Looking back, it seems that Erin was destined to combine science and art in a room full of bottles and jars and digital scales.
“Mom was a biochemist at Vandy working on her dissertation when I was young,” Erin says as she adds jojoba oil to some organic marigold blooms. “I would help her in the lab, but I didn’t get to do anything more interesting than pipetting 10 ml of water into a hundred different test tubes.”
After graduating from Hillsboro High in Nashville, Erin studied sculpture in Ohio and then fabricated art in Brooklyn. When the Great Recession hit, it was time to reinvent, and so she earned a grad degree in Interactive Health and Nutrition. It was about this time, circa 2013, that Erin had her big epiphany. “I’m putting chemicals on my largest organ--my skin. And everything I put on it is going into my body….”
She began searching for skin care products that were purely organic, no junk or chemicals involved, but to no avail. They didn’t exist.
“There are plenty of companies out there that are doing 90% plant-based ingredients,” Erin says, “but the deal breakers are the last two to three ingredients that are the stabilizers that create a certain feel that a lot of consumers expect in a product.”
So, Erin began making her own. All of it free of parabens or petroleum, phthalates or PCBs. All of it so simple and pure you could spread it on a piece of toast and have it for breakfast. But why waste something so wonderful when your hair and skin and lips are hungry for nourishment too?
Erin returned to Nashville in 2018 to take care of her mother, bringing her new skin and body care business with her. Similar to Hygieia on Mount Olympus, Erin has set up shop atop a hill in her Hillsboro Village home, creating her ever-increasing line of products in a converted bedroom. Demand is great and growing; supply – always handcrafted and small batch – is limited. Wholesalers have approached her, but Erin is adamant about keeping it pure. “In a wholesale relationship,” she points out, “you have to count on whoever is selling my line to treat it like food products because it is; rotating it as if it were fresh-pressed juice.”
For this reason, she continues to do it all herself, keeping it small, keeping it real, keeping it pure. To quench your own skin’s thirst (or hair, or lips, or teeth), you can order online from her website, or, better yet, you can meet Erin herself on Saturdays at the Richland Park Farmer’s Market. Easy to recognize, she’ll be the one with the glowing skin.
~Story courtesy William Harwood; Photos by Rebecca Denton for Edible Nashville magazine