On this week’s edition of Meet the Maker, we’re excited to introduce apothecary artisan Brandy Monique of FIG+YARROW. Brandy makes small-batch, organic health and beauty products in her Denver studio… and her line is amazing. We’ve fallen head over heels for her lip balms, face masks, bath oils and more.
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m an Earth lover, a lover of aesthetics and a born maker, entertainer and entrepreneur. I feel my most substantive proclivities lie in the bringing of the intangible into the tangible world. The greatest sense of fulfillment for me comes from working with my hands, witnessing ideas physically manifest and giving those ideas to the world in whatever form. My background is quite diverse: film, photography, writing, puppetry, fashion, various forms of art mostly focused on the repurposed and ephemeral… Just prior to launching FIG+YARROW, I was a student of Contemplative (Buddhist-inspired) Psychology and an independent color consultant (for interior and exteriors of buildings).
Why did you decide to start FIG+YARROW?
I’m pretty sure FIG+YARROW decided to start me. I knew I wanted to elevate people and more than just the handful I could fit into my appointment book. I knew I wanted to be creatively dexterous and continue using my hands. I’d just taken my seat to meditate one morning with a simple question in my mind: what can I do next that would combine all of my interests and skills for the benefit of myself and others? Well, ask and you shall receive. It all poured into my awareness without a stutter, including the name, FIG+YARROW.
In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.
Making raises vibration.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get very excited about what’s happening around me… what others are doing and how they do what they do. That does inspire me to do more and improve upon what I do. Problems and challenges of all kinds also inspire me. I love a good challenge because there’s always a creative solution. There are many days I spontaneously head to the hills for a good reset. The Colorado mountains are my refuge and another source of inspiration. Thinking about nothing is one of my greatest pleasures. Especially since it always leads to a stream of wonderful and inspiring ideas that invigorate and motivate me to the core.
What does the making process look like for you?
I created most of my current line in a very short amount of time. The initial formulations came in steadily until I had a decent lineup of products to present. Then there was the repetitive making of those formulations. It gave me an opportunity to perfect those formulations. At this point, it’s just too much for one person. I’ve since passed on the batch making to my Kitcheneers who I continue to work with as far as technique and little ingredient tweaks. I still formulate though I now consider myself more a director of the theatre of FIG+YARROW.
How do you come up with different products and scents?
The products I designed for Brit + Co., for instance, were very much informed by the Brit aesthetic, flavor and concept: bright colors, sugary sweet food porn, DIY… Because it was to be released in Spring/Summer, I opted for a body scrub which would be perfect for priming skin for that gradual yearly shedding of clothing. The essential oil blends—again, informed by the Brit flavor and return of more colorful seasons—were developed to aromatherapeutically uplift and renew as well as benefit the skin and underlying tissue.
What is your favorite material to work with?
It’s less one material and more the combination and interactivity of materials that is my favorite. When more — and more fickle — ingredients become involved, interesting things can happen. Failures can happen, but so can innovative solutions and novel product ideas.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Find your own expression. It’s so fulfilling to cultivate something uniquely your own. The rewards are so much more delicious. You are equally endowed as all the rest with the ability to create something uniquely different from the rest.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
With my hands constantly in product development and creative direction, my current work provides plenty of creative opportunity of various kinds. It’s what I desired and what I got with this venture. So, at the end of a creatively nourishing and creatively demanding day or week, I tend to prefer indulging in more mindless and less creative things like simply laying on my back and looking at the sky or hiking or exploring the hills.
What’s up next for FIG+YARROW?
Lots of exciting things! I’ll be rolling them out steadily over the coming months. You’ll just have to keep in touch to see.