We had the good fortune of connecting with Briana Wiles and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Briana, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Really, it was me studying herbs, and making way too much of everything I was testing out! Then I got the idea to start a farmers market booth–this is when the inspiration for a brick and mortar came about. Within a few years of doing weekend summer markets, I saw the need and want for herbal remedies, and organic skincare in our area. I was amazed at how much we would take home from 4 hours at a farmers market, and could see how this could be a valuable business plan if we did it full-time, and we were so right on.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The way I created my career was purely organic and not following anyones rules. I am a wildcrafter, and my products are like nothing else on the market. I go to the woods and mountains to collect the medicinals that I have become acquainted with over the past decade plus. I use these unique ingredients to set us apart, but also to commune our clients with the natural world around them. Giving the most pure, more than organic medicinal ingredients the earth has to offer. It’s not been easy forging my own path, it has been really hard finding people to trust in when giving out all your secrets as a niche business owner. Lessons I have learned is to be humble, give grace, and learn to be resilient, because what you think was hard now, can only mean there are harder lessons to learn down the line. I would love the world to know that following your passions in life can result in living your dream for work. We are all capable of doing what we want and deserve, never let others stomp on your flowers, and