Graciela has always loved to make things. It wasn’t until she moved to Ukraine for the Peace Corps that she really began appreciating making things at home and by hand. Not going to the store to buy a can of soup or a can of beans, but making it from scratch and without preservatives. Over the years she became increasingly aware of what she put in her body as well as on her body. She was slathering lotion on her legs one day, and her mom asked why she was putting so many chemicals on her legs. She says it had never really occurred to her. So in her quest to make home cooked items, she began to get curious about bath and body products.
Read her story below
What inspired you to start your creative enterprise?
Growing up, my family and I always made candles and soap. When I was in the Peace Corps, I began researching the harmfulness of chemicals on your body, environmental concerns, and various plants and herbs to treat ailments. When I moved to New York for graduate school, I finally had access to the resources I needed to start making products. First, I made products for friends and family. Then, there was a street fair the next block over from my house. I decided to rent a booth and try selling at the fair. It went so well that I wanted to continue. Moving to Long Beach really helped my brand grow as there were more opportunities to sell my products and a very supportive community.
“I went to conferences and heard the voices of small islanders and villagers begging the big polluting countries to wake up and make changes because all they wanted in life was to live with clean food and water.”
Describe your perfect day out and about locally.
I love getting out and about in Long Beach. My favorite things to do are Yoga at the bluff, riding my bike, and swimming at Horny Corner. My perfect day is brunch at either Breakfast Bar, The Attic, or Berlin. Then walking or riding around town.
Describe your day at home or in your workspace?
Getting an early start to my day with coffee over a list of things to do is important to my success. I swear that if I don’t have a list, I get distracted easily and finish things that do not have to be done that day. Currently, I am in the process of organizing my workspace to where everything is in its place, and I can easily set up for the day’s projects and have an area to clean up after.
“If there were more hours in the day, I would spend more time researching herbs, plants, and weeds and how they can help us.”
What is your favorite local mural or piece of street art, what strikes you about it?
My favorite mural in town is the one on Frontenac Court which is Untitled by Cinta Vidal and part of the Pow! Wow! Long Beach project. I really connected to this piece because it is a perfect illustration of everything that happens in that alley.
“I hope that my products with less packaging (especially plastic), chemicals, and with ingredients that are locally sourced can help contribute to the change.”
If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go?
If I could move anywhere, it would be to a society within the moon and stars where everyone played a role. Money isn’t present and everybody has a special talent that they contribute. There are no corporations, the society is in balance, there is flow, people live off the land, the water is free and clear, food is real, and there is no excessive use of resources.