Firefly Handmade Fall Market Artisan Profile - Dynamic Roots
Ever heard of “skin food”? Well that is what Dynamic Roots affectionately named their line of organic and natural skin care as they understand first hand how important it is to feed your skin right! Our skin is our body’s natural organ, absorbing 70% of what we put on top of it. These three successful entrepreneurs bring passion and an extensive education to their craft. All three have studied Permaculture Design, have worked broadly in botanicals, own additional ventures in herbalism, give back to community and know a thing or two about a food forest! Their dedication and endless enthusiasm for skincare caught our attention. We wanted to know more!
How did you begin your handmade journey?
Dynamic Roots started in Carbondale, Colorado in 2013. Dawne Vrabel and Stephanie Syson had been friends for years, and were both separately passionate about herbs. They came together to produce an herbal product line full of botanicals they each grew, formulated into effective and clean remedies for the whole family. In 2014, they brought on Kate Miller, a passionate grower and herbalist out of Boulder, Colorado. Kate became partner in 2015. The three women decided it made sense for the company to spread it’s roots on the Western Slope as well as the Front Range in order to stick to the mission of sourcing bioregionally and locally grown botanicals first.
Though we love selling at markets and getting our products into more shops around the state, we are really passionate about our Community Supported Herbalism program (CSH). This is how we really got started with creating the basics of our product line. This is a member based program, much like a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), where our members purchase a “share” of our products. For a low upfront investment, members receive four boxes per year (one box per season) of beautiful small batch handcrafted products; 5 or more seasonally appropriate remedies including teas, herbal extracts, luscious face & body creams, lip treatments, and more. People can try the program out by purchasing one box at a time, but we promise you’ll get addicted and want more goodies every season!
How has your product line developed over time?
In the beginning, it was mostly healing herbal salves, lip balms, and wonderfully nourishing face & body creams, but no herbal line is complete without healing teas, syrups, infused honeys, and an ever-growing array of other remedies suitable for each season. We have even added an herbal smoking blend to help folks quit smoking cigarettes, to enjoy around a campfire, or to use ceremonially as a way to honor the plants. We intently listen to the feedback from our customers and CSH members, and are constantly perfecting the formulas with the most nourishing plants we can grow and ethically wild harvest. Inspired by the medicines we ourselves turn to everyday for stress, acute/chronic illness, and other issues, we aim to bring those medicines to the people in a way that feels simple, accessible, and easy to incorporate into daily rituals.
What materials do you work with & why?
All of our Dynamic Roots botanicals are grown in a way that mimics nature, resulting in a potent harvest and a healthier garden and farm system over time. Whatever we can’t grow ourselves, we source from other organic or biodynamic farmers.
In the apothecary, we use only 100% organically grown and sourced materials, so you can trust that everything from the Fair Trade Raw Shea Nut Butter to the Essential Oils - were sourced organically, ethically, and with reverence for the planet.
What inspires your work?
Our work is inspired by a love for the plants and for nature. Our wish is to empower health in a way that is aligned with nature’s wisdom. We are mothers, teachers, healers, and earth lovers. An integrated approach to healing means that every step of the way we are considering how our work affects our own health, the health of our families and communities, and the health of the planet.
What excites you for the future?
We are excited by the willingness of more and more people to embrace nature’s healing potential by turning to herbal medicines first. We are excited to grow more herbs every year and to encourage others to do the same, knowing that collaboration & education are the only real means of ensuring that the herbal medicine industry remains authentic and deeply connected to a sense of ecological stewardship.
Any advice for makers and entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Remember to commit to a ritual of self-care so that whatever you’re bringing into the world feels connected and fulfilling.
If you have a strong partnership with a non-profit org, what is it and what inspired you to do this?
We all do a lot to give back to our local communities through teaching/education, volunteer programs, and more. Stephanie and Dawne are both very involved in the Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as a variety of issues around sustainability. Kate regularly offers free workshops, healing services, and plant walks with a wonderful non-profit called The Holistic Homestead, an organization based in Gilpin County that’s all about connecting people with healers and empowering folks to be agents of their own health. As a company, we regularly make donations of medicines to various causes for auction and fundraising events. Visit our website to find out more about what we do when we are not growing and making medicine.
Can you please provide insight into the vocation of Permaculture Design Teacher?
All three of us, Dawne, Stephanie, and myself have been involved in the Permaculture community for more than a decade. Stephanie and Kate teach Permaculture Design Courses throughout Colorado. Kate is currently finishing up her most recent course with the educational non-profit Boulder Permaculture, a through the seasons course offered one weekend per month for 7 months. We are opening up registration for our 2018 course very soon.
