Meet the Founder
Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Ann, the founder and Apotecaire of Chamomile Botanicals. My journey to creating my own skincare brand was a long and often hard one.
I didn’t start off wanting to be a business owner or even thought about creating skincare when I was growing up. I was born in Berlin, Germany and when I was little I wanted to be an actress. I even use to put on little dances and shows for my family, I also had three great loves when I was young. First and most importantly ,my Opa (grandfather), our family garden and playing with my Mom’s Avon products. On special occasions my Mom would take me to the big department stores to visit the make-up counters, and sometimes I would get take home a little sample of something. I was in heaven.
We were very fortunate to have a small garden in Berlin and we would spend most of the summer at the garden. It was there that my Opa started to teach me about gardening and the healing properties that plants and dirt. Little did I know back than that mud is so good for the skin, I just liked making mud pies and giving them to my Opa as gifts.
I was also blessed to have a Uroma (great-grandmother) that believed in natural remedies and using our garden to make all sorts of tinctures and balms for anything from colds, fevers and bee stings (and boy where there many bee stings). She also had a great appreciation for Chamomile Tea and believed that it cure everything from the blues to a stomach ache, and she was right. She used to have these afternoon tea parties with her friends and serve pastries and you guessed it – Chamomile Tea.
When I was 10 years old my Mom remarried and we embarked on an interesting journey to new lands including Turkey and eventually the US. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate the gift of living in another land but learned to embrace different cultures and teas. But now I draw on those experiences to formulate my products incorporating little drips and drabs from different cultures and the ingredients they hold sacred.
Anyway ~ We returned to the US and I embarked on an acting and modeling career, short-lived I assure you. Realizing my child-hood dream was not be, I enrolled in cooking school in NY and set my sights on become a chef. That was my first experience at becoming a “formulator” learning how to put ingredients together that compliment one another and creating something good. Although I never worked as a professional chef, I continued to hone my cooking skills and resumed traveling the world to experience different foods and most importantly different ingredients, many of which I incorporate into my products like my face masks and bath products.
I eventually moved to California and somehow pursued a legal career. It started with law school and ended up with an almost thirty year career as a litigation paralegal. So, when does the skincare company come in you might ask? Well in my 40’s I was diagnosed with cancer and then again just before I turned 50. It was the second go-around that I decided I needed to return to a more natural and holistic approach towards healing. My skin was a mess from the chemo and the radiation and the conventional skincare I use to treasure so much was not working, in fact it was making my skin worse. I researched (occupational hazard) natural skincare products but did not find any that were either completely natural or effective. I knew I wanted to go natural, so I dipped my toe into the DIY arena and made some simple body oils with healing oils like olive oil. I also started making simple face and body washes with Chamomile Tea and noticed that my skin was feeling better. Being a researcher by trade, I started to take herbal and aromatherapy courses and eventually embarked in two very intensive natural skincare formulation courses in Europe. Over the course of a couple of years, I earned a master formulator certification natural skincare from the International School of Natural Skincare and a diplomat certification for Formula Botanica. I continued my education by taking courses at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery to learn how to natural fragrance my products using essential oils and botanicals.
After my course work my friends persuaded me to start selling my products at local farmers’ markets and festivals. After sometime I took a leap of faith and create Chamomile Botanicals. The name and the core values of my company are attributed to my Opa and Uroma. Coming up with the name was the easy part, the rest has been and still is a labor of love.
I knew I wanted to create an all-natural skincare that not only was based on being 100% natural and effective but also had a luxurious look and feel to it. As a chef, I know that we eat first with our eyes, so it is very important to me that all my products first look pleasing, are perfectly fragranced to seduce the senses. I also wanted the packaging to be elegant and simple. I believe that having an effective and affordable skincare ritual is an important part of our day and wellbeing.
I also wanted to make sure that my company did its part in honoring and protecting this beautiful planet we call home and blesses us with such beautiful and healing ingredients. I care very deeply how the ingredients that I use in my products are sourced. I only buy from a variety of small growers & cooperatives from around the US and the globe that engage in ethical, sustainable growing and harvest practices to preserve the earth and our eco-systems for generations to come.
In a growing effort to leave a small carbon footprint, I decided to forgo the fancy outer packaging boxes that just get tossed in the trash anyway. I left my products speak for themselves, not the packaging. Diving a little deeper, I made the choice to have all my product packaging and shipping materials eco-friendly recycled and reusable and when possible compostable.
Over the last few years I partnered with two special organizations that employ and empower women in small villages in Ghana. In one village the women harvest and hand roast shea butter for raw shea butter that we use in many of products, like Blue Velvet. They earn a fair wage, are able to support themselves and send their children, especially girls to school. The other village harvests and makes the moringa oils that is in some many of our products. Moringa oil is the star ingredient in our Moringa Sea Botanicals serum.
My products are formulated with real ingredients that I feel good and safe about putting on my skin and feel confident are created in a safe and effective matter for you. Each product is formulated to harness the botanical’s therapeutic potential and for the intended purpose of the product, i.e. age-defying , anti-inflammatory etc.
I hope you join me in this natural skincare journey to see what Chamomile Botanicals can do for your skin.