FOREST THINGS: Foraged skin care, balms made from wild plants. We connect the wildness and magic of the forest with your everyday routine. A way to forest bathe, in a tube. Plants are magic and we use only the most beneficial wild herbs to aid your skin. Everything is handcrafted in small batches. All products (except solid perfumes) are made with an wild herb harvested by our hands from nature. We only harvest herbs that are plentiful (even invasive) and never harvest any endangered plants. We want to protect our uncommon native plants and keep them safe. Everything from concept to creation is done so with love and intention. We promise honesty. We will never use anything synthetic or unnatural. Never. Only nature kissed products... because we are all forest things.
PROCESS: We obtain permits from wild places, national forests, and permission from private land owners to go explore the terrain and find the healing herbs we are seeking. Usually armed with woven baskets, opinel knives, tea, snacks, and our dogs (of course), we drive, hike and wander through out natural areas gathering and foraging the plants as we go. We only collect plants that an plentiful, in some cases invasive, and never any endangered species. We care for our wild gardens, the home of our forest friends and the makers of the air we breathe. The herbs are sometimes infused fresh or dried in a dehydrator at 95 degrees to preserve the plants' constituents - they are still considered "raw." The herbs are infused in large jars filled with organic oils. The oils are double strained and then blended to create our final products. We infuse your products with nature. Simple as that.
ORGANIC: Every product ingredient we claim as organic is because it is a USDA, or equivalently, certified organic ingredient. Only a very small percentage of our products have an ingredient that is not organic or wild harvested, such as our rose essential oil. This is because organically certified rose essential oil is extremely expensive and using it would price our products out of a range that we believe is accessible to everyone. Our rose essential oil is still of the highest quality, but not certified organic.
THE FOREST: We use recycled (pre & post consumer) content in most all packing, shipping, printing, and labels. We choose to use tin as a common container for our products because almost all tin used today contains predominantly recycled material, and it is the easiest material to recycle. This is because it uses less resources and energy than paper or plastic during the recycling process. All cleaners used on our equipment & in our studio are natural cleaners to preserve the purity of our work space. We also choose to source our herbs, oils, and international treasures from certified organic sources, locally, and/or fair trade companies because we love this world and the people in it. We continue to make choices to lessen the environmental impact of our products & business and value our ability to make positive environmental changes as our business grows.
OILS: Organic, mostly unrefined oils are staples in Forest Thing's products. We prefer to slow-infuse our oils with herbs and do not allow the oil temperatures to rise above their breaking-down point.
SHARE: Forest Things donates 10% of all profits to non-profit organizations. Currently, we donate to the old growth forest network. The old growth forest network is striving to protect one old growth forest in every county in the US that can grow forests. We also are looking into potential non-profits that work to provide summer camp experiences to urban kids who historically, have been excluded from this experience.
ASK US: We believe in honesty and freely provide information concerning our products and our methods. We encourage questions!
HISTORY: Forest Things began out of a home kitchen in a rural farmhouse in Virginia situated on 400 acres. A hobby turned into a little business at the weekly farmers market in Charlottesville, VA. After gaining support from the community, the workshop moved out of the home kitchen and into a self-remodeled vintage travel trailer from the 70's. A 1971 tag-a-long trailer originally made in Ohio. This beautiful workshop belonged solely to the creative happenings of the forest things' imagination. In October 2014, we gained a little more working space inside the Virginia Book Center (a branch of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities) due to growing spacial demands. In February, 2015, Forest Things migrated due to personal life changes. We moved down south to Atlanta, GA. The beginning of my plant studies began in Georgia in 2007 and it feels good to return to these warm roots and fragrant Georgia pines. We operate with forest permits and permission from private land owners to gather the plants and bring them back to our creative studio inside the goat farm in Atlanta, GA. We also feel excited, as a southern company, to be centrally located in this city rich in history, culture, and diversity. The south is a complex place and we are contributing something positive to southern culture in this new era.
Artisan Story: Kelly Ridenhour
The forest is where I feel at home the most. The plants called me at an early age when I spent my time playing outside and nourishing my imagination with forest games. I remember building stick forts in the patches of woods around my childhood home. I remember gathering camellia blossoms with my Mom from our neighbor's bushes and soaking them in old jars filled with water, lemon peels, and vanilla... my first experiment with "perfume" making. During college I filled my dwellings with house plants and studied landscape architecture with a specific interest in healing landscapes. My fascination with the botanical world turned professional. Over the years of my college studies, I spent more and more of my time outside gardening culinary herbs, hiking with plant books to practice plant ID, trying my hand at foraging, and blending tea formulas for friends and family. After college I took my love for plants further by enrolling in an herbalism school in Charlottesville, VA and completing a two year study in herbalism while interning at a native & historic plant nursery. During my studies I became obsessed with wild plants, oil infusions, essential oils, and balms. One of my first projects was love balm, which is now our Rose & Hibiscus Wild Balm. During this time I lived on a large piece of old farmland that allowed me to have daily access to fresh, wild plants. I grew to know them in their natural habitat. I grew to know them as friends and as healers. I am a current member of the American Herbalist Guild and am looking into ways to continue my studies in herbalism and nutrition, as it relates to Forest Things. I also continue to work in landscape architecture and nurture a desire to work with planted landscapes (as well as wild). I listen to the plants, my customers, and myself as Forest Things experiments, grows, and branches out. I am grateful to be doing what I do.