Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane Anderson.
Jane, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been making & creating natural skin care products for over 20 years. From playing around with naturally tinted lip balm to creams, lotions and face washes, my interests ran the gamut and my test subjects were all friends and family. Elderwood Apothecary (formally known as Stinging Nettle Apothecary) is my second natural skincare business and it started back in 2012 when I opened my clinic practice where I saw people looking to improve their health through using nutrition and herbal remedies.
In the fall of 2013 while working at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe, I was asked by my friend and employer to make a knitter’s balm like I used to so many years prior for a different yarn shop. And the rest is history. I formulated Yarn Balm and sold it at the shop and then broadened my customer base to include yarn shops all around the country. Last year I rebranded and changed the name of my business and renamed Yarn Balm to Maker’s Hand Relief. I came to find that this name brought more inclusivity for all crafts. Even though I was always open to my balm being for everyone that worked with their hands, I realized that a name says a lot when it comes to branding, so a change was needed.
This rebrand has been so well received. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely the right choice. Earlier this year, I launched my Lip Balm, which has been a goal of mine for years, and I’m so thrilled to have been able to bring it to market. I am so fortunate to have the wholesale and retail customers that I have. They have been so wonderful in their continued support and excitement for my products. Instagram has been a huge force in the growth of my business and the people I have met, both as customers and fellow business owners, have made me be a better business owner and maker. Their feedback and stories of how my products have helped them have been inspiring and kept me going on the good days and the challenging days.
Creating a better world through crafting is at the foundation of my business. Whether you knit, crochet, weave, embroider, weld, create jewelry, throw clay or build furniture, the process of working with our hands to create something that is an expression of our heart and soul is what drives so many of us to get up each morning. We all have gifts to share, and one of mine is to create amazing skincare products that take care of your most precious tool – your hands.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have been many struggles over the years, from my running my very first skincare business and coming to the decision to close its doors to struggles in product development, sourcing labels and my rebrand. But I wouldn’t change any of it. I have learned so much from mistakes made or situations that turned out differently than expected. But all of it has made me a better and maybe a bit wiser business owner. My rebrand, though the right choice, was not something that I planned on doing back in 2018. But the road leads me to that place on the business path and I couldn’t be more happier in the decision I made. Through the rebrand, I went back and tapped into why I have this business and what I want to put out in the world. Who am I and what does my business represent. My business now — the name, the logo, my products represent me more than what I had created before. It is just an ever-evolving creature really. It wasn’t easy, but all the work and struggle was worth it.
Please tell us about Elderwood Apothecary.
I’m the owner and sole maker at Elderwood Apothecary, where I create handcrafted skincare products. Currently, I make Maker’s Hand Relief, a hand balm that is formulated especially for the maker, and a Lip Balm. I hand pour every balm and label every tube. My product packaging and labels are 100% compostable, as are all shipping materials that are used. My goal is to reduce the waste that I create both in my personal and business life. I’m not sure I will ever get to completely zero waste, but I’m keeping that as a goal to strive for.
There are many reasons that play into why I chose the business name I did. One is that the fruits and flowers of the Elder tree are amazing medicine. Two is because I have a deep-seated soulful love of trees. And three, because in myth, the Elder tree is thought to be at the gates of the underworld, and in addition to being a Clinical Herbalist, I am also a Death Midwife. This business bridges my skincare business with the work I do with death and the dying. I’ve volunteered in hospice for a few years and I work on educating others how aromatherapy can support the dying process and give comfort to the dying and their families. Both work passions can fit under the branches of this one business, which is really the business of caring for others, whether that is making products that help people take better care of their hands and lips. To helping to care for others that are crossing the threshold and holding space for the ones that are left behind.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Nothing. I have learned a lot. And all the experiences both good and bad have brought me where I am today with my business.
- Website: www.elderwoodapothecary.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @elderwoodapothecary
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elderwoodapothecary
Chris Stark Photo, Longmont, CO