Meet Jovie Belisle. Here’s why she’s exactly as awesome as she looks: In addition to being the founder and crafter behind the herbal concoctions at Rex Apothecary, she’s also about to complete a two-year Holistic Health Practice program. To celebrate, she wants to do something even more awesome—she wants to travel the country in a 1978 Winnebago to prove to bring her natural products to the people! (While also offering a healthy dose of nutritional and herbal consulting alongside, natch.) I’m all about supporting my fellow natural believers, and I’m hoping she’ll make it from Portland (where she is) to Charlotte (where we are). But a little help would go a long way. She’s working to raise $2,200 by September 1 to take her show on the road. Check out her Indiegogo page or leave a comment on this post to cheer her on!
Read on for some insight into her natural beauty journey and why she thinks it would be a great idea to trek across the country with her dog and two cats in an elderly Winnebago. I love her beauty philosophy! So inspiring. —Aleigh
When did you start using natural products, and what drew you to them? I wish I could say that I grew up surrounded by nature and a holistic way of living, but I was raised with humble means and we did what we had to in order to get by. I always wanted skin care products as a teenager since I struggled with acne, but I settled for my grandmother’s “home remedies” book and unknowingly started experimenting with food as medicine. From there I began researching the dangers of processed foods and synthetic ingredients, learning that the synergistic nature of a food or plant in its entirety is so much more effective than a stripped down, processed, imitation of what nature already made perfectly.
Your beauty philosophy: My philosophy on beauty is that it’s in everything. It’s not something your looks transform into, it’s something you hold inside you and share with the people you care about. Beauty is not aesthetic. Beauty is love and acceptance and wholeness.
Why did you name your company Rex Apothecary? I wanted the shop to be an apothecary as a way to express the time honored value of herbal medicine and an apothecary was an old timey pharmacy of sorts. I used the name Rex because my dog’s name is King, and Rex is latin for King. He’s a retired racing greyhound who is getting up there in age, but he’s been with me longer than the shop, the boyfriends, and even some of the questionable fashion decisions.
Why is it important to you to take your products around the country in an RV? To be honest I’m actually a bit of a homebody these days, but at the same time I wanted to travel more and collaborate with stores and makers in my same niche, making wellness products accessible to areas where it’s not as easy to come by as it is in Portland. I felt limited by the nest I’ve built here, with my garden and chickens and dog and two cats. But the RV seemed like the perfect combination to keep the orders going out, have the boys with me, and still have a place to call home. It just felt like the right thing to do and there’s been no looking back since.
What’s your approach to creating a new product? It started out as requests from friends and still is often (especially with the baby and men’s products). Now I listen to what people are looking for while I’m doing booth events. That’s why I’m currently working on seasonal/elemental fragrance sprays. I do elemental (earth, air, fire, water) candles that people are really into, and they’re also asking if I do room or body sprays. So soon I’ll have a fragrance matched up to each element, and each of those corresponds with a season as well as your astrologic sign. It’s a really cool way to get a personalized feel to your scent.
How long does it take you to make your salves? The herbal salves (like the repair salve) take at least two weeks to infuse by the sun. Then it takes about half a day to strain the herbs, melt the infused oil with a vegan wax, pour it, and label it.
What’s the one Rex Apothecary product you’d recommend to someone who’s trying natural products for the first time? I would say the deodorant, because that can really make someone new to natural products a believer in their effectiveness. Sure it’s a different delivery system (I don’t use plastic twist tubes) but stepping outside our comfort zones and routines can really be a freeing experience.
How does your Holistic Health training influence what you do with skin and body care products? It’s definitely helped me go a more herbal route, incorporating healing and anti-inflammatory herbs and essential oils into everyday body care items. It’s also taught me how to thoroughly research the safety and effectiveness of ingredients before I consider using them. But overall holistic health emphasizes balance amongst all parts of wellness: mind, body, and spirit, so the stuff you put on is only one small aspect of how you’re going to feel as you go about your day.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice on trying makeup and cosmetics for the first time, what would you say to your younger self? Oh gosh. “Don’t believe the hype!” But just as importantly, I’d tell myself “don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat. Your skin is an organ, and while it protects you it also absorbs most of what you put on it, sending it directly into your blood stream (toxins that we eat at least are filtered by our livers and kidneys before they get to our tissues).”
What one bad self-care habit would you encourage people to break? Stop not drinking water! Hydrating yourself is the number one thing you can do to improve literally every single task that your body is working tirelessly to achieve (tasks that you’re not even aware of). It will make you less tired, less stressed, and give you that radiant glow that you’re spending your hard earned money on products for. Shoot for 3 quarts a day (that’s 6 pints).