A synergistic meeting with Jennifer Rose of Essential Rose Life a few months ago led to this inspiring interview where I was able to understand the authenticity and integrity behind her brand. I have never come across a beauty brand that feels as pure and close to nature that was evolved from an emotional experience of being immersed in the wilderness. One of the most profound conversations that resonated and stood out for me with talking with Jennifer on her products, was about how important it is for her to convey that beauty truly comes from with-IN. When we truly unpack the concept of beauty with-in, we can heal and we can practice self love and we can take out relying on the external to make us feel beautiful. We can heal our minds, our bodies and our spirit.
With her extensive training and experiences in nature, she has created a beautiful collection of aromatherapy and teas that can heal our emotions as well as make us feel beautiful. What I love most is the idea of using Essential Rose Life products as tools to use for my daily practice. I am so honored to have met this authentic beauty and for our future collaborations together.
Self-love can be a way that we physically take care of ourselves, like the foods we eat and the practices we do, or the way that we take care of our minds and emotions.
Your story is so moving, Can you please share on how you moved through adversity and went on to create a business out of your connection with nature?
Well, it wasn’t really a choice at first. I was presented with a big opportunity to grow when I was 16 years old. And this was what really got me started on my path. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and my life was dark. I was very unhappy and had incredibly low self-esteem for various reasons…my chemistry, my environment, my sensitivity, it all played a role. I’ve always been empathic and I think a lot of what I experience isn’t even mine necessarily, I feel the weight of the world. And I was on several anti-anxiety, anti-depression, and anti-psychosis medications and I would self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and relationships. I did not have the tools or any healthy outlets to cope with my emotions, and I felt so isolated from the rest of my peers and my family.
My parents recognized how unhappy I was because I was exhibiting such poor behavior, like it was a cry for help. So, in my junior year of high school, they pulled me out and put me through a 2-year long therapeutic program. It was really sudden and drastic, but they were afraid that if they didn’t act then, I wouldn’t make it through college. The program consisted of a 10-week long outdoor wilderness therapy experience, and then followed up at a 19-month long stay at a therapeutic boarding school.
Needless to say, this experience changed my life. Mostly because it was the first time I was removed from my toxic environment and forced to really look at myself and my behavior. I learned so much during this two year period, and these tools are a big part of what I wish to share with the world because they were so transformative. I believe that doing the work of self-excavation and discovery is so important to true sustained wellbeing.
Post boarding school, I became fascinated with healing because I wanted to cultivate my own skills to stay balanced in my daily life, now that I had gotten to the root of my pain and negative self-perception. So, I studied a Double Major in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Skidmore College and deep-dove into the world of holistic healing, studying yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, Ayurveda, and basically anything I could get my hands on.
I created “Skidpothecary” my Senior Year of college, which was the “Skidmore College Apothecary,” because out of everything I studied, I developed this deep love and fascination for plants. I loved the fact that we can use what is growing in nature around us to heal us, and that we can form this beautiful deep relationship with plants where we can learn and grow through them.
Post college, I became certified in 300-hour Advanced Clinical Aromatherapy, three 200-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, Reiki 1 and 2, as well as a practitioner of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Transcendental Meditation. All of this education is really the basis of my business. My mission is to integrate all of the insights and tools I have learned throughout my own life to support other people on their journey. And, my belief is that mental illness is so stigmatized but it’s important to break down this barrier because the feelings of shame, isolation, and self-hatred are so universal. I want to be the force that opens up this conversation and makes it safe for others to heal and grow through connecting with themselves and nature.
You mention on your website that your products facilitate self love. What does self-love mean to you?
To me, self-love is a process of compassionate self-awareness. It is having the courage to really witness ourselves and practice self-acceptance no matter what arises. Self-love can be a way that we physically take care of ourselves, like the foods we eat and the practices we do, or the way that we take care of our minds and emotions. It’s softening the thoughts we think and respecting the depth of our emotions, and knowing that at the end of the day, we are our best caretakers, our most important relationship, and innately worthy of nourishment and support. It’s also knowing that we are not perfect, and coming to terms with the process itself. I don’t know if there’s ever a point where it’s done – like self-love is fully attained and the work stops, I think it’s a process that requires daily attention and maintenance, which is why self-care is so important.
What sparked your journey into aromatherapy?
As I mentioned above, it was part of Pandora’s Box that I opened post-boarding school! Basically, the more I studied, the more I realized that everything was integrated – the yoga, meditation, herbs, etc, it was all part of one way of viewing the mind and body, and I wanted to learn it in depth. I was at first interested in becoming certified in Herbalism, but the introductory course was 8 months long and I wanted something more tangible, so I tried an Intro to Aromatherapy. Well, needless to say I fell IN LOVE with the oils because I found them so dynamic and potent, so I took the 300-hour Advanced Course. I love Aromatherapy because if you integrate it properly into your products, then you are really creating something that supports the mind and emotions as well as the skin. That’s the beauty of the practice – it is using essential oils therapeutically to heal the mind, body, and spirit.
