By Joy Hampton The Norman Transcript, Okla.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet entrepreneur Jade Arellano, founder of "Prairie Bloom Botanicals." Arellano creates herbal infusions for body care that are safe for moms and babies.
The Norman Transcript, Okla.
While Norman entrepreneur Jade Arellano spent part of her childhood in Oklahoma, she was born in the Tucson desert where she learned about botanicals from her mother.
"I remember as a child in the White Mountains when we lived in Arizona, my mom always had flower and vegetable gardens out back," Arellano said. "Those are some of my earliest memories -- helping her plant and harvest. I've always been very drawn to botanicals and herbs."
At the Norman studio where she creates herbal infusions for her body care business, Prairie Bloom Botanicals, botanical pictures inherited from her maternal grandmother hang near her workbench as a reminder of her roots.
She conceived the products that would grow into Prairie Bloom's Mother + Child line when she was pregnant.
"When I started making stuff for myself, I was pregnant with my son, and everything that I found had a lot of essential oils or non-organic oils, and everything that I found that I wanted was out of my price range," Arellano said. "Essential oils are super-popular right now, and they certainly have wonderful therapeutic values, but because they are so concentrated, it wasn't something I wanted to use during pregnancy or on my son when he was an infant."
The Mother + Child line can be used safely through the pre-and postnatal periods because it includes only organic food grade butters and herbal infused cold pressed, organic oils.
"You can get the same therapeutic value from herbs that are infused into cold-pressed oil, but at a much safer level," Arellano said. "The nipple soother, the booty balm and the belly butter are all very popular. The belly butter is probably my most popular mother and child product, and the nipple soother is really popular because you don't have to wash after using the nipple soother before nursing your baby."
Many mainstream products for nursing mothers use lanolin which is derived from sheep and not organic. Most of those products require that mothers wash before they nurse again.
"That's one reason why I use food grade butters and oils," she said. "You rub it in, and it absorbs, but the infant is still going to ingest it, so that's why it being organic and food grade is important to me."
The belly butter helps prevent stretch marks if used during pregnancy, she said, and the herbs are popular for healing scar tissue, which means it can also help help heal stretch marks.
"Shea butter is the primary ingredient, and it's very high in vitamin E which is great for scar tissue as well," she said. "I also make a healing salve in my mother and child line called the Little Warrior Salve, and the herbs that are infused in it have properties that are antibacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. They also speed the regeneration of skin cells."
Little Warrior Salve is used for cuts, scrapes and minor burns.
In addition to being mindful of ingredients, Arellano uses eco-conscious packaging and post-consumer shipping materials.
"All of my packaging is recyclable, and I stay away from plastic as much as possible, but my favorites are compostable so you can recycle them, but you can also toss them into the compost," she said. "Even if you toss them in the trash, they will compost on their own."
Arellano thinks it's worth the extra cost and believes her client base will be willing to pay a dollar more for something that leaves a smaller impact on Earth.
Many Prairie Bloom ingredients are sourced from other local, female-owned small businesses.
"The coffee that I use in the coffee scrub and the fine line eye serum is from Bison Brew," Arellano said. "She's a local coffee roaster, and the Shea butter is purchased from Pure Grayce. Grayce is local to Norman, but her family is from the village of Saki in Nigeria, so that's where the Shea butter is actually sourced from."
The women of Saki make the Shea butter, and Arellano donates an additional 25 percent of each purchase back to those women.
"A big part of what I wanted to do when I started Prairie Bloom was to get to the point where I could give back," she said.
Every batch of Prairie Bloom product is hand blended and poured in small quantities.
"There is a very high level of quality control," Arellano said. "I'm measuring and I'm seeing and smelling and literally experiencing every ingredient that goes into each product. I believe that when you make something with your hands, you put your energy into it as well. I try not to make products when I'm sad or upset."
Arellano plays happy music and puts all of her love and positive energy into her products as she works.
"I hope when people use my products they feel that," Arellano said. "I guess that's the yoga teacher in me. I think people receive whatever energies you put in when you create."
She believes that's the something special about hand-made products compared to mass-produced items.
Arellano also prides herself on never using parabens, phthalates, petroleum, laurel sulfates, synthetic fragrance or color, or synthetic preservatives in her formulas.
"I don't use those ingredients because they are endocrine disrupters," she said. "I am also a functional medicine nutritionist. What that means is I specialist in seeing people with inflammation-based diseases like autoimmune diseases, infertility, ADHD and autism and so hormones obviously play a big part in a lot of these.
"When your endocrine system is being disrupted it affects weight gain and turning genes on or off and fertility is a big issue with hormones. If you look at a lot of the main stream body products, any mainstream product is going to contain parabens or petroleum products and they have a lot of sneaky names."
Additionally, Prairie Bloom herbal infusions are made with apricot oil so they are safe for those with nut allergies.
"I'm also in the process of going through the advanced herbalism program at the Herbal Academy," she said. "Once I finish that coursework, it will allow me to test to be a certified herbalist. That's something I've wanted to do for a very long time -- deepen my knowledge of nature's medicine. I feel like that's what sets me apart from other small skincare lines, there's a use of herbs in every product that I make."
Arellano earned a bachelor's of business administration degree at the University of New Mexico, prior to moving back to Norman to be closer to family. After finishing a bachelor's of science degree in medical sciences at OU, she began her master's degree in applied clinical nutrition. She officially started Prairie Bloom in December 2015. Arellano also owns Balance Holistic Nutrition where she treats clients living with inflammatory disease.
Find Prairie Bloom online at prairiebloombodycare.com or email [email protected]