Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business:
Howdy, I’m Eryn Hughes, the owner and adventure aromatherapy maker of Apothecary Muse. My products combine herbalism and aromatherapy for environmentally safe and practical use by outdoor adventurers who bike, hike, run, paddle or ski.
How did you come up with your business name?
In the 90s and early 2000s, I was a professional DJ, with the name DJ Muse. Not employing the cutthroat competition tactics observed in my colleagues, I considered it most advantageous to always be in a learning state; humble. This philosophy continued as my obsession with bikes turned into a mission of advocacy, with an organization I founded to create lifelong cyclists, called Velomuse. And now, I continue my pursuit of expertise through the senses with herbalism and aromatherapy, but am still closely tied to my cycling roots with the Woodsy Warrior, Bike Face Soap and Skin Salves.
Where do you live?
I am fortunate to work out of my Point Breeze home. My soap studio is mostly confined to an extra bedroom in my Point Breeze apartment, but it often spreads to the kitchen and outside deck.
Who’s in your family?
Our household includes my supportive and equally creative boyfriend, Justin and our two cuddly – yet demanding - black cats, Burrito and Toni. The cats hang out in a room treated with an air purifier when I’m using essential oils, because they metabolize essential oils (even in airborne state) differently than humans. Burrito would supervise every step of my work if she could, though!
If you could sit down and talk to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would really enjoy to sit and have tea in the woods with the Dalai Lama, hear his laughter and experience his calm.
What inspires you?
I listen to music and dance a little bit every day, just to feel more like myself and not get weighed down with bureaucratic policies and the state of economics that can interfere with my creative process. I don’t feel the need to be the best all the time, but it is more important to make something meaningful in my adventures. When I’m not making products, I’m usually out in my garden or hiking/riding in the woods, and harvesting herbs for infusion into the products. The sun also gives me a lot of inspiration, in this way.
What is your favorite item you make for Boutique 208 and why?
Although most of my items are seasonal, the Meditation Mixer soap is a year-round favorite because the traditional cold-process soap is made with base oils that have been solar-infused with organic lavender, for a deep, lasting aroma that makes me close my eyes in bliss every time.
What is your favorite item at Boutique 208 that’s not one of your own and why?
This is very difficult, as I also seek meaningfulness in process which I come to learn through the makers and I want to support all my fellow makers. I recently bought one of Charmed by Jenn’s bracelets with the “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, it is one of my favorite quotes interpreted by many brave women throughout history. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at this piece, and coming to my own translation. In addition to the bracelet being made with strong materials that I expect to withstand many adventures, the quote is engraved on a piece of metal that resembles a military dog tag and I think, makes a subtle statement about how women’s rights is evolving.
What advice can you offer to someone who would like to start selling their handmade creations?
Talk to fellow crafters to get an idea of what is required, but do it your own way. Always be honest and transparent about your process, that is what gives your craft value.