Sunday, June 6, 2010

VET Member(s) of the Week:
kelly beth and scott of twig & leaf botanicals

hello! we are kelly beth & scott of twig & leaf botanicals, and we are slightly opposed to capital letters. (at least kelly is, and she’s typing up this interview.) scott’s the structured, mathematical one; he does our accounting and keeping track of invoices and whatnot, and keeps kelly motivated. we have lived together longer than we have been dating, and can’t wait to travel the world together. scott is currently finishing up his economics/business degree, and kelly is in college limbo. she has done 5 years of school, with 3 years off between to travel, but still has no clue what she should get a degree in at a university. what she really wants to do, she is currently doing. however, outside of university, her degree in botanical/herbal medicine is on the horizon.

When did you open your Etsy shop, and how did you choose its name?

etsy says we opened in october of ’09, but we didn’t actively start using etsy until march of this year. kelly has been creating herbal tea blends for about 4 years now, and has been selling them to a local coffee shop/bookstore here in Boulder for over 2 years.

we chose the name “twig & leaf botanicals” after months and months of combining two words together and seeing how it felt to say. twig & leaf happens to also be the name of a greasy Louisville, Kentucky diner where kelly lived for 6 years. maybe an homage to one of my favorite cities, maybe it just felt good to say. we’re okay with both.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop, and what inspired you to start creating them?

when I was little, my mother thought I would become a chemist or doctor, and my dad thought I would be a park ranger. I have always been interested in plants and their properties, and going on tours at the natural history museum, and trying to make people feel better.

this evolved into wanting to take my interest in plants and mesh that with natural health & well-being, with knowledge that many people rely heavily on chemicals to clean their home, things they can’t pronounce rubbed into their skin, and the cheapest possible option as a way of living. I wanted to give everyone access to affordable, vegan, natural options for their bodies, home, and overall daily lifestyle.

Describe the process of your work, from inspiration to completion:

making something new is all trial and error. a lot of error, much a trial. but making things, making a mess, and cleaning it all to mess it up again is pretty much my favorite thing to do. today I am making toothpaste. this will involve telling my blender everything will be okay, and scott and I brushing our teeth about 16 times before we go to bed tonight. you should have seen us trying my mud masks. hilarious. twig & leaf is my way of making a living. we’re pretty humble, and live in a small cabin at the foot of the mountains, and going to work means playing music and dancing around the kitchen for a good 6 hours, and spending another 4 hours in front of a computer. I love my job.

Why do you think it's important to buy handmade?

I have always known, not just for the economy, but for the sake of craft, that one should always buy local when possible, and always handmade. with etsy came a whole community of artists, all loving what they do, and trying to make an honest living from it, while supporting other artists. we will support (almost) anyone who’s honest and puts time, love, and knowledge into their craft.

Do you donate through your shop to any charities or do any volunteer work?

I volunteer at a local organic farm, Oxford Gardens, and we are members of the equal rights campaign, as well as the Appalachian Trail. I did volunteer at the Nederland, Colorado Mountain People’s Co-op, but don’t have the time right now to continue doing so.

Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?

we sell 6 of our herbal tea blends at the Trident Booksellers and Café in Boulder, Colorado, and are working on getting soaps in at Lolita’s Market, as well as working on our connections throughout the United States. it’s quite the process.

How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?

I have been vegan since I was 6 years old, because of health reasons, which turned into a conscious decision. scott has been vegan for 2 years now, for health and conscious reasons as well. I showed him Baraka with the baby chicks scene, before we started dating, and that tugged at his heartstrings.

What are your favorite foods?

kelly’s favorite food ever is beets! beets steamed with brown sugar, beets doused in vinegar, or just taking a good tough bite from a beet out of the garden. scott’s favorite food is anything potato. anything. oh! and guacamole. yumm

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?

we dig our Tom’s vegan stitch-outs, and we love that they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair you purchase. some of them do have leather inserts though, so always go for the vegan option! we also love to cook together. some of our favorite cookbooks are Clean Food by Terry Walters and Raw by Charlie Trotter & Roxanne Klein.. we also like the moosewood cookbooks, but they are vegetarian, not vegan, so you have to modify some recipes. all cookbooks are for ideas, really. cooking is another creative outlet for us.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

kelly loves being a kitchen witch, dancing, disappearing into the woods, reading, playing violin, and gardening, wandering around every day snapping pictures with her Diana, fisheye, and Nikon, and cannot wait for the Polaroid film to start being made again (!!!). scott likes to play guitar, be logical (he once described a french fry using algebra), read the economist, play soccer, smile and have a light heart. our days are filled with music.

Do you have any animal companions?

we have 1 rescue cat - her name is “kitty face”. she was abused for many years, and is quite the talker. she’ll yell at you for passing her, then yell at you again for not stopping to pet her, then yell at you for touching her. she means well, and is usually purring through all the yelling. kitty face is 10 years old and tiny, tiny, tiny. we love her like our child.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

i do! we are working on getting shampoos, conditioners, and 16oz glass bottles of soap nut concentrate up in the shop instead of 8ounce glass bottles, along with baby powders, hair pomade, and other vegan health & beauty goodies (including moustache wax!). we are bummed that our soap nuts are taking so long to arrive, and don’t currently have them listed in our shop, but they will be again soon!

with that, we have to water the garden before the sun comes out. thank you so much for the interview, for recognizing us, and for actually reading through it.

Much love-

Kelly Beth & Scott


Anonymous said...

we wanted to let everyone know that starting today, monday, june 7th, we will be donating 20% of our sales to the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund.

melissa bastian. said...

Oh hey, that's great! I know that Lisa of Panda with Cookie is also donating a percentage of her sales to a group working with birds down there.

Love the interview - I spent a summer living in the mountains outside of Boulder while doing an internship at CU Boulder. It's definitely a place that can inspire a love of nature!

Jessi said...

Great interview! I love getting to know other VET members! Peace!