Back in 1996, not long after leaving home for the first time, I found myself living without health insurance. My lack of modern medical care led me in the direction of traditional home remedies, but I was young and inexperienced. My exploration didn't lead much further than using garlic and ginger to get over colds. A year later I moved to Galway City, Ireland, where I met an inspirational woman who introduced me to the wonderful world of holistic medicine!
I bought books on healing teas, endlessly questioned my friend, spent time exploring health food shops, and discovered the greatest small herb store hidden in the back of one of the chemist shops in town. I loved going there! It made me feel like I was a part of an ancient secret society. One morning, a year or so later, I woke up from a dream about practicing holistic medicine. I knew that's what I had to do! That day I did some research, made some phone calls, and decided to apply to school for homeopathy. I was introduced to an amazing field, but the time and place just weren't right for me. After my first year of a four-year program, during the spring of a new millennium, it was almost time to move back to the U.S., but I didn't want to give up what I saw in that dream.
I had spent days at an internet cafe researching my options, when I found a nine-month program for herbal medicine at a school located in Silver City, NM. I fell in love with the Zia, the sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo and the symbol on the state flag of New Mexico, and I began the application process for herb school. About a month later, I flew home to make the long drive from Massachusetts to the aptly nicknamed Land of Enchantment.
Learning about the healing properties of herbs was amazing! I especially loved taking herb walks in the Gila mountains to find plants growing in their natural habitats. They really have distinct personalities!
At school I learned how to make tinctures, tea blends, herbal honeys and syrups, and other applications of healing herbs. At home, I learned that moving from Ireland to the desert southwest of the U.S. wreaked havoc on my skin. I began to experiment with carrier oils and learned about their properties, and I bought a book on herbal crafts. From that book, I used a recipe to make my first salve! I still remember it. The salve was great for my skin, but I didn't know enough about the ingredients. My first salve had lanolin in it, yikes!
After finishing school that spring and moving up to Santa Fe, I spent a lot of time just working, living life and enjoying the environment. I was reading books and gaining interest in salves and balms. When winter came around again, I needed a new salve! I sat, formulated, experimented and created my first salve on my own. Wunder Budder was born! It's changed and improved since that day back in 2001, but that first salve was another turning point in my life. Since that day, the only product I've used regularly on my skin and lips is the Original Wunder Budder salve. I love it!
In late 2002, I moved back to Massachusetts. I applied for a business license and made Wunder Budder official! I began to design labels, keep records of my experimental formulas, and dove deeper into natural skin care. After training in aromatherapy in 2003, I began to incorporate essential oils into the products I was making.
Since then, I've spent as much of my free time as I could researching, testing oils and plants, and generally just learning as much as I could about herbalism, aromatherapy and natural skincare. I was too scared to make it a full time gig, so I went a more traditional route and went back to college full time to study chemistry, physics, math, and geology. Although I love those subjects, I was in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, and was constantly stressed out. I would turn to Wunder Budder to relax and refresh, until one day in late 2009.
I was working at the coffeehouse, entertained after normal closing hours by a local live band, surrounded by people I loved, and it hit me. Happiness. And in that moment, I fully realized that I had been distracted by the world around me and had stopped following my path. I knew what I needed to do, and I never looked back.
In January of 2010, I had built a website, begun moving my equipment and supplies into a studio, and started a new life. Going from full time student into full time boot-strapping business owner has been rough, but I'm in love with what I do and the things I make. I feel like my life has guided me to where I am today and I'm thankful to have found something I love so much that I could turn into a career.
Lisa Dolloff, proud proprietor of Wunder Budder 01/01/10
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Whenever I travel or celebrate a special occasion, I make a new essential oil blend. Sometimes I put it in an inhaler, or sometimes a perfume oil, sometimes a body oil, or a spray. Having a new aroma is my way to commemorate special moments in my life.
A few weeks ago, I went to Ireland. I wanted to bring some body oil for relaxing, so I first made a blend with Peace. Then I remembered I recently bought jasmine extract and neroli essential oil for personal use. They are both very precious oils, so I don't often use them, I had purchased them on a whim. It turns out I had a reason, I just didn't know it at the time.
I wanted to make something that reminded me of summer; reminded me of flowers blooming and of fertile earth and fresh green leaves. I started by pulling aside the oils that reminded me of that aroma. I wanted to use neroli and jasmine for sure, not only because I wanted to work with them, but also because their heavy floral aromas were perfect for the heart of the blend.
I needed a top note that was
I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).