When I first began The Vibrant Kitchen & Home I had very set goals. I knew that I wanted to work with visionaries. People who wanted to truly change the face of beauty for the better. Creating products that are exquisite and luxurious without compromising the environment or our own personal health. Wildcare is a small batch, wildharvested & organic handcrafted skincare line run by a beautiful woman with a mission to create a better tomorrow. Every single product in her line is special. The Golden Hour Body Oil capturing the light of a dessert sunset. The Purple Majesty Lavender Hydrosol capturing the true essence of wildcrafted Lavender. The love and care that goes into each product is endless. Dedication. Innovation. Preservation. These are the words I would use to describe the work of Wildcare. I know all of you will love this line as much as I do, and you also fall madly in love with its creator,
Cortney Herrera. Make yourself a nice cup of tea, sit back, relax, and enjoy diving into the mind of this artist. Enjoy! xo
What inspires you daily in the world? Are there certain ingredients and herbs that make your mind come alive with ideas?
I feel continually inspired by the plant life surrounding me, no matter where I happen to be. What can I create out of the materials that are already around me? What part of my life and lives of others can these materials positively impact? These are small windows into my thinking. My formal education was in culinary arts, and I think the way I work with plants is similar to the way I work with food. I love thinking about what grows together, goes together-- which is how I developed the Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol ! They grow right next to one another in my backyard and thrive that way. After observing that strong relationship, I discovered through research that both are highly effective skin soothers for the same types of skin issues.
How did Wildcare begin? What was the catalyst for this journey?
Wildcare is the result of my playful experimentation with self-care remedies. I was frustrated after many years of living with skin maladies, more specifically, eczema on my face, and not being able to find a solution that I believed in, and that didn’t contain chemical additives. After researching this issue and its potential remedies, I found that certain hydrosols have been shown to combat a variety of skin troubles. I began distilling in my home by making a moat of plants around a bowl inside of a pot. After collecting the steam (with ice above on an inverted lid), I celebrated my first homemade hydrosol! I had tears thinking about this process’s history and that I was involved in it now. Like a chemist or a magician, I transformed matter simply using plants from my garden. Two weeks of using the Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol, my eczema was almost entirely gone. Since then, about 10 months ago, I haven’t had it return. Seeing this change, I knew it was something to share with others.
What does nature do for your soul?
Nature for me is essential to my survival. Growing up in California I used the ocean as a place to reset myself, sand under my feet, sea air in my face. When I moved to Oregon, I wasn’t sure where that place was for me anymore without being too close to the ocean. My naturopath’s prescription was as follows, “go in the woods, take off your shoes, and walk around barefoot with your feet in the dirt”. For years since, my husband and I made weekly trips into a plant-filled landscape a vital part of our well being. We would set up a radius on a map and with our eyes closed, point and go. Not only are the adventures stimulating, they allow us a designated time to reset, think clearly, be patient, and continue to be surprised by the world we are already surrounded by.
What does your creative process look like? Can you paint us a little picture of a typical day?
Overall, the morning is most productive for me. There is something so inspiring about soft morning light coming through the curtains, quiet sounds of birds, palm fronds gently rustling...I like to think of things that incorporate lesser known/ used natural plants, and at the same time, incorporate plants that so many people know, but didn’t realize could help them. I take walks, do urban foraging in the neighborhood (oranges, loquats, avocados, nopales), experiment with plants in the garden, touch everything, follow scents in the air, and create. I start just about every single day with a big glass of lemon water, an organic egg, a pile of arugula from the garden (when we’re lucky), and whatever fermented vegetables we have at that time.
If you could visit any five places in the world where would they be and why?
1 - Yucatan Peninsula/Mexico, See ruins & cenotes. See adobe homes and how the people of the land live simply and use all parts of the landscape for food & well being.
2 - Copenhagen for the immense amount of foraging - i am deeply inspired by my favorite chef, Rene Redzepi. I think what he is doing for food, can be done on many other realms like skin care + wellness.
3 - Marañon Canyon in Peru to be able to see the “lost cacao” mother tree which contains the rarest tree of true cacao.
4- Mayanmar/Burma - food & culture
5- Argentina/Patagonia - vast, complex landscape.
What makes you feel most beautiful? And what is beauty to you?
Beauty to me is when your spirit smiles - when your internal energy matches what you put out into the world...when all senses feel elevated. If sight is really an illusion anyway, we can rely on our other senses for a combined embodiment of the idea of beauty. Then, anything is beautiful. I feel beautiful when I am happy. Love makes me feel beautiful too.
Scent to me brings back memories. Are there any scents that bring you back to your childhood? Or any other special memory? Are any of them used in your line?
Scent is so precious to me! Grapefruit, has always been an intense mood enhancer when i’m feeling down. My mom would give my sisters and I grapefruit all the time when we were little with a few drops of maple syrup...The balance of citrus and sweet has always been a favorite and I devote myself to it in our Bee Rosy Clay Mask! Another strong scent memory I have is the vast spice in my dad and my pop’s cologne. Clove, amber, musk, black pepper, & sandalwood... I incorporate this influence in our Golden Hour Body Oil which contains clove + jasmine. Another vivid memory is of a honeysuckle vine at my mom’s friend’s house, smelling it for the first time when I was 8, I think. I snuck flowers off the vine and put them in my pocket. Many other scents evoke pure calm and focus for me - fresh beeswax, cedar leaves, roasted cacao, stargazer lilies, fresh vanilla bean, lemon blossoms….
What is green beauty to you?
Green beauty to me, means being conscious, accountable and knowledgeable of the sources of ingredients used. Conscious that everything I put on my skin should be the same quality of anything I would ingest. Understanding responsible wildcrafting, working with companies that I ethically relate to, and remembering to constantly educate myself on ingredients of everything I choose to consume. Think of how our choices affect the large scale. If we want to see more organic skin care in the world, we must support organic farmers and conscious makers if we are able to!
What is your favorite season?
Spring - I enjoy having reawakenings of new ideas and self-growth. I love being on the cusp of winter ending, and letting go of as much as possible, then starting with new intentions while everything starts to grow again around me.
Scent, sight, touch, taste, sound, out of our five senses which one is your favorite?
Scent! Taste! Touch! I cannot choose.
What is next for Wildcare? Anything in particular you are working on?
With Wildcare’s official launch date having been November 1st, I’m just getting started! I’m excited to see where it goes on it’s own, and who I end up connecting with because of Wildcare’s energy. I am really excited to collaborate with a special friend that is dear to my heart, which possibly will be in the spring of next year, that’s all I want to say for now about it! I want to gracefully move through the seasons and keep distilling new plants while surprising people with how distillation can transform the scent of a familiar plant. I have been working on, before Wildcare was open, to involve both my sisters, Ashley & Morgan in some very big ways with Wildcare come the new year. My dream has always been a business involving a collaborative with them, while utilizing each of our unique talents. Thinking bigger, I have also been learning different ways I can include local wilderness groups and preservation organizations on how we can connect with them to help preserve, protect, and encourage exploration & wildcrafting on public land through the use of our products. Keep on the lookout for updates on this! Many more adventures to come and plants to know!