Alexander Kummerow and Julia Wills were onto something when they created natural beauty brand Herbivore Botanicals. The husband and wife cofounders started out by making natural soaps in their Seattle kitchen, but just for fun. The couple then began to sell their products at the local farmer's market, followed by an Etsy shop. The rest is, well, history. They secured shelf space at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, and you can now spot their formulas at your nearest Sephora, as the brand has made its rise to the top. And for a good reason too. With ingredients ranging from French pink clay to Brazilian gemstones, Herbivore combines essential vitamins and minerals to bring skin back to life.
We recently caught up with Alex and Julia, and they gave us the low-down on their wedding, as well as some bits on natural beauty.
1. What was the overall vibe of your wedding?
The overall vibe of our wedding was very intimate, casual, and close to nature. Less than 50 people. We got married at Volunteer Park in Seattle underneath a giant cedar tree where we walked on our first date. Being in Seattle, you can never be quite sure on the weather, so an outdoor wedding is risky. It rained for days before and for days after, but, fortunately for us, the sun was shining all day on our special day!
2. Julia, what was your skin-care regimen leading up to the big day?
I kept to my usual skin-care routine and was careful not to introduce anything new. Also, since my skin is very reactive to stress and tends to break out in response to it, I tried to stay calm and take a lot of time to myself leading up to the big day, as I know this is what keeps my skin looking its best. I think a big mistake people make is getting a new facial, trying out some “fancy” new products, etc. right before a big event, which can cause more harm than good if your skin doesn’t react well to the newness. I stuck to my usual routine of Herbivore's Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Soap, Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist, Orchid Facial Oil, and plenty of Blue Tansy Masking leading up to my wedding. Blue Tansy Mask is definitely my secret weapon for getting my skin into shape before a big event!
3. Julia, can you walk us through your wedding-day makeup? What about your perfume?
I prefer a natural look and have never been much of a makeup person, so I kept it pretty minimal on my wedding day. I wanted to do my makeup myself because I wanted to feel comfortable and like I looked like myself when I walked down the isle—or, in my case, through the park. But I did get a little help from a friend with applying eye liner, since I don’t usually wear it. I wore ILIA lipstick, and the rest was a blend of RMS and ILIA, my two favorite natural makeup brands. I especially love RMS Mascara and also used the Living Luminizer. For perfume, I wore a lot of our Jasmine Body Oil. Jasmine is definitely my favorite/signature scent!
4. Alex, how did you propose? Was it thoughtfully planned or spur of the moment?
I had planned to ask her on a weekend trip to the Oregon coast, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to pop the question. I had the ring loaded and ready to go in my pocket. When I get nervous, I start talking a lot. Julia knows this about me, so before I totally blew my cool, we arrived to a beach called Hug Point. Perfect. I pretended to be combing the beach and called Julia over as if I had found something. I was already on a knee (in the water) when she came over, and I offered her the ring. She said yes.
5. Onto your brand, what was the motivation behind its creation?
The motivation behind the brand blossomed from a knowledge and understanding that plants carry all of the secrets to unlock health and beauty in our bodies. We wanted to make natural skin care the new norm. We wanted to create products that not only make you look beautiful but also focus on making you feel beautiful. So many products out there are aimed at “attacking the problem” with harsh ingredients covered up with strong artificial scents. We wanted to create something that provides a natural sensorial experience and a daily ritual that feels good. We wanted to introduce natural textures, scents, and ingredients in a way that wasn’t being done. We wanted people to smell and experience how real jasmine and rose feel on their skin.
6. On your website, it says the brand was created in your kitchen. How did it become such a hit in the natural-beauty world?
We started by making natural soap in our kitchen, just for fun! We learned how to make cold process soap one summer and adapted the recipe a bit and came up with our own version of cold process. It's a bit different than any other soap on the market because of this unique version of the process that we came up with. We added natural clays and essential oils to the soaps and started selling them at a local farmer’s market in Seattle and started our own Etsy shop in 2011. Our first wholesale accounts, including Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, discovered us via our Etsy shop in 2012. From there, we’ve just kept growing.
7. What’s coming down the pipeline for Herbivore?
We just launched in all Sephora stores last year and are working on a new product for fall 2017 and a Sephora exclusive for 2018 that we are particularly excited for. Look for it in Sephora stores in January!