider the random drugstore brands I had been using.
What is your most popular product? Why do you think it is?
Laura: Our makeup remover is our most popular product – it’s a unique formulation of layered oils, witch hazel, flowers, aloe and honey. Many of our customers have shared stories of commercial removers that burn and sting their eyes or leave their eyes feeling dried out or blurry. This product is the exact opposite as it’s particularly calming to the skin and is also great because it’s dual purpose and can be used as a quick face wipe.
What is your favourite natural ingredient that you work with and why?
J: They’re all wonderful but I really love the organic Canadian hemp seed oil used in both our face serum and body oil. It’s jam packed with nutrients as well as being a beautiful rich colour with a warm earthy scent – a great example of an amazing ingredient locally sourced.
What is the most fulfilling part of your work in the holistic field?
J: I’m a creative person so having the opportunity to work with a diverse range of beautiful ingredients in innovative ways is always very inspiring. Our mission at Wildcraft is to create products that are very high quality while still being affordable enough for everyday use, which is a fun challenge as a product designer. Ultimately the work is very rewarding because I get to create healthy alternatives for our customers, many of whom are coming to natural for the first time.
What key pieces of advice would you give a young female thinking about starting her own business?
L: Just get moving girl! I think it’s pretty common to feel frozen because you want every idea to be fully formed. The truth is your business is always evolving and changing. It’s really hard to not get caught up in perfectionism – it is truly the devil. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
How do you support and empower each other as women in this field?
L: Always be a cheerleader, don’t be petty or jealous, lift each other up, tell other women what you love about them or their work. Be vulnerable with each other about your insecurities, you’ll undoubtedly see you’re not alone in the least and might even get some valuable advice on how to move forward.
What qualities do you think are necessary to embrace as a woman entrepreneur?
L: Be self aware, admit mistakes, be honest with yourself! If you make a mistake it only proves you’re human so take the lesson and move on, don’t hang on. Try not to be too self critical or embarrassed to share your work or your ideas. Be confident that what you have to offer is just as important as the next person.
Do you have any self-care practices that help you stay balanced?
L: Cooking, spending time in nature, talking with positive and supportive family and friends
J: Deep breaths – it’s free and you can do it anytime, anywhere but it’s an easy thing to forget. In the winter, baths with epsom, Himalayan sea salt and some essential oils.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned from owning a small business?
L: I think that you really need to enjoy the lifestyle! I love the flexibility that comes with working for myself but I also have to work pretty much everyday. There isn’t as much security when you have you’re own small business and there is no one there to tell you if you’re doing it right or wrong. It’s terrifying but it’s also motivating and thrilling. I’ve never enjoyed working for another person’s vision so I know it’s right where I need to be but it’s definitely not for everyone.
J: Starting any business you’re guaranteed to face challenges! Sometimes these challenges can truly feel like the end of the world and are so stressful but two and a half years into our business I now have more patience and clarity in the face of those moments. Having perspective allows you to trust that you will probably be able come up with a creative solution when problems arise.
And we have to know, what is your favourite Village Juicery product?
L: Hydrate and Heal – love the heat from the ginger and I find it really helpful when I’m feeling run down or under the weather.
J: Be Smart – the perfect thing to give a quick boost in the middle of a busy day
Interview and questions by Stephani Fenk, CNP