Move over steroid cream, petroleum jelly and paraben-infused lotions. Austin singer-songwriter Raina Rose is back from tour, and she’s been whipping up more than new songs: potions to ease your cough, kiss your skin and generally make you glow, inside and out. Her line of entirely natural, made-in-her-kitchen wellness products, called Folk Potions, includes everything from body butter and deodorant to salves, bath teas, beard balms and luscious lotions for your baby’s bottom.
Rose still folks out as much as she can—often with her husband, bassist Andrew Pressman—but it’s different now that they have two young sons, 5-year-old Emmet and 2-year-old Benny. Rose and Pressman made the touring life work for as long as possible (they lived on the road until Emmet was 18 months old), but when it didn’t make sense anymore, they became much more home-centric. So why a new venture into an entirely different genre? “I’m a person who has to make stuff during my day—whether it’s food or songs or building something,” says Rose. “I have to do that in order to feel satisfied.”
At first, she spent a lot of time perfecting cake-making. “And then my pants didn’t fit. I couldn’t wear any of my clothes anymore. So I stopped making cake.” This led to an “aha” moment: She realized she could bring her knowledge of wellness herbs—gleaned from living on the coast of Oregon foraging when she was a young adult—and her love of the internet to make something tangible, useful and even healing.
She started Folk Potions in November 2016, “partly because the election was so alarming—I needed a distraction,” she explains. But she was also concerned about what’s in the products generally found on drugstore shelves, so she only uses food-grade ingredients in her line. “Your skin is this huge organ that absorbs everything you put on it, so why not put stuff you would eat on your body?” Her line currently includes delicious items such as Baby BUTTer (coconut oil, calendula flowers, shea butter); Jitterbug lip balm (named for the Tom Robbins’ novel “Jitterbug Perfume” and containing jasmine, tangerine, lavender and beet powder); Wild Gift coffee scrub (local coffee grounds, sugar, shea butter); and she even makes a personal lubrication mix called Sex Potion (shea butter, organic coconut oil, rosehip seed oil, along with the sultry scents of rose, lavender and neroli essential oils).
Turns out, the whole experience has been rewarding to both Rose personally and to her customers, and has prompted more than a few…interesting…conversations. “People tell me about their fungus and their eczema. I love it! It’s an awkward conversation that I enjoy so much,” she says. And her customers seem to be enjoying it, too. Not only are the reviews impressive (Nick Offerman of “Parks and Rec” fame even tweeted about her beard balm), but she’s seen great success selling on her Etsy website, direct on Instagram and at the occasional pop-up at various locations around town.
Folk Potions has also been a good way to diversify her creative talents at her music gigs. “When I play a show, it’s also nice to have something at the merch table that’s not music, because music is free now. All my records are on Spotify. It’s just the reality. So…I’m making something else!”
By Anne Marie Hampshire
For more information, visit Etsy.com/shop/folkpotions or find @folkpotions on Facebook and Instagram.