We are so happy to reconnect with Stephanie Rose Bird, author, artist, and now a Botanica owner. Bird has joined us in the past for a few book signings and we've always enjoyed her interactive approach. For example, she passed around some of the herbs mentioned in her books during the signing and took us all outside to smell the sweetgrass she burned. It was so delightful. Check out an interview we did recently to find out more about what she's been up to. Now that we're all safely social distancing, we will ask you to check out her unique offerings through the purchase of samples. I for one can attest to the wonderful fresh scents that linger on the body and hair.
Nommo: Happy to reconnect with you. Your newest venture seems a perfect fit. Let's start at the beginning, What is a Botanica?
Bird: A Botanica is a plant store with spiritual offerings, well-known in the LatinX and African diaspora cultures. My company, "SRB Botanica" grows out of my work over several decades, as an herbalist and aromatherapist. It incorporates the pervasive healing energy of my internationally exhibited paintings, along with the energy from the rituals and recipes shared in the pages of my books. Olivia Bird brings a body-centered emphasis to SRB Botanica, through anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, soothing essential oils and analgesic herbs, in her unique multi-purpose herbals.
Nommo: Over the years you've written extensively on the topic of herbal creations for medicinal and weight loss uses. Why did you decide to start a Botanica now... in the middle of a pandemic?
Bird: Even in the midst of a pandemic, maybe even because of it, people need nurturing, wholesome products to soothe the mind and body, while feeding the soul. We feature cold-processed handmade soaps for all the hand washing we need to do to avoid the virus, including an oatmeal soap and a pure olive oil Castile soap as well as phytonutrient-rich chocolate. Da Balm healing balm is perfect too for the pandemic, for its emollient abilities to calm irritated skin from over-sanitizing and cleansing.
Plus, we were bored and weary, having such a drastic change to our normal routine. We are both very active and outgoing, as well as being creatives. Using our creativity to start a business is a win win.
Nommo: Please tell me more about how the collaboration started with your daughter, Olivia Bird.
Bird: Olivia and I like doing creative things. We both paint and garden, as well as enjoying cooking. She has accompanied me on spiritual cleansing calls since she was very young. She and her brothers also have been exposed to the botanical products and soaps from a young age. When I thought about scaling up the business of making Da Balm, she was eager to assist in every way. Plus, Olivia brought unique concerns to the table as a movie and TV stunt woman. She dreamed up an analgesic product, par excellence called Arnica Salve(ation) to soothe contusions, scrapes and lumps—a natural hazard of her job.
Nommo: You have a multitude of talents. Is your artwork still available?
Bird: I will always be an artist. My artistic nature is in a constant state of evolution. Currently my primary creative outlet is in making fine artisan herbal wares. My paintings, drawings and mixed media pieces are available at http://artist-stephanierosebird.com. My work is offered for commercial accounts, particularly in hospitality through www.indiewalls.com. I have a line of clothing and scarves as well as other accessories available through Vida: click here.
Nommo: What is the African connection to botanicals historically or maybe I should ask which of your books best address this question?
Oh my gosh, well, the Motherland is the cradle of civilization and a lush, rich growing environment in many locales. We responsibly source materials such as Shea butter that comes exclusively from sub-Saharan West Africa—Ghana in particular. We love Ethiopian and Somalian frankincense and myrrh as well as Haitian Vetiver essential oils. Another pair of favorite African ingredients Abyssinian oil from ancient Abyssinia and Moroccan Argan oils, they are both found in many of our hair and skin blends.
Just about all of my books explore African and African American healing ways. “Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones” is my award-winning first book that is very Afro-centric, as is a later book, “A Healing Grove,” which focuses exclusively on African disapproval tree recipes and rituals. The newest book, to my seven book offerings is “365 Days of Hoodoo” which is an everyday guide to all aspects of African American herbal plant magick with chapters ranging from love magick, to prosperity and abundance, the home and garden, protection, as well as much needed social justice. For those that enjoy digital reading there is, “Four Season of Mojo: an Herbal Guide to Natural Living” on Kindle.
SRB Botanica is a Black woman-led business with artisan-quality herbals that cater to the mind, body and spirit.
Now that we're all safely social distancing, we will ask you to check out her unique offerings through the purchase of samples (smallest size on our website). I for one can attest to the fresh scents that linger throughout the house. My favorites are the Luisah's Luxury Bar and Da Balm Organic Healing Balm. The Bar has just enough moisturizer in it and lathers very well. Da Balm goes on so smooth. Your products make me feel like I'm at a spa...while at home. We are honored to have a selection of your SRB Botanica products through our online offering at Afriware Books, Co under the category, BOTANICALS.