shop notes

This time of year has always felt full of fresh start energy to me and this month's new moon is compounding that feeling in the best of ways. I've been working on so many things behind the scenes this past spring and summer and wanted to share about a few of them as we start to shift towards autumn.

First things first, I'm starting to phase out the outer kraft box packaging on many of our products. This outer packaging gets appreciated for such a short time before being recycled (hopefully!), that I'm just not sure it makes sense any more. Especially since the violet glass jars we use are so elegant and light-protective on their own. Simplifying feels so good. As a tiny one-person business (still!), I'm constantly looking for ways to be not only more efficient, but also to conserve resources and to share my work responsibly. That being said, it can still be useful to prevent some of our smaller items, like the perfume balms + serums from getting lost in the shuffle, so keep an eye out for an update on packaging for those little treasures coming later this season.

I've also made some small updates in the shipping materials I use, also with an eye toward reducing waste and improving my process. The newsprint and tissue paper I use are 100% recycled and I've always reused the packaging materials I receive here at the studio when I place mail orders for various things, including cardboard boxes, biodegradable packaging peanuts and paper void fill material. Anyone I receive a parcel from who is still using styrofoam always gets a note from me asking them kindly to rethink their shipping practices. This year, I also began using recyclable paper tape and biodegradable clear tape (and way less of it, because of another shift I made, details next...) from EcoEnclose. That is so completely a referral link, by the way, as I am such a fan of what they are doing and want to help spread the word. I also tried out their new recyclable paper-backed shipping labels (did you know that most shiny sticker-backing paper is not recyclable?!) and fell in love. I switched over to rolls of thermal paper, which besides being so easy to print on my little Rollo printer, also doesn't smear like inkjet printing, which means I don't need clear tape to cover the label, making our shipping boxes as recyclable as possible.

As we've gotten better at managing our compost bin system at 6&B Garden this past year (shoutout to my sweetheart, who is now an official Master Composter!), I've also begun composting all our used soft paper goods there, just a few blocks from the studio. Hygiene concerns mean that it's not always possible to use reusable towels and wipes around the studio like I do at home. I purchase 100% recycled, unbleached paper towels and tissues for the studio from Seventh Generation, which then find new life as garden soil after their use at the studio.

Still in the works, but I'm also committed to: switching the electricity at the studio over to wind power and accepting pump tops and spray tops for recycling at the studio via TerraCycle soon.

In other exciting news, I'm happy to be releasing a few new products this autumn, so be sure to follow along on our Instagram and subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to know. Speaking of our newsletter, I'm delighted to be offering two special giveaways each month (one each on the full and new moons) exclusively to our subscribers. To find out more and to get yourself entered to win, click here.

Sweetest new moon wishes to you all!

reading + listening lately

My casablanca lilies have been in bloom at 6&B Garden this week. They are one of the most divine sensory treats I know, and yet, basically impossible to extract fragrance from. Some things can only be enjoyed in the moment. Our limited-edition summer offerings (including new travel-sized minis) fit into this same category - go grab yours before the season is gone!

I'm catching up at the studio after being away for a few days, but I wanted to pop in and share a few things I've appreciated this past week.

L I S T E N I N G :

Jade from 69herbs on the Living in this Queer Body podcast with Asher Pandjiris, who describes their conversation, thus: "Jade and I speak about abelism, transphobia and purity discourses in herbalism, thoughts on unlearning binaries in the wellness world. They speak eloquently about permission to heal, within multiple, subtle and complex modalities (and at your own pace!)." Jade farms just outside of New York City and makes some truly beautiful plant medicine. Go take a peek at their shop, as well.

On repeat in the studio right now: The Source (Remastered) by Ali Farka Touré

R E A D I N G :

Maribeth's newsletter (go subscribe!)

The End of Policing by Alex Vitale. The police accountability working group of our local SURJ chapter is reading this together as part of our ongoing political ed series. Highly recommended.

Until next time...

a mini workshop at Love, Henry

I'm delighted to be teaching a mini workshop at local shop Love, Henry next week, on Thursday, April 11th from 6:30-8:30pm. We’ll each create a custom botanical balm to take home with nourishing organic oils and some of my favorite bright and uplifting spring scents, like rose geranium, bergamot, petitgrain, fresh ginger and hinoki. I’ll be sharing a little bit about the inspiration behind marble & milkweed and how I went from pastry chef to botanical potion maker, and we’ll share snacks, tea and wine. It's going to be so cozy and relaxing! Tickets are $30 and space is limited, so register ASAP via direct message over on Love, Henry's instagram (@lovehenrynyc). Can’t wait to see you there!

fresh spring vintage + open studio hours

A bouquet of fresh vintage pieces has landed in the shop!

