December 29, 2020 Brands We Carry
Brands We Carry : Apis Apotheca
'You can have everything you want, but rarely all at the same moment in time' the advice we're taking with us into 2021 and more from friend and founder of Apis Apotheca, Aviva Skye Tilson.
By Lucille Corbit
Tell us about you!
My name is Aviva Skye Tilson, and I'm the founder/farmer/formulator of Apis Apotheca. I'm an herbalist, gardener, and musician in New York's Hudson Valley.
How did you get started with Apis Apotheca?
I had an 'aHA!' moment early in college after meeting a friends mother who was a farmer-- I was from NYC and didn't even realize farming was an option, I was so classically removed from the reality and rhythm of food production, and from there I got bit by the farming bug and lived and worked on many different farms all over the world, started a campus farm at my alma mater, and went back to school to become an herbalist and put all the healing pieces together. I then realized with some sadness that I would never be able to physically afford to farm only vegetables -- not with multiple autoimmune issues that require I take it slow sometimes. This skincare business evolved out of a desire to create a business that would actually be able to pay me to farm. It has become so much more than that, as I've grown as an herbalist and formulator, but at its center it began as a way for me to realistically afford living a life connected with the land I steward, and help others feel more comfortable in their bodies in the process.
At MINNA we believe in creating beautiful, ethically made products and using business to do good - how do these concepts relate to or inspire your process?
I think most farmers, and probably all organic and biodynamic ones, are utopian idealists at their cores. They all want to give their lives in service to the earth and animals around them, and I am no different. I'm a Virgo/ I can't help it. My business principles have been organized around a central question of how to make the world a little better since its inception. From growing our own herbs and producing everything by hand in small batches in-house, to the brand new certified compostable refill and sample options we just relaunched with (very few brands have made this jump yet), how to reduce harm and waste and foster growth and balance is central to our mission, and always will be.
What about your home makes it feel like home? What is a favorite memory of yours in your home?
I just bought my own house and have been nesting like a maniac, but even though the house is new to me, it is the paintings done by my grandfather, the furniture that was my grandmothers, her rugs and plants that I inherited-- these things are what make me feel at home and held, things that I grew up around in their spaces and now are guarding my own with their trans-generational love. My happiest memories in all the places I've ever lived are just sitting in late afternoon light and not doing anything, just watching it illuminate new things I haven't yet paid attention to, and listening to the sounds float in from outside.
What are you reading/listening to/watching/looking at lately?
I just discovered that the Witches of Eastwick is a book - and not any book but a John Updike book! I read a lot of Updike and Roth growing up for some reason and the writing in this story is pretty incredible-- I highly recommend it. I am watching a lot of Great British Bake Off because it's winter and time to start trying to disastrously adapt more things to being gluten free than I have any right to, and any other free time I have, I spend looking at the view from my windows which is right at the catskill mountains, covered in snow for the first time this year as I write this. I am a lucky duck.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
A dear friend recently told me 'You can have everything you want, but rarely all at the same moment in time', and I think we should all take that to heart as the world continues to alter all of our life plans, and hold gratitude for the gifts we have right now. It helps me, at least.