Taking a childhood hobby and turning it into a business? That’s exactly what Brandy Monique has accomplished with her beauty company Fig + Yarrow, an organic apothecary complete with products you don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about putting on your skin. From foot scrubs to body creams, bath soaks to floral steams, her collection of surprising scents and herbal medleys will evoke the much needed reminder that what’s best is often what’s found right outside … in nature itself.
We had the chance to catch up with Brandy to learn more about how her business began and where she sees the organic beauty industry headed. Read on to discover this Colorado-based company, as well as a chance to win some goods to add to your own collection!
Darling Magazine: What prompted you to get into the beauty business?
Brandy Monique: I suspect it was secretly in development for most my life. As a young girl, making beauty care products — from ingredients in our kitchen and herbal concoctions from plants found in the yard — came very naturally and was just play for me. And so was entrepreneurship. I began my first business at eight years old and have remained (mostly) self-employed since then. I’d continue to dabble over the years in these sort of natural luxe beauty creations, but it wasn’t until later, while in my last semester earning a psych degree, that I had the ray of light realization that this is what I wanted to immerse myself in next.
I managed to convince a local shopkeeper who made these kinds of products to hire me based on my culinary skills. She’d never allowed anyone to make her more challenging products (save for once which was a failure) but she gave me a very intimidating chance to prove myself immediately and — wiping the sweat from my brow — I somehow did.
As a young girl, making beauty care products — from ingredients in our kitchen and herbal concoctions from plants found in the yard — came very naturally and was just play for me. And so was entrepreneurship.
I made myself very useful there improving techniques and studying the heck out of everything I was working with to compile a very thick reference guide for the shop. And myself. All the extra work, study and personal experimentations contributed on my own accord and time laid the foundation for my confidence to eventually go forth on my own. I just observed and applied myself fully and kept thinking how I could do things better, which is a wonderful platform.
DM: What is the significance of your company name?
Brandy: I liked the sound of it. It was subtly evocative of an essence I would like to convey through my products (which were then yet to be conceived). Sitting with it awhile, I thought it appropriate because figs have this very sensual quality about them; they’re sort of a humble fruit upon first impression, but almost contradictorily textured and gorgeous when their insides are revealed. And yarrow is such a wonderful helper/rescue herb with a female warrior spirit. There was something to this combination I could relate to personally.
DM: What has been the most difficult part of starting your own business? What have you learned from it?
Brandy: Perhaps the most challenging aspect is the skillful execution of so many endless ideas. My imagination doesn’t care about material limitations. It gets to dream things up with no constraints while my poor body and mind have to work out the many logistical details to bring these potentials into reality.
In one sense, there are plenty of challenges with starting a business. Plenty. They’re just inherent in starting any business, particularly one starting so humbly and with so little resources, experience or knowledge of the industry. I’ve come to adjust more to a place where I really don’t dwell too much on what’s trying, difficult, or disappointing. It’s not terribly helpful and I’ve got too much to do that requires a more proactive focus. So, I tend to identify the challenges and work with them more strategically and intuitively.
When I get emotionally hooked by something, I know I need to just take a step back and approach it again with more objectivity. It’s the art of caring so much you’re willing to let go, or at least, loosen up when you feel more inclined to grip and force. That’s a very valuable business (and life in general) lesson for me.
DM: How have you seen the field of organic and natural beauty shift over the years?
Brandy: There’s been a handful of mainstream lines that have touted themselves as natural and organic, but have lacked the substance and true alignment with the image and ideals portrayed. Most of the truly pure lines in recent past were a bit too hippy for me, or just didn’t quite capture the full experience I was looking for, or weren’t able to speak to an audience that might appreciate what they were offering due to their aesthetic.
DM: Where do you think it’s headed?
Brandy: I think personal education and a desire to better our lives will lead consumers to scrutinize the products they use daily, as well as lead other visionaries to try their hand in what is a still a relatively niche market. Yet, even within the niche of natural and organic, there are even more niches that exist, so there are plenty of little audience pockets to speak and cater to. Opportunities will continue to abound.
DM: Which product is personally your favorite and why?
BM: That is such a tough one! I’m quite fond of my Rose/Sandalwood/Neroli Complexion Water because its scent takes me instantly to a calm and happy place, then lingers politely for others to enjoy and not feel assaulted by. I also love the Yarrow Buttercream, for being a magical savior of my hands. And, the Underarm Lotion is a winner because it’s allowed me to wean myself off of deodorant almost completely. It’s nice to feel liberated.
When I see people laugh, dance, flirt, show genuine kindness, generosity and interest … I think that’s beauty.
DM: What does beauty mean to you?
BM: The quality of beauty I’m most responsive to is the radiant kind. True beauty is a kind of love that just shines through, right through the physical features and grabs you within. When I see people laugh, dance, flirt, show genuine kindness, generosity and interest … I think that’s beauty. Ultimate beauty, to me, is a kind of grace and confidence those who completely trust in self, others and a greater life-giving force just effortlessly exude because there’s no fear to hold the love back.
Want to win a complete Meadow Bath + Body Kit from FIG + YARROW?
See below for ways to enter!
All images courtesy of FIG + YARROW