Amber Haase, CEO Element Botanicals, Sorrento, British Columbia
The moment you meet Amber Haase, you know she’s legit. She’s one of the most sincere people I know (full disclosure, she’s a dear friend who I met through my partner and I feel like I won the friend lottery). So what does this all this realz-ness entail? Warmth, humour, laughter and ingenuity. She’s also the brains and brawn behind Element Botanicals, a nature-inspired, handmade skincare company based in her family’s beautiful home in the mountain and lake country of the Shuswap region of B.C. For the last 10 years Amber has taken her business from selling soap in Grandview Park in Vancouver to supporting her family with her own two hands (and that of her husband’s) as well as selling their products across Canada, garnering Western Canadian media coverage and becoming a favourite on the indie craft show circuit.
Because Amber is funny, a bit magical and totally REAL, so she was naturally my first choice for Anchors and Proteas’ regular column: How did you get that f*#king awesome job? I want to insert a HUGE caveat here AND now. I did not come up with this column name, my favourite, now deceased magazine – Readymade – did. It was one of my favourite columns in the DIY mag. I hope to emulate their ethos here (the questions are from my brain with a bit of audience testing from friends/family). As an introvert and general lover of the human race, I am inspired by people who LOVE their jobs. So I thought I would dedicate some space on the world wide web to profiling people who have f*#king awesome jobs: who they are, how they got there and what advice would they give others.
So please grab a cup of coffee/tea/wine and enjoy this little peek into Amber’s career.
So how did you get that f*&king awesome job? Can you describe what your job is and what it is that you do?
I am the owner of Element Botanicals, we are makers of natural skin care and aromatherapy products. We use clean ingredients, many of which we pick and are grown on our hopeful homestead in rural BC.
Did you have to give anything up to get here?
I had to give up on the idea that I would ever have a “normal” job with all normal job fixin’s. Things like holiday pay, dental coverage, things like that. I actually did have a job that had all of those things before I started my own business. Still, it was a no brainer to head in this direction, though. I had studied herbalism, aromatherapy and other natural therapies and knew that it was my calling.
Who or what has been your mentor/inspiration along the way?
I grew up with a lot of (successful) creative people around me, my parents had so many cool friends! I constantly draw from their examples to give me motivation when it gets tough. If they can do it, I can too. Also, my husband has been working with me for a few years now and he is a constant inspiration. He can do pretty much anything. He is the most optimistic person I know, he can take any obstacle and break it down for me, it’s amazing.
In three words or less, what’s the best part of your job?
My. Own. Boss.
In three words or less, what’s the worst part of your job?
My. Own. Boss.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to do all sorts of things at different times…I always loved concocting stuff, so I think this was always my path. I grew up in Ontario and my dream was to live in the mountains. Also to have goats. Fun fact, we did have goats but traded them in for donkeys so I guess you can say my dreams came true.
What is your drink of choice?
Day: Coffee, then tea, green tea, kombucha tea, water.
Evening: White wine spritzer
Where was the last place you travelled?
We travel to Vancouver (to put on workshops) on a regular basis, does that count? I think I need a vacation.
What’s on your playlist right now?
I will never take Neko Case off my playlist. Ever. Currently in heavy rotation are MIA, Dr.Dog, Kid Cudi, Lana Del Rey, The New Pornographers, Arcade Fire, Ratatat, Otis Redding, and since It’s summer now, we just added Led Zeppelin…And I secretly love Loreena McKennitt.
What are your top three reads vis a vis your career (books, magazines, manuals, podcasts)?
There’s a great book I am really in love with called The Boreal Herbal, by Yukoner Beverly Gray: In my opinion, it is hands down the best complete guide to wild crafting food and medicine. I have read a LOT of these books and this one is really awesome.
Livewithmoxy.com’s blog is where I go to feel connected, it oozes wonder woman witchy goodness and just gets me, y’know? It’s written by one of the most amazing women I know, Mrs.Kate Fagervik. She really #liveswithmoxy and inspires me to do the same.
Does Instagram count? I seem to spend a lot of time there. It’s all about visual with me so I really dig it.
Any advice for someone who’s looking to lock down their f*&king awesome job?
“If you dream it, you can do it” – Napolean Dynamite (I think)
What does the future behold for your f*#king awesome job?
Things are looking good for Element Botanicals, we are working towards becoming more self-sufficient; Including growing more of our own herbs, using solar heat, reducing waste and so on. Basically our goal is just to keep moving forward. We are celebrating our ten year anniversary right now, so that’s pretty neat. We have been working with a distributor for about a year and had a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall, so things have been moving onwards and upwards and we are ready to keep moving forward into the great unknown!
For more info on Element Botanicals visit their website: