Plant To Body Skincare by Oxalis Apothecary
Oxalis Apothecary is about the joy of nature and all it has to offer. Oxalis' founder, Erin Wexstten believes that taking care of your skin and well-being should be uncomplicated and uncompromising. Her apothecary company was born in Brooklyn, New York out of a long-time love of body care, an obsession with the psychology of scent and a desire to create safe and effective natural products. All of the products are 100% natural, enriched with premium plant based oils, herbs and minerals, ethically sourced ingredients and handcrafted in small batches. Erin now lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. We are thrilled to welcome Erin and Oxalis Apothecary to the shop! Learn more about Erin's background below and shop the collection here.
What's your background? Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from rural Southern Illinois. I lived my entire life in one house, surrounded by lush woods and wild nature and it instilled a deep appreciation and stillness in me. But, I’d always been a “city girl” at heart and from there, I attended the University of Cincinnati and graduated with a degree in Fashion Design. That career led me to many different cities, working on 5 internships in NYC, Columbus, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Paris. I finally landed in NYC in 2007, spent nearly a decade living in Brooklyn with my partner, Yuri, and finishing my fashion career at the Baby Gap in November 2015.
In a few words, how would you describe your work?
Quality, effective, approachable, and beautiful :)
Why did you open Oxalis Apothecary? Any meaning to the name?
Skincare has always been a huge part of my life and the ritual was instilled in me at an early age from my mother and grandmother. They taught me to always take care of my skin and take pride in self care. As I started educating myself on what products I was using, I began switching to all natural products and welcomed many natural brands into my routine. The official launch was in June 2015 after 7-8 months of developing the formulations, creating the labels and branding, setting up photoshoots and building the website. I’ve done everything from the beginning on my own, with help of my fellow coworker and good friend from the Gap who worked on the label design with me. I built the website, set up the LLC, hand poured and labeled every single product and put it out into the world. It was a very exciting time and I didn’t know what would happen but I knew I was passionate again for the first time in a long time so I went for it. The products were helping me deal with skin issues, severe migraines, anxiety, and stress and I wanted to share what was finally stirring something incredibly positive up in me. The name comes from the plant Oxalis, which is a large genus of plants that grow all over the world. A few of my favorites are Oxalis Triangularis which look like butterflies and the common 3 leaf heart shaped shamrock which grow wild in the woods as well sidewalk cracks. I just think they’re so resilient and beautiful, they don’t discriminate where they grow, don’t need much care and understated as far as flowering plants go. Plus, they mean joy in the language of flowers and this brand was built around joy.
What's the best thing about running a small business?
Being your own boss and creating and running something that you built on your own is pretty exhilarating. I’m proud of the success of this brand and I’m just so honored others are celebrating alongside me. I love that I can have a flexible schedule, and after a decade of a corporate 9-5 lifestyle, it feels like I got my life back in some way. My family is a huge part of my life and my father suffers from Frontotemporal Dementia, and this career allows me to take time off and be with them. I also love the natural beauty and wellness community, it’s so supportive. I think community over competition is key and there is room for all of us, we should be celebrating others wins as well as our own. Running a small business is tough so the more support the better!
Can you tell us about some of your favorite natural ingredients you use? Why do you love them?
Ohhh, so so many! One of my all time favorites is Jojoba Oil, which mimics the skin's natural sebum (texture) and is packed with Vitamin E. Another key carrier oil I use is Rosehip Oil. I always use unrefined Rosehip Oil, rich in essential fatty acids that help aid dry, irritated skin and is known to have anti aging properties. One of my favorite dried herbs I use is Calendula, which I infuse in organic Olive Oil and use in all of the Body Oils and Sea Salt Scrub. I love Aloe, Rose hydrosol, naturally mined clays and I am a sucker for Jasmine! It is my favorite scent and I hope to incorporate it into even more products down the road.
Dream project / future plans?
Good question! Right now, this is my dream project so I’m going to keep riding the wave for a bit. I often daydream about a brand that incorporates my previous fashion design background, so perhaps a store or a small line of clothing. I joke with my partner that I just want to distill essential oils and hydrosols when I’m old and live in the woods again somewhere. We’ll see where this adventure takes us!
Favorite artist(s) in any field, living or dead?
Oh, this is so hard! To be honest, I’ve been incredibly inspired by the amazing artists the local museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, brings in. They’re from all over the South and it’s always such a beautiful curation. I highly recommend you check it out!
What's the first thing you ever remember making?
I made my Feel Good Potion many years ago, sometime in 2014? I was suffering with severe optical migraines and it was seriously affecting my life and work. It’s still a lifesaver and one of my best selling products. I’ve also been making my own deodorant for about that long as well. I have perfected the recipe but it’s been difficult to make in bulk so I’m not sure it will ever be released but you never know.
You live in the wonderful city of New Orleans. How does your environment impact your work?
New Orleans has my heart in so many ways. I fell in love with this place in 2013, having wanted to visit for so many years. The moment I felt the palm tree breezes, got hit with wafts of jasmine and gardenia, and danced in my first second line, I knew this was where I wanted to be. Having grown up in nature, I think it was important for me to be back somewhere lush and and New Orleans certainly is. It’s an inspiring place for sure and the hustle here is real. Most people work many jobs, supporting themselves as freelancers and entrepreneurs. I find that very inspiring and the city has really embraced me and my brand, for which I am forever grateful.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
My best advice is keep it simple. Focus on what you’re most passionate about and take your time building the brand. Make it yours, make it unique, but know that you need to be flexible along the way. You WILL hit roadblocks, everyone does. You WILL come out of it if you are determined and willing to accept that it’s hard but ultimately, worth it. Business is an ebb and flow, there are constant demands and you’re only human. Be kind to yourself, don’t forget to celebrate your wins and always, always remember to have some fun along the way.