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Meet Nicole Christman of Cat + Claw Apothecary

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Christman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in an outdoor-oriented family with really sensitive skin, so I’ve always been somewhat cautious about what I put on my body. In school I studied environmental science so I know the dangers of the chemicals and toxins we ingest on a daily basis and the damage we’re doing to the environment. I was frequently outraged by what I learned, which motivated me to change the way I looked at food, farming, the earth, environmental justice, and what I put in my body.

At the same time, as I was going to school, I started working as a cheesemonger at our local cheese shop (shout out to Cheese Cave). Cleanliness is a top priority when you’re dealing with delicious, living dairy products, so I found myself washing my hands more than ever. My skin became more and more sensitive with every wash. Fast forward to 2013 where I’m also the tasting room manager at our local brewery, Claremont Craft Ales. Not only did this job include a lot of hand washing, it included a lot of dishwashing, as well hah. My hands were shot. Cracked and angry, my skin yearned for something to soothe the pain and protect it from the damage that awaited at the dreaded “dish pit”. I desperately used any lotion and balm I could get my hands on, many of which, I might add, had an impressive list of toxic ingredients. Nothing worked.

It was around this time that I started studying herbal medicine and my mind was blown wide open. “I could make my own,” I thought to myself. I certainly knew what herbs to use. So, after a few months of carefully selecting plants and ingredients, our “Everything Wax” was born. I started bringing it to work with me day after day. I encouraged my coworkers to try it! Honestly, I couldn’t shut up about it and soon enough our brewery regulars wanted to purchase their own prized tins of “Everything Wax”. That’s when Cat + Claw clicked for me. I knew I had something that could help other people, not just myself.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’m not sure anyone’s road is ever truly smooth. I’ve always struggled with imposter syndrome and it’s been really hard for me to internalize my own success. I used to find myself saying things like, “This works for you, but it won’t work for anyone else” or “Do I only think this is working because I know it’s supposed to work?”. There’s a lot of self-doubts when it comes to starting your own business and honestly, it’s something I’ve struggled to move out of. I think that’s the people pleaser in me, constantly seeking the approval of others instead of focusing on myself and what makes me happy.

I’ve found a lot of power in owning my fear and talking to people who are having the same experiences on their own separate journeys. I think communication is a powerful tool, not only in the way we talk to others but in the way we speak to ourselves.

The stories we tell ourselves in many ways are often self-sabotaging and isolating. I started this business almost five years ago and it wasn’t until I reached out of my comfort zone and started a dialogue with others that I was truly able to grow and transform a negative, fear-based headspace into something that fueled my passion and purpose.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Cat + Claw Apothecary – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Cat + Claw is a botanical-based apothecary that makes sustainable skincare for thoughtful folks. We are a small womxn run business that believes in creating products that not only change the way people think about the earth but the way they think about themselves. We want people to feel good about what they’re putting on their skin AND where those ingredients come from. We advocate for sustainability at every step of our process— from the sourcing, growing, and harvesting of herbs to the containers our products are housed in. We believe skincare should be safe for the planet, not just the people.

Our goal is to find a balance between consumption and consumerism by creating multitasking products for all skin types and ways of life. We believe everyone deserves the right to goods that enhance their lives and the lives of others without shortening them. I am proud to say we are a company for people who are soft, who are resilient, who want to be a part of something bigger, and who know their actions can make an impact on the world. In short, we are a business that strives for a future where we can be 100% sustainable until then we will keep raising awareness for the environment, the people, and the plants that make this earth whole.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m really excited to see where the next couple of years takes me. I’ve actively made a commitment to show up for myself, my business, and my community and I think it’s going to be a transformative experience. As far as the future is concerned, I am thrilled to announce that Cat + Claw will be releasing a line of herbal teas and spice blends in 2021. Employing food as medicine is something I am extremely passionate about and I can’t wait to share this edible extension with everyone. The line will include a variety of sustainably sourced teas to aid sleep, anxiety, allergies, etc and nutrient-packed seasoning blends like togarashi and gomasio!


  • Products range from $8 – $48

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Image Credit:
Dahlia & Finch

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