Artisan Spotlight: s/he studio

We're always excited to discover new artisans crafting beauty and skincare products. Today we welcome s/he studio to our collection of natural personal care. With 100% plant derived formulas and a deep connection to the ingredients, s/he offers up a ritual for your hair, face and body care. To tell us about her vision and values, we spoke with s/he's creator Dawn De la Fuente.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What made it special?

I was born on the east coast in Cranford, NJ, a typical suburban town where kids play Pop Warner sports and spend summers at the beach. It was a sweet place to call home with a strong sense of community and good family values. Though my thirst for adventure and travel pulled me away at an early age, my upbringing is what keeps me grounded no matter where I am.

When did you first start creating handmade goods?

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands from my own attempts at restoring furniture to woodworking, to learning new crafts like macramé and natural dyeing. I’m fascinated with artisanal work, especially craft rooted in culture and tradition, and the ability to create with one’s hands. s/he is a new endeavor altogether, one which I began in the summer of 2014. s/he was born out of the human connection with nature and its ability to heal and a longstanding desire to be independent from mass produced goods. It’s important for me to know the what, where, why and how behind products for personal care.

What drew you to creating beauty/skincare products? What do you enjoy most about it?

As a firm believer in self-preservation, I create products for personal wellbeing. For me, it’s about three important things: ritual, craft and nature. Time-honored traditions of all kinds are passed down between generations, often times in the form of ritual. They are then adopted by and often adapted to modern living. A personal ritual is more than routine and can provide so much from the comfort and simplicity of time to just be, to the ability to nurture and create a deeper connection with oneself. For self care, I believe in slow care and honoring oneself with intentional moments/movements throughout the day whether it be during bathing and grooming, morning coffee or tea, or the manner in which one unwinds at day’s end.

Craft is a form of art and often times descends from ritual or tradition. It is the method in which something is created, the energy put in and the energy that is shared, a beautiful process no matter the craft.

For me, nature is the foundation for all that inspires and motivates me and herbalism is what informs my process. The natural state of plants and stages of life to their physical and emotional medicinal powers is simply amazing. I’m drawn to their texture, color, scent and the ability to creatively pair plants and herbs in various forms with other ingredients from the earth.

What I enjoy most about creating with my hands is that what I create is then shared with the hands of those who use it. There’s an unspoken intimacy of sorts. I create with intention, and to know that others are using my formulations to care for themselves makes me feel good.

What is your creative process when you’re trying to create a new product?

My intention is to create all natural and organic products that are of benefit to the user, fulfilling a need more so than a want. All of what we need is in nature so it’s about utilizing what already surrounds us to provide natural self care and rather than making for her or for him, I create for s/he. The line is gender neutral and formulations are based on their herbal benefits first and foremost.

Plant medicine can be used in various forms both internally and externally for physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. With regards to topical self care, I like to explore the different forms and textures that a single plant can provide for the body, as exemplified by my use of seaweed for the body and face. Form and texture play an important role in a product's formulation.

Scent too is an important aspect as our sense of smell is such a vital part of our lives. Instead of blending ingredients to achieve a desired fragrant outcome, I prefer to allow the natural pairing of ingredients and plant medicine do the job. You’ll find that my scent profiles are rather earthy and generally evoke an emotional response typically inspired by nature. They can be both grounding and clarifying or invigorating and energizing.

All of the above informs my creative process, but what I find most important is creating the mental space to understand and connect with plants as ingredients and the benefit I am trying to achieve. Additionally, experimentation, research, an open mind and the willingness to try and err go a long way. 

How did you come up with your company's name?

Naming can be an interesting process and an important one at that. s/he is all about the person who uses it. Products are open to interpretation by the user, whether it be a woman or man, and however s/he intends to use them. I wanted my brand identity to be clean and modern with a simple indication of who it’s for [s/he] and where it comes from [nature].

Any other interesting facts or stories you’d like to share?

For me there is a bigger picture and s/he (in the apothecary form) is only part of what I aim to create. It’s my intention to facilitate more conscious living and personal wellbeing in and around the environment we create for ourselves. I’ve started with the most personal part but intend to add to this in other forms most certainly rooted in ritual, craft and nature. So stay tuned...

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