Apothecary Entrepreneur, June Botanicals
What kind of bike do you ride?
An urban road bike custom-made by an old friend named Matt Hall. Schwinn frame.
How long have you been biking?
For about 12 years.
Where did you grow up and (if not Portland) what brought you here?
Reno, NV. I came here at the age of 17 to go to art school and to fall in love with the rain
In what ways do you use your bike?
Oddly I didn't bike in Portland until I had a car. Then I started to see the benefits of riding. I've always worked downtown, so it was cheaper than parking and faster than the bus. And it's really just a pleasant way to get places when the sun is out. I can remember years and years ago, my friends and I would go out dancing to soul night at the Goodfoot. We would pick each other up by bike along the way. Back then I loved wearing thick high heels and I had this tennis skirt that I liked to dance in. So I would wear some sandals to bike in, and hold onto my heels. When we got to the venue I would just lock up my sandals with my bike, throw on my heels and dance the night away.
If you could change one thing about your bike commute to make it easier or more comfortable what would that be?
I wish that Stark Street had no parking and the parking lane was turned into a bike lane…better yet, Stark Street was for bikes only.
How do you feel about helmets?
I've had a few friends pass away from car related bike accidents, and I know many that have been hit by cars. So I'm a firm believer that everyone should ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Tell us more about your career path and how it has changed over the years. What have those changes taught you?
I've always been someone who looks at the world, sees something I like, I eat a dish, go to a plant nursery, go to a music festival…you name it, and I say "well, I can do this! That looks fun!" So I usually attempt it. Some things I have not been great at: fundraising, booking bands, running a non-profit art collective. Other things I've been good at but couldn't see as a future: nanny, personal assistant, organic farming, running a food cart. And then there are the things that my heart just melts when I do them: cook/cater for small groups, paint pictures, build garden beds, and now I'm making home and beauty care products. So I guess my career path is a moving stream…I'm excited to see how my past comes out in my future.
You mentioned that you're starting an apothecary line - tell us more about this! How did this idea get started and what do you envision it looking like?
My skin is pretty sensitive and I have a lot of allergies, so over the years I’ve become hyper-aware of everything that I put in and on my body. And slowly I started to make things for myself. For a long time I just made a facial toner & bath salt mixtures, but then I just got interested in this stuff and kept going: face masks, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, face oils, creams, balms, infused medicinal oils and so on. I am always looking for good, organic beauty care products that work with my sensitivities, and I often can't find anything. So I have decided to start a line that fills that need. It's called June Botanicals and products should be available by late spring of 2014. My first products will be facial products, shampoo and conditioner. Every product is all natural, organic, vegan, cruelty free, eco-conscious and for all skin types including people with sensitivities.
How does your art school background play into your apothecary endeavors?
Art school stays with you in a way that is sort of indescribable. It's not the artwork that makes one an artist, it's in the way one sees the world. I think just about all endeavors that I pursue are very creative. With June Botanicals I have a very specific product that I'm making for people. Every aspect: the smell, texture, quality and branding are all very important to me.
You have so many beautiful plants! What's your secret to keeping them so healthy?
Plants really are pets. It's important to get to know them. By spending time watching them you slowly can get to understand what they want. They also really like being around people. I think there is an energy exchange thing that secretly goes on.
We hear you're a pretty good cook. What's your specialty?
Gosh I don't know! I love to cook so many things…pasta is a really fun thing to make for people, but I don't eat it often myself. I've been making a lot of soup lately: french lentil, curried squash, Japanese style hot pots with vegetarian dashi broth…I think I'm most famous for my chocolate-walnut cookies that I sold at the food cart I worked at, "Picnic," and my salad dressings. I have friends requesting the dressing when I come over for dinners.
Tell us about your personal style. How has it changed? (or has it?)
Oh, definitely. I've always loved fashion and dressing up and have just sort of done my own thing. I usually mix a lot of vintage things with some new things, I'm rarely into the trends. It's all based on my mood. This fall has been so sunny and lovely, all I've been wanting to wear is a lot of denim and wool with my cowgirl boots.
Do you believe in marriage?
I believe in making a serious commitment with the one that you’re completely in love with and want to spend a lifetime with. That could look many different ways. Getting officially married is just one of those ways.
Is there a song, album or book that changed everything for you? What and why?
My love affair with music has gone on for a long long while. Songs and albums are constantly changing my life!
My first realization of this was when a boy I had a crush on in 7th grade made me a mix tape. I had no clue who any of the bands were (all classic rock). I spent months searching for each song, listening to each song, dissecting the meaning… that was the beginning of my love affair. I've been haunting record stores, venues and music blogs ever since.
What is your favorite place to travel and why? How has it inspired you?
I've recently been drawn to the desert and finding hot springs. Death Valley, the Alvord Desert, the middle of nowhere in Nevada, California…you name it.
What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
When I turned 20, my best friend, Soma, had this amazing all organic chocolate cake made for me. She delivered it to my doorstep in the morning. I got to wake up on my birthday and eat chocolate cake for breakfast…THAT was the BEST!
What are five of your favorite neighborhood haunts?
Tao of Tea
Jennifer is wearing the Classic Dress in Black