Today, we bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor, Flora & Fauna Artisanal Skincare. In Yolande's words:
"Flora & Fauna Artisanal skincare: 100% natural, hand-crafted, bio-compatible paleo skin and body-care products for the whole family, from skin potions for glowing gorgeous skin, to fluoride-free tooth care alternatives to support remineralization. Everything is made using the highest quality raw materials, and we donate 5% of our profits to organizations that support sustainability initiatives.
SouleMama: Tell us about the beginning of your business.
Yolande: I was born in Vancouver, but I fell in love with my husband, the Japanese pottery tradition, and the backwoods of New Brunswick (near Maine) all at the same time. We have 3 children, and we divide our time between a couple of homes, a 100 year old church which we have converted into a residence and studios, and our little ancient farmhouse in the country.
What does this have to do with skincare you ask?! I actually started making skincare products after my first pregnancy in 1999, when I became hyper-aware of nutrition and environment and how these can impact our health, and specifically the health of my babies. I realized at that time that even many supposedly natural products often contain ingredients that might not necessarily be optimal. I just couldn't find a line of skincare and body-care products that lived up to my incredibly high standards in terms of raw materials and production processes. Flora & Fauna comes from 10 or so years of experimentation, after family and friends started asking me to make potions for them as well.
A big influence on Flora & Fauna as a business has been my research and work in the field of nutrition, and my passion for whole, real foods. Seven years ago, my husband was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, and we found that his body responded extremely positively to an approach to eating that loosely falls in the primal/paleo category. Flora & Fauna is botanical-based, and while you'll notice that we never test on animals, we do actually include some animal products in our formulations, for their fantastic properties, including emu oil and duck oil--which come from animals raised holistically and compassionately for food in my rural community. The calendula I use in our healing balm I grow myself, and I'm working on growing more of the ingredients that we use.
In addition to Flora & Fauna, I am a professional ceramic artist, birth attendant and writer, and my husband and I homeschool our 3 kids. This may sound a little bit nutty (it is!) but it's also just an incredible privilege to be able work from home, involve our kids in all that we do, and create a dynamic, fruitful life. It's quite fantastic to be able to spend a day out in the forest covered in dirt and cutting wood for our pottery firings, and then to to be able to retreat the next day into the Flora & Fauna studio where everything is pristine, to work with essential oils making gorgeous potions. Hand-crafts are, I think, increasingly important, poignant and transformative, especially in this day and age of digital connection, reproduction and "reality".
Flora & Fauna has also been an interesting journey in terms of my sense of self as a woman, and a mother, and a not-young not-old person (I turn 33 next year). I have always felt ambivalent about the "beauty industry" and a lot of the concepts that our culture holds about what it means to be beautiful, to be youthful. Flora & fauna is really been an expression of my most fundamental beliefs regarding health and wellness: dignity and gorgeousness in aging, and honouring the individual, natural and imperfect beauty that we all possess.
Yolande: Oh Gosh. Well, staying motivated and inspired seems to come fairly easily to me. There is just so much going on, and I am never lacking for new ideas and projects. The challenge for me has always been in paring down and streamlining! I can honestly say that being a parent and having the privilege of homeschooling and involving our kids in almost every aspect of our lives is inherently inspiring.
Avoiding burnout is another story though. Our family has actually had a particularly challenging year, and this has caused me to reevaluate the way I have been approaching life and work in many ways. But while I don't always succeed in keeping it together, there are a few ground rules I have found to be very helpful:
Write it down: I write absolutely everything down (evernote!), and I try as much as possible to keep a schedule and to plan our days. Everything flows better when we have a plan--pretty much essential while homeschooling littles, making art, and running a business.
Daily nature walks in the morning: necessary. When these are missed, breakdowns happen much more frequently.
Sleep & movement: I try to get my 8 hours, and I always set my alarm for 5am, so I can fit in my daily Pilates routine and have time to myself. Otherwise, I tend to get (ahem) a little bit irritable.
The game: I try to remember that life is a game, and that the point of the game is, Everybody wins. I want everyone to win in my immediate family, and I want my community to win, and I want our global community to be winning. When I can keep this concept at the forefront as I am going through my day, I am able to respond much more calmly and open-heartedly to all the inevitable messes and the fun.SouleMama: What does 'being creative' mean to you?
Yolande: Being creative is a given. We are all creating at every moment. The conundrum (sometimes) is what and how we are choosing to create. The creative force is inherent in every human action or endeavour. I make things, and I am an artist, and I have lots of ideas about art and objects and value and love. But ultimately, a positive creativity begins when we envision the kind of life we want, and who we are in the world, and then move towards that with a sense of purpose and possibility.SouleMama: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
Yolande: A person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which, and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both. --Lawrence Pearsall Jacks (Philosopher, English teacher, Unitarian minister, 1860-1955)
For today's giveaway, Flora & Fauna Artisanal Skincare is generously offering the following gifts to TWO winners:
~ Winner #1: Skin potion package (Skin Elixir & Bio-Serum) plus a bottle of our SuperNatural Sun-Guard oil for sun exposure
Winner #2: Tooth care package, consisting of Peppermint Happy Teeth Tooth Cleanser, Cranberry-Mint Toothpaste, and our Oil Pulling Potion.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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To enter today's giveaway, please leave a comment (one entry per person, please) in today's post. I'll close comments by 8 am EST on Monday, and announce the winners, chosen via Random Number Generator, shortly after. Comments closed! The winners are:
Thanks for the introduction to this great business! Will definitely go check it out!
Posted by: Katy
Such a lovely giveaway and philosophy! thank you!
Posted by: margaret
Thank you, Flora & Fauna Artisanal Skincare!