Mary Kearns of Herban Lifestyle resides in the Washington, DC area with her husband, 2 children and pet rabbit. She spends half her time on her Etsy business and the other half Â working for a consulting firm in the scientific review of cancer prevention programs.
How did you get started in your chosen craft and what do you enjoy most about it?
I originally started creating herbal bath products about twelve years ago, when I sent away for a kit. It was so much fun that I began creating my own formulas and researching the properties of various ingredients. People responded well to my products, and I started selling them online and at my local farmers market. Life got hectic, and I let my company go, returning to just making my products for myself, friends and family. Â But in early 2008, I started formal herbalism studies, and it inspired me to re-start my business.
Where does the magic happen? I cook up all of my creations in my kitchen. Since I make everything in small batches to ensure their freshness, there are usually not large quantities of items being processed at any given time. Itâ€™s more like a constant stream of items! My storage area is an important part of the process. I keep everything stored in my finished basement.
How has crafting impacted your life?
It makes my life complete! I think about new scents, ingredients, colors and designs all the time. I love the creative process and discovering new things I can work on. In addition, I have met an incredible group of people through Etsy, as well as the thriving and active crafting community in the DC area. As I do a wider variety of craft shows, it has given me an excuse to discover the wonders of various cities that I might not have otherwise visited.
And, because half of my time is spent using my brain in a very structured, scientific way, it is nice to use my creativity. It creates the perfect balance.
I am working on an alter-ego brand, Snarkyama, which is a more playful version of my company. I still hold the same principles, but it has a different personality. The brand was launched at the end of March, and through the end of April, 100% of the proceeds will go to Save the Childrenâ€™s Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami Fund.
How do you make your craft or Etsy store eco-friendly?
Iâ€™ve always made it my mission to run a completely sustainable business. I offset 100% of my companyâ€™s carbon footprint through the purchase of windpower RECs, all of my products are packaged in recyclable containers, and the labels are printed on 100% recycled paper. I never use synthetic fragrances, artificial colors or preservatives, petroleum-based ingredients, parabens, SLS, GMO’s or anything else that is bad for your health and the Earth. For a full list of my sustainable practices, you can visit myÂ Green Lifestyle page.
Iâ€™d say the most Earth-friendly purchase I have made is a solar stove! However, it got lost in my move to DC a few years ago L Since then, my favorite purchase was our rain barrel. We use it to water our garden throughout the summer.
In one word, describe your creative process.
Where else can you be found online?
Website *10% of all proceeds (from both my shops) go to non-profits that benefit people and the planet.