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Meet Carmen Wolf of Potion Handmade

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carmen Wolf.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Carmen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Potion Handmade is a woman-owned, next-level clean & green beauty business based in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. As Founder and President, I began my journey toward entrepreneurship somewhat unwittingly. During my early thirties, after my husband and I had purchased our first home, I developed a passion for California native plants and edible gardening out of simply wanting to beautify the exterior of our home.

That time coincided with me becoming more fully devoted to natural and healthy living, as well as environmental protection.

Those things, combined with my training in makeup artistry back at the beginning of the new millennium, laid the perfect foundation for Potion Handmade. Its inception was inevitable since the safe and effective skincare I had sought for so many years continually eluded me. Frustrated with experimenting with one green beauty brand after another that didn’t resolve my issues (aging, dry, and occasionally acneic skin), I eventually decided to research blending essential oils and common kitchen pantry items to create various topical potions with simple, botanical and natural ingredients. Gratefully, I had willing human “Guinea pigs” at my disposal to test those early Potion products.

Besides myself, I relied on my husband, son, and friends for feedback during the initial R&D phase. And, to my delight, my original concoctions were far more effective than brands I had been using before. The little Potion Handmade seed was then planted in my brain, and In 2016 I decided to take my kitchen creations to the next level and form a small business. My goal was (and still is) to bring simple, no-fuss, green skin and body care to the public, particularly Angelenos. I believe that people, more than ever, value next-level, efficacious goods that are locally handmade with love. That is what is at the core of Potion Handmade.

Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t exactly been smooth, but it also has been quite a joyous journey, this leap into owning a business. I really value the ups and downs equally. When I started Potion Handmade, I was working out of my home. It went well for a while but I quickly ran out of the room so I opted to look for a separate space where I could manage all aspects of running the growing operation. We don’t have a brick and mortar; it’s basically our corporate HQ, located in Los Feliz. It’s been perfect.

As far as other specific challenges, I would say that growing and scaling my ideas into something tangible has been a true education. I went into this with some great original green beauty recipes and lots of hope. I didn’t have a background in business. So there is a steep learning curve for me, particularly in developing a brand and charting its course to go to market. There’s a lot of trial and error but I always look at my mistakes as golden opportunities and I don’t beat myself up about them because I focus on the positive and look forward to doing things better next time.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We artisanally handcraft all-natural, aromatherapeutic Potions for face and body in micro batches at our studio in Los Feliz. Attention to detail is paramount for Potion Handmade. We are meticulous about ensuring love and care is poured into every detail – from our research and development process (tested only on humans, never animals), recipe conception, right up to product formulation and packaging. Countless hours are spent determining which ingredients to use, how they will interact with the skin and if they’ll fulfill our goals, and where to find them.

Sustainability and environmental preservation is a primary concern. To that end, we source raw materials from vendors located as close to us as possible. We are often asked if our products are organic. While we wish that all components could be grown organically, that isn’t always possible. But, stewardship of this precious planet is always at the top of our minds; we purchase organic whenever the right opportunity arises. While we are a company that is owned by a woman and run by women, our products are 100% gender-neutral. We recognize that all humans need to take care of their skin, and we are the source for them to do it naturally, beautifully, and effectively.

Our original formulas work as a system with one another, and they can be dovetailed with other green or even traditional beauty regimens. There is a great deal of sophistication in our products; they are complex creations. All raw materials within an individual formula work in tandem with one another to deliver optimal results. Potion Handmade harkens back to the old days of people getting their products from the neighbor down the street. There is something quaint and comforting about handcrafted goods.

I appreciate the story and connection of buying from local artisans, whether it be bread, produce, jewelry, clothing, and beyond. It’s nice to support our neighbors and make connections. That is the vibe we are cultivating.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I’m a proud Angeleno, and so I would say, most definitely our city is a good place for Potion Handmade! It really sprung out of being a citizen of LA, with its diverse population, plant life and geography, focus on outdoor living and appreciation for taking care of oneself. As far as support for businesses, I can’t speak to that very well yet. I’m still in the early launch phase.

I would love to become part of the LA Original network but I’m not sure how to break into that. My recommendation for newer businesses would be: Go for it. There are so many outlets for entrepreneurs to make our way – whether its the myriad pop-up sales and artisan markets, flea markets, farmers’ markets, etc. And, Angelenos are open-minded consumers so that is a plus.

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