Hello and welcome to The Llama Post. Today we chat to Brandy Monique, the fabulous lady behind natural skincare brand FIG+YARROW. Based in Denver, FIG+YARROW is a small batch, handcrafted cosmetic company, using organic botanicals and a range of natural earth elements.
Since its beginnings on Etsy, FIG+YARROW has grown tremendously, introducing people to the power of nature in cosmetics and personal care products.
Can you tell us a little about FIG+YARROW and why you founded it?
FIG+YARROW is a bit of alchemy, a bit of plant spirit medicine and a bit of herbalism that grew out of a dormant seed of knowing about such things. But was not fully ignited until embarking on those studies while having my own psychospiritual blackening process as I questioned my professional path.
That’s the deeper version I don’t offer in most interviews. Of course, FIG+YARROW is also a sensual and delicious line of bath products for health and beauty that was very much driven and informed by my love of food and living well.
Going back to its official beginning, the sort of instruction to start the line actually came to me one day in meditation. I was nearing the end of my contemplative psychology program, feeling like what next so I asked a very clear and concise question along the lines of how can I bring together all my talents and interests to serve others while also serving and enriching myself?
And, lo, the answer came so complete and clearly to me I could not question it. I literally got off my cushion and got to work then and there.
As for the why, my interest in natural beauty had been, for the most part, lifelong. As was my relationship with plants, my interest in transforming plants into beautiful and useful products and my interest in providing others something delicious that acted as a form of backdoor therapy.
When people were upset in my world, it was always my reaction to present them with something nurturing and lovely and usually delicious as well. As I found myself really not looking forward to sitting in a room hearing people’s problems day after day (as I came to anticipate as my profession at a point). I went back to that instinctual place where I saw I could offer something that encapsulated so many of the qualities I thought I could or wanted to offer as a therapist.
Where do you get the inspiration for your products?
It’s such a mix of things. Almost every product was inspired in this sort of I’m just guided by something sort of way. Some of the other products were my own spin on very basic recipes I already knew how to make and a couple were variations on very traditional recipes.
The mustard Soak, for instance, can be found in so many cultures around the world dating back to ancient times. It was used by Native Americans, ancient Greeks, and mentioned in the New Testament multiple times. The Tooth Powder as well was based on Ayurvedic tradition.
The idea is that everything should have evidence for its efficacy: either through traditional use and/or backed by contemporary science. The essential oils are chosen for their efficacy, but are blended for sense appeal. The guiding idea is that everything has to be genuinely beneficial and pleasurable to use.
How are FIG+YARROW’s products unique compared to other ‘natural’ cosmetic products on the market?
I describe my products as food for the body. I’m a person who eats for pleasure and nourishment first. Before even homeopathics or herbs, I use food as medicine.
I eat organic, fresh, highly nutritive and (good) fatty foods (for brain, skin and nervous system) and I regularly incorporate fresh herbs in my diet, not so much to treat anything, but as an aspect of flavour enhancement with the knowing they’re also beneficial to my overall heath.
This is the basic approach of my products as well. Fresh, high quality, organic ingredients. All of which are edible. That’s not an invitation, of course, but you know what your skin is drinking in is good enough to eat and actually good for you.
There’s also a spiritual angle. All of our products are made by hand and, though I don’t make them all my self these days, I’ve passed on to my staff the importance of making each batch with intention. Bottling each product knowing their energy is in each product and sending it off as a kind of prayer that the recipient truly benefit and receive those little sparkles of pleasure that make life nice. Whether it’s received or not, it’s the mind frame our products are made with that make the work so much more fulfilling and nourishing and enjoyable for us.
Can you tell us one of your ‘go-to’ herbs you could not be without?
Stinging nettles has to be my favourite. It’s very high in nutrients, good for blood purification, allergies and soothing of redness and irritation. It’s a wonderful antioxidant and antimicrobial.
I read recently it may also be used to control plant diseases in agricultural crops. There’s evidence for its ability to treat a number of skin, hair and scalp issues including baldness. You’ll find it in my Hair+Scalp Tonic, Nail+Cuticle Salve and Spring Herbal Steam.
Where do you hope to see FIG+YARROW in the coming years?
I intend to expand the product line to include so many other practically useful and delicious products that have been waiting to see their day. Opening a number of small boutiques around the world would be a dream.
People love visiting the “fig factory” and I’d love to make that experience more available in a setting where one could get more of an experiential and education as well.