True Wild Botanics Tells A Personal And Personal Care Story Through Plants
Plants are intimately intertwined with the professional and personal lives of husband-and-wife Nisreen Azar and Scott Ward.
The couple met through their careers — she’s an arborist and he runs a gardening business — and have joined forces in True Wild Botanics, a natural beauty brand centered on wild-harvested and seasonal ingredients. Its product lineup of five personal care basics is priced from $19 to $38.
“When Scott and I are driving around, it’s a never-ending dialog about the landscape. We are continually one-upping each other on plant ID, ignoring everyone else with us,” chuckles Azar. “The brand started with experimentation and this passion we have for nature. For us, it’s about a connection to plants, and telling a story about the landscape.”
True Wild Botanics’ products originated from Azar’s and Ward’s desire to find formulas to soothe hands Ward wrecked from long days toiling in the soil. “He was using this chemical cream at the time, and we thought, ‘Let’s do better than this.’ Our products worked, and we loved them,” says Azar. “We started sharing them and got great feedback.”
The products include Restorative Skin Oil, Pure & Natural Deodorant, Pure Beeswax Candle, Hydrating Mist and Sea Salt & Coast Sage Body Scrub. In True Wild Botanics’ first few months on the market, the Hydrating Mist has been a bestseller, but the Sea Salt & Coast Sage Body Scrub is a close second. Instead of boxes, the products come in reusable cotton pouches.
True Wild Botanics’ merchandise is encased in glass bottles with gender-neutral labels featuring shades of brown and white. The brand’s logo is a coyote designed by Peter McBride. “The coyote is an animal that’s adapted to many environments. It’s a resilient creature and, in Native American folklore, the coyote is a wily trickster,” says Azar. “It’s a reminder to put the fun and joy back into the business when we’re hustling.”
Azar and Ward poured $20,000 into developing True Wild Botanics, and they’re aiming to record a return on their investment in a year or two. Azar pointed to trademarking, graphic design and procuring a lab to produce deodorant as the largest expenses. “We are trying to be patient and remember that, we don’t rush the products, so why should we rush the profit?” says Azar. “We wish it was immediate, but the reality is that slow and steady wins the race.”
Aside from the deodorant, Azar and Ward make True Wild Botanics’ products themselves. “We harvest our own sage. We dry it, pick all the leaves off of it, and make sure it is of suitable quality to put in our products,” details Azar, adding, “We started with products that we needed and wanted for everyday personal use. They have simple, clean ingredients.”
Finding simple, clean ingredients hasn’t been as easy as Azar thought once True Wild Botanics ventured outside its own small-batch production. “Don’t expect most labs to automatically understand that you are trying to be clean and chemical-free,” she warns. “We always have to be on our toes to make sure that nothing we don’t want is going in. We have been trying to formulate a toothpaste and had these long in-depth conversations about it. I got a sample, and there was saccharine on the ingredients list. I was cursing.”
For distribution, True Wild Botanics is focused on independent boutiques at the outset, especially those located in the Pacific Northwest where it’s based. “Our biggest surge has been local. People love local brands,” says Azar. “The reception at our local boutiques has been astronomically more powerful than the reception I get when writing to boutiques on the East Coast.”
As Azar and Ward grow True Wild Botanics, they remain committed to the plant vocations that brought them together prior to launching the brand. “It’s 24-7, let me tell you. I’ve found it very beneficial to structure my day because it can be overwhelming, and I really have to schedule things,” says Azar. “We also have to unplug, and turn our computers and phones off and have quiet time at night. If we are promoting a brand all about wellbeing and taking care of our bodies through being conscious about what we purchase, we have to take care of ourselves. We can’t be walking hypocrites and run ourselves into the ground.”