Taking care of your body means not only being more mindful of what you’re putting into your it but also what you’re placing on it. Willow & Oak founder, Nikki Mitchell, wholeheartedly lives this philosophy. She’s created an artisan line of botanical skincare products with the intention to strengthen our connection to plants that heal and their endless health benefits. Mitchell’s personal health history contributed to a business that truly cares about creating beneficial, quality skincare. After receiving news of having uterine fibroids, the skincare guru took her newfound woes and turned them into a lifelong mission to source the best ingredients and concoct the finest plant and earth-based products that strengthen and balance the body. To keep her skin aglow, Mitchell uses her research in herbal alchemy and the magical plants she discovers to produce products with plant and earth-based ingredients that are excellently and responsibly sourced. All products hail from various local family-owned farms and small businesses, and strictly either organic, wild-harvested, or fair-trade. When it comes to beauty and wellness, Mitchell lives the life fully and offers us all nourishing medicinals with her fortifying findings.
The botanical skincare founder chats with us about overcoming health issues, her best self-care tips, and the value of social media for women entrepreneurs.
What does beauty mean to you personally?
Beauty is loving yourself fully. Trusting with confidence that you are wonderful just the way you are. That you are enough.
You’ve openly shared your experience with uterine fibroids. Why is it important for you to share your story with others?
There are many ways to prevent such issues. They grow very slowly so it can be years before you experience problems. I was not so lucky to fully understand the severity of what was happening to me. The rollercoaster of moods, depression, heavy bleeding, and clotting (that looked like a miscarriage, no joke). The severe hormonal imbalances and anemia took a toll on me. Most women think this is normal and painfully deal with it. It’s not. In fact, it’s lonely and miserable to experience such imbalances.
Sharing my story allows me to heal and connect with others. It also keeps me accountable to stay aligned with my original mission which again is to create safer aromatic medicinal beauty products that work harmoniously with our bodies from our planet.
Explain the value of using natural ingredients in Willow & Oaks.
To clarify, the line is not all organic, a lot of it is. I actually seek a more wild-harvest if I can. Meaning, when land is not contrived in its farming methods and nature does what its suppose to do, you can get a better more potent medicinal plant, almost better than organic. I have spent a lot of time sourcing companies and farms that have high standards and pay the price for it. Organic is great. It's a regulated way to up prices (not so great), and to keep pesticides to a minimum. We have a long way to go to fix our agricultural issues. Don’t get fixed on labels like organic. There are a lot of great farms out there who have honest farming methods who cannot afford an organic label. The proof is in the pudding as they say. I know I’ve tried a lot of pudding [laughs].
But yes, the quality is important to me and organic, fair-trade practices and wild-harvested plants are a huge part of my business. I sought to find better ingredients to put on my body and now I am crazy enough to have a business to share what I have discovered with others. Using organic beauty products and food that is cleaner for you, in the long run, will limit some potential bad issues that could come up. Choose mindfully and you will thrive with a strong body and mind – along with a peace of mind.
Best nutrition tips for fresh glowing skin.
Water – with lots of veggies, fruits, and exercise. Period.
Top self-care tips.
1) Sex with a partner or self. 2) Journaling ( this is a game changer, GET ON THIS). 3) A weekly mask, I cannot express this enough. Skin will be on point with a glow. Do not sleep on this! And it's so fun to do. You instantly feel like you’re taking care of yourself – and you are.
What are you currently working on mastering?
The ebb and flow of life without too many crashes and burns. I’ve gotten a lot better. Comes with age and mistakes. As far as work, I am learning to master organization and time. I recently hired an accountant, that is some real grown-up shit. Ain’t no mastering unless your team is tight and holding you accountable.
What role do you think social media plays for women entrepreneurs today?
Oh wow, wow! It's so major and magical for us women right now. Used right, it can be the best tool for building interest, community, collaborations, and so much more. Women have always been able to hold their own and more. Social media allows a bigger mic, and we ain’t sitting quietly. Watch out now! We, women, are able to support one another much easier and faster now. We can find other women businesses to connect and share our missions with; we are rising together.
For example, I am involved in a small home pop-up happening [this spring]. It’s invite only and it's all women businesses, seven total. All the people invited are women. The point is to involve women to support women. It's really lovely. And changes the narrative of the negative images and content that has made women weary of helping one another in the past.
How are you planning to expand, and what can we expect next from Willow & Oak next?
At this very moment, I am working to expand Willow & Oak in more stores outside of California. I’m also very excited to be releasing a botanical perfume line coming out near September. It’s been a long time passion of mine. I’m currently overwhelmed with the process but it's going to be so legit – ah, geeked.
Personal favorites from the Willow & Oak line.
To be honest I don’t have a favorite. But, I can say I swear by my “Inspired Pits Deodorant” and “Change Up My Facial” products. Rituals for skin need to be adjusted, it can be a real disadvantage to not change it up. Your skin can get used to products or even dependable. Take one product out for a week or two and introduce it with another or stop using one altogether, then bring it back.
Discuss one thing you’re very proud of.
Ah, wow. I survived living in New York for almost nine years [laughs]. No joke. Best city, no regrets, but it was tough and scary at times. I like a good challenge and feel very accomplished with what I was able to do with my time out there. It’s part of why Willow & Oak has manifested in my life and to those who resonate with what I am channeling. Being back home in California I appreciate NYC even more, but dang those winters – woo, rough!
Photos: Willow & Oak website and Instagram.