How did you come up with the name Living Libations?
Upon meeting Ron, some nights we would stay up till dawn, imbibing essential oils, drinking exotic elixirs, and sinking into a world of luscious libations. It was on a night like this that Ron became impassioned about working together, and wondered what would we call this venture. The name Living Libations rolled off my tongue and a whole new era begun.
The word “libations” means an outpouring of nectar in honour of a deity, and essential oils are the living, intelligent joy-juice of plants. Our creations are a living libation, formed to adore and adorn every pore.
What drove you to start your business?
By the time I was eighteen years old, I was getting renegade about what I was going onto and into my body. I was determined to make the purest body care for myself and aromatic essences brought a new dimension of delight to my life. I was bewildered by essences, by the sweet sweat of the elements. Essential oils drew me to their aromatic attention. It was an elation to be in the ambience of their aura, to create with the micro-world of a drop and transform it into a topical revelry or medicinal muse, and to paint perfumes from this palette of perfection. I was in earthly heaven. I searched and I divined for any ancient recipe I could find. In my university years, I collected every essential oil book and every rare copy of eighteenth-century perfume and alchemical-preparation books I could unearth. When I read about rare oils, such as honey-scented immortelle, I had to find it to inhale. I was compelled to gather and to smell after reading about ancient unguents: Rhodium made of roses, Narcissinium made from narcissus, and balsamic Kyphi, which would allay anxiety and brighten dreams. I had to re-create these ancient opulent ointments to catch a whiff of what life was like. I was impelled to feel the fragrant textures that were plump with pigments and dripping with dense aromatics.
So I gathered goods from far and wide. I melted and poured. I distilled and decanted. I mortared and pestled resins of frankincense and myrrh with galbanum’s green notes and Douglas fir complete with Arabic gum to roll incense. I concocted honeyed perfumes and practical potions. I made aqua oleums and brewed medicinal balms of bergamot and ointments of osmanthus. If a plant was extinct, I searched for the modern equivalent, which led me to in-depth studies of botanical-constituent chemistry. The intimations of my spirit were stirred as I played with the poetry of plants past and present, and the ethers of my mind prayed to be infused with the scented stories written on the walls of the universe. I imagined the incensed hieroglyphs that have infused interstellar heavens, the lore and liniments of love wines, the tales of aromatic chrisms that have been consecrated, and the molecular mantras that mesmerized and tantalized the inner recesses of our minds.
What has been the most satisfying part of your business?
Thousands of people have come to us with their health and beauty questions. These people are distraught with dilemmas, and the nature of their questions is complex. A most satisfying part of creating Living Libations is helping people resolve challenging issues with their skin, teeth and gums, and well-being. We frequently hear back from people who, after using Libations for a few months, are falling in love with their skin again. They feel free and confident to go without foundation, for example. I love that Living Libations can help people regain confidence to face the day and shine in the feeling of their skin.
What was the best and worst job you had before founding your own brand?
I began formulating with essential oils at 18 years and opened a bricks and mortar store 4 years later where I offered a full range of essential oils, skin care serums, and a perfume blending bar, so luckily, I had an early focus and less time for unrelated jobs. Though, I did wait tables to get through university.
At Living Libations, in between my jobs as jasmine-inhaler and frankincense formulator, I have fulfilled a range of roles from being head moppist to proprietor of packing boxes!
Do you have a background in chemistry or herbology?
Plants are cosmic-chemists, endlessly assembling the molecules of the world, and we live by the grace of this assembly. My life has been a total immersion in aromacology, in beautiful botanical essences, and they continue to teach me so much about health, beauty, and immunity. Creatively compounding with plants is second nature to me; my hands serve at the pleasure of plants and flowers, the original teachers of essences and oils.
What is your superpower and your spirit animal?
Synesthesia is my superpower, so every aroma is a fantasia of colour for me. Aromas are painted in my mind’s eye. What is the movement of the blend: narrow or sharp? Do the pink petals need highlighting, the chamomile’s blue hue and cardamom greens need widening? Would a drop of silver fir alight the interior? Smell, inhale, add, adjust, and tune. Swiftly, slowly, and so on until the aroma is released, ready to have a unique union upon adornment.
My spirit animal is Angel, our Samoyed. She is wild and free, yet she effortlessly straddles two worlds: nature and civilization. She is endlessly joyful, fully present and fully ready for fun at every moment. She is a beautiful, furry well of love, and I admire her greatly.
Where do you mainly source your ingredients and what type of criteria do they have to follow?
We need the whole globe to grow the bevy of botanicals required for our superstar creations. Our artisan and family distillers carefully capture the essence of organically grown or wild crafted plants so that we may offer the most exquisite and authentic self-care elixirs to devoted botanical connoisseurs. We look for single source ingredients that are the purest of the pure. Beyond passing our lab testing with flying colors, every essence, every rose, must be sniffed by my nose.
Any upcoming exciting launches you can share with us?
New Libations creations are always on the burner. Currently, we have a new candle coming out called Camp that is reminiscent of a Canadian boreal campfire. We also have a lovely new version of our best-selling Open Sky Eye Serum in a new silky sheer serum that sinks in like a demulcent dew on skin.
When developing new products how long does it take to go from concept to shelf?
Living Libations offers an extensive range of lifestyle creations from perfumes to toothpaste, from yoni serums to probiotics, so the timeline for each product’s conception and birth varies.
I feel like my creation-equation looks something like this: envisioning + synesthesia + mediation = creation
And then, when inspiration effervesces and my fingertips tingle to create, I surround myself with beautiful bottles of botanicals and bring formlessness into form.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself and the brand?
In five years I see us as we are today: ever-blooming, crafting creations, meeting new plants, distilling time-tested treasures, cultivating growing projects, and further serving the full community of people that love Libations with excellent formulations, information, education, and client care.
Other than your own brand, what are some of your favourite beauty brands?
- Sun Potion
- Shiva Rose
- Moon Juice
If you could only choose 1 product from your range which one would it be and why? (I know it’s hard!)
That is hard! Almost impossible… The short list would be the Libation creations that complete me any day of the week and the products I would grab for a weekend getaway: Rose Best Skin Ever and Rose Glow Serum for skin head to toe, Neroli Poetic Pits to charm underarms, Happy Gum Drops Toothpaste and Ozonated Gel for optimized oral care, and True Blue Shampoo and Honey Myrtle Crème Conditioner for my hair.