Permaculture is a holistic design science combining modern innovations and technology with ancient concepts and practices to go beyond what’s just sustainable and create systems that are regenerative. We hear the word sustainable all the time nowadays like it’s the end goal, but it’s only half way where we really want to be. To sustain is to “stay as things are”, but to regenerate is so much more.
Kate, can you please talk about your work with Lyme Disease?
I have had Lyme disease for 20+ years but was formally diagnosed less than three years ago. It’s the epidemic of our generation, and is still being ignored and improperly diagnosed by the majority of medical professionals. I use herbs as my primary form of medicine, as antibiotics are typically not effective against what’s known as “late stage” or “chronic Lyme”. Lyme disease is known as the great imitator, mimicking symptoms and even acting as potential cause or complicating factor in many illnesses from MS to dementia. Everyday in my life is an opportunity to embrace nature and nature’s healing potential, knowing that it’s only domesticated animals and humans who exhibit symptoms of Lyme, and that wild animals, who may still have the Lyme bacteria in their bodies, do not exhibit symptoms. It motivates me to get outside as often as possible and to buck the conventional approach that it’s something we have to “kill”. Rather, for me, it’s been about nourishing my body’s innate immunity, strength, and truly touching into what I need. Learning to live with Lyme has been a major challenge in my life and my family’s life, but also a major gift in my work with herbs and in helping other people.
Why do you call your products "skin food'? Why is feeding our skin an important habit to employ?
We call it skin food because your skin is your body’s largest organ, absorbing 70% or more of what you put on it. That means if you’re using toxic or burdensome skin care products, you are absorbing more than half of what is on that ingredient label.
Whatever you absorb through your skin, must then be processed and eliminated by the liver and other detoxification pathways of the body. The last thing any of us need in this day and age, is for our livers to be doing extra work, so loving on your skin is the same as loving on your liver (and the rest of your body). If there is more than one ingredient you can’t pronounce or that you’re not sure the source, we encourage you to rethink using it on your skin or your children’s skin! We have more options for natural and organic skin nourishment now than ever, and it’s time to make the switch to better ingredients. Using whole organic botanical ingredients on our skin in addition to eating a healthy diet is giving our bodies everything it needs to glow from the inside out.
A lot of our visitors at the markets have little ones. Can you talk more about Boo Boo Balm and Bug Off?
Every mom needs Boo Boo balm in her purse or diaper bag! This wonderful salve is all you need for minor cuts and scrapes, irritated skin, dry hands, chapped lips, or any boo boos that happen to you or your kiddos. We use a base of organic and biodynamically grown herbs harvested at their peak, infuse them into soothing organic base oils, and blend with raw Colorado beeswax to create a super soothing and easy to apply balm.
Our Bug Off Balm was born out of a need to keep those biting insects away without all the nasty chemical laden bug repellants that contain Deet and other chemicals proven to be bad for our health. Bug Off works through a proprietary blend of aromatic herbs & essential oils such as Lemongrass, Catnip, Peppermint, & Eucalyptus.
What is your favorite product right now? Why?
Kate is loving the Rest & Digest Tea for its gut healing and stress reducing properties. Steph is loving the new Goddess and Forest Body Oils for giving that little bit of soothing self-care. Dawne is loving our new Nourishing Face Serum to give that lit from within glow.
Can you give us a sneak peek on what type of products you plan on developing next?
Right now, our Goddess and Forest Body Oils, as well as our Happy Head Tea and Nourishing Tea are only available at markets, but all of these are soon going to be released on our web shop for those of you that can’t get enough! We also hope to add more products for men soon. In the meantime, almost all of our products are blended with unisex and kid friendly essential oils, so that you can find something for everyone.
Why are you proud to be a Firefly Handmade Market artisan?
We love working the Firefly Handmade Markets because we get to meet and mingle with so many other wonderful local artisans. It’s a great way to interface with the community, letting them get to know us and our creative process. We are all about supporting other local artisans and being a Firefly artisan means we get to meet more folks who, like us, are making amazing, useful, and beautiful products while giving back to the community they live in.
We're thrilled to have Dynamic Roots join us at Firefly Handmade Fall Market at the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest - Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17. Come by to see their wonderful hand-made wares in person. In the meantime you can connect with them here:
Urban Farm Podcast - Kate Miller on Bioregional Herbal Medicine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60LdUT0UAMg
Grow Up show with Stephanie Syson https://vimeo.com/215240076