I've added a few open studio hours to the calendar...

Tenuous progress has been made on the carnation scent I've been working on for nearly 3 years now.

I've been delighting in this tiny dried wreath gifted to me by a friend. Spring is here!

making analog beauty possible

Things have been a little quiet around here lately because I’ve been digging myself out from under a pile of nearly a decade's worth of tax paperwork and business expense receipts. The not-so-glamorous side of running a small business. Our tagline, “analog beauty” seemed like a cruel joke as I spent a truly insane amount of time digitizing and shredding faded receipts from as far back as December 2010. It all began when I started to crave a little more shelf space in our tiny tenement apartment, and my neatly organized (but space hogging) accordion receipt file collection was the first thing in my sights. When you work alone, as I still do, it’s all too easy to get so busy keeping everything going from day to day that you forget to pause, reassess and create new systems for yourself to make things easier in the long run. Digitizing one’s receipts has been fairly common practice for at least a few years now, but I was hesitant to make the switch, fearing how much time it would take. And then a few weeks ago, I decided to just dive in.

Over the years, I’ve made most of my business decisions by trial and error, and despite my passion for the analog approach, I’ve come to realize that there are a number of digital innovations that are worth embracing in order to actually be able to spend more time making things by hand. Which is what I’d rather be doing. That is the litmus test I use before committing to a new system, does it free up time for creative work? (The jury is out for me in a big way right now on that vis-à-vis social media, in case you're wondering why I've been a bit scarce in those spaces of late.) If any of you reading this happen to be in the same boat, I thought I’d share a few things that have made keeping this little enterprise afloat just a touch simpler. Full disclosure, some of the links below are affiliate links, but I would never recommend a service to you that I don’t personally use and love.

Expensify is an app that helps you organize expense receipts, and I’ve now used it to reduce my paper pile to almost nothing. Its SmartScan technology is pretty good (though not perfect) at extracting vendor names, dates and totals, and has saved me an incredible amount of time. And now that I’m in the habit, I use it to scan in receipts as I go, before they turn into a pile. You can also email digital invoices to your account and they get automatically entered into your reports. Brilliant. The individual plan I use is $4.99 per month.

Last year, after doing my own books ineptly for way too long, I switched to Bench Accounting, and it has been worth every penny not to have to worry about it anymore. All my various accounts and platforms are connected, and they check in with me here and there, and then they prepare a year-end report for my taxes. I could not be more thrilled to leave this to the experts. At first, I found it to be a little pricey, but I have managed to budget for it and have absolutely no regrets. Use this link to get a month of free bookkeeping + another free month if you decide to sign up.

It can be really hard to save money when you’re constantly reinvesting in growing your business, which is why I decided to try Digit, a sneaky little app that saves automatically for you. I now have it running on both my personal and business accounts, to save for personal travel and as a way to set aside funds for unexpected expenses at work, respectively. Digit helped me save for our trip to France two autumns ago, and is helping me build up a little cushion for the maintenance issues that are part of keeping a studio in an ancient building on NYC’s oldest thoroughfare. You can learn more here and sign up using my link. (You’ll get $5 to start when you sign up!)

These are three little shifts I’ve made over the last little while that have made a big difference in how I approach my finances, lowering the stress level significantly. I’d love to hear from you, too, do you have any digital tricks up your sleeve to help manage your finances so you can spend more time doing what you love?

(p.s. this is a photo of my jasmine plant blooming in the studio right now. It’s the first time I’ve ever succeeded in having it re-bloom in my care. Here’s what I did: repotted it and gave it a good trim in the autumn, then fed it with compost from 6&B Garden. Watered regularly, and trained it up the window into the eastern light. Voila!)

a few november notes

managed to start my paperwhites on time for once!

he's been gone two years as of Nov. 7th, and this final collection of his work was just released. beautiful. find it at your local bookshop.

i've had our autumn playlist on repeat lately, you can tune in here.
find what else we're listening to at the studio via our insta-highlights...

fortifying myself with this beautiful fresh turmeric from Norwich Meadows Farm + finding inspiration in Diaspora Co.'s new zine.

p.s. ways to help those impacted by the fires in CA

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