What are your current favorite holistic healing practices?
Meditation is key for me. I do it daily (or almost daily ;)) in the morning, and I like to close out the day with guided hypnosis. I also drink tea daily. All kinds of tea – green, oolong, herbal. I find the practice of drinking tea so cathartic and centering. And Aromatherapy, I wear my products and the process of inhaling oils is very soothing especially in tenser moments. I also think more “simple things” that we don’t normally consider practices like taking breaks throughout my day, going on drives, eating chocolate, and treating myself to nice dinners are healing practices that bring more joy and balance to my life.
What has owning a business taught you and in what ways has it transformed you?
Well, I am probably the most impatient person in the entire world. Or maybe you’re more impatient because you’re an Aries :D. Seriously though, it has taught me PATIENCE. I pull the Ant animal medicine card sometimes, and it talks all about patience and how it takes time for the ant to build the anthole, and similary for a person to build their empire. When you own a business, you do something untraditional and you take the road less traveled, and it takes immense patience to do that, especially effectively.
I have also learned persistence. Because here’s the truth, not everyone is going to like what you have to offer and that’s okay!
And trust…I’m still learning that one 😉
With your experience having overcome mental illness and emotional adversity, what would you say to other who are themselves struggling with mental illness?
Beautiful question. I would say that I see you and you are not alone. I understand how difficult it can be and how insurmountable it seems in the moment. And I don’t think it’s something that ever fully goes away – like I still have my days or moments where I feel depressed, because I don’t feel seen or heard or loved. Yet, it is possible to cultivate the tools to know how to navigate that when it comes up. It is possible to transform your life if you truly want that for yourself. That is the whole point of what I want to teach people, that if it was possible for me, it is possible for you too. I would also say, talk to someone. Open your mouth and your heart, because the worst thing that we can do when we feel emotionally overcome is to isolate, and the truth is other people are probably feeling the same way or similarly and need to hear what you have to say.
What was the process of your interest and creation of herbal tea blends?
The herbal tea interest actually came before the Aromatherapy. As I mentioned, I became fascinated with plants and how they could support us and heal us, and I wanted to actually become an herbalist before studying Aromatherapy.
What do you feel are the benefits of herbal tea and how does it tie into self love/ self care?
OMG. As I mentioned, I drink tea daily. It is sooooo transformative, the process of letting the water boil, choosing the plants, letting them brew, and sitting down for a cup. It is so meditative. And herbal tea is especially gorgeous because you receive the medicinal benefits of the herbs you are sipping. So tea is its own plant, Camellia Sinensis, but herbal tea is many plants…like Rosebud Tea, or Chamomile Tea, or Peppermint, etc, they are all medicinal in their own ways.
How do you develop your self care rituals? What is your personal form of self care?
I develop my rituals through my personal experience and education. I think everybody is different and different things work for different people. I think it’s important to try different things and see how they feel, and this might change at different points of your life as well. For me, I do what feels good and also what I know serves me the most. As I mentioned, meditation is not objectionable for me. If I don’t meditate, my anxiety and irritability can be through the roof. I meditate so I can be less reactive and more responsive to life. But meditation can change, some days it’s silent and some days it’s guided. And, various things can be a meditation – my boyfriend plays the drums and finds that meditative. The word “meditation” just means concentration in Sanskrit, so it’s really whatever can draw your concentration and get you out of your own head.
Out of all the charitable organizations, how did you choose Girls, Inc. Long Island to donate a percentage of your purchases?
I wanted to work with organizations that empower girls specifically, and I met another woman in business who was doing work with them. After doing my own research, I realized they were doing great work in the world. I ultimately wish to partner with organizations that de-stigmatize mental illness, or create my own organization, since this speaks specifically to my personal story.
You mention in your Instagram that you “don’t like to use the word ‘beauty’ anymore,” what created that shift and what are your thoughts surrounding the word and concept?
Ahhh. Well, after using the word to describe the line for about a year and a half, I felt dejected by all of the different beauty and skincare brands out there promoting something that I feel is entirely different to my line. I do focus on beauty and still use that word, but the products are truly designed for inner beauty, which is reflected through a person’s mental and emotional states, as opposed to solely their skin and physical appearance. This is what I wish to promote through my products because from my own experience, it has been essential to my sustained wellbeing. A person can be using all of the anti-aging products they want and have gorgeous complexion but an ugly disposition, so I want to go deeper with people to create a type of beauty that radiates from within. For me, the products are best described as tools for transformation, as they are intended to support self-awareness and mental and emotional beauty.
What feels most Joyful in your life?Mmm…I do love to work on my business, but it definitely does not feel joyful all the time! My relationship with my boyfriend is joyful. He’s very special. My relationship with food is joyful. NATURE is joyful. I love to get into nature. I think I need more joy in my life!