“I felt like it was ingrained in me from a very young age,” she recalls. Her mother, a native of Bolivia, always had a garden, and leaned towards holistic remedies for those littles aches, pains and sicknesses when she was growing up. She remembers being drawn to her mother’s library of herbal books, spending hours flipping through the well-loved pages. Her family still in South America shares the same affinity of herbal healing, so it would be safe to say it’s in her blood.
Leah Harrington began Whole Apothecary in Winter Park, Florida. The Melbourne Beach native has a background in finance, and had set up her career as an investment sales analyst before heeding the call to set out on her own. “Growing a small business is something I believed in,” Harrington says. The idea started to take shape when she began by making her own scrubs, and become more aware of the ingredients in the products on shelves today. This inspired her to tap into her botanical upbringing and introduce her own line of 100% natural, plant-based beauty products.
Whole Apothecary launched in January 2016, incorporating Harrington’s family folk wisdom and modern knowledge of healing plants into skincare and aromatherapy goods. She carefully selects the organic or wildcrafted ingredients for their specific therapeutic benefits, and handcrafts the product lines in small batches. They are free of any genetically modified ingredients, and are packaged in reusable or recyclable glass jars and bottles. It’s all by her own formula, honed through an extensive process of research, testing and development. “I wasn’t going to sell anything unless I really believe in it,” she says.
Today, Harrington has traded the beaches of Florida for the mountains of Colorado. Her and her husband moved to Denver during the course of a two-month road trip across the United States, from Florida to Colorado, and then a complete tour of the United States west coast. And Whole Apothecary has traveled with her.
The lavender + chamomile cleansing grains proved to be a fast favorite on that trip. “These little grains are magic. Basically, they are a super gentle and versatile scrub for your face, made with only 4 ingredients. I grind the organic lavender, chamomile, and oats myself, and blend them with a fine and detoxifying clay. The result is a dry powder to be mixed with water or another liquid (honey, yogurt, etc.) until a rich paste forms, and then to be used like an ordinary face scrub. The difference is a calming and redness reducing look and feel that is far from drying,” Harrington explains.
The essential oil blends, all which are diluted in organic sunflower oil so they're ready to apply and inhale right away, acted as a little medicine cabinet on the go. And for those who us who always seem to find ourselves either 30,000 feet high or hitting the highway, it’s a comforting thought to know we can bring our wellness with us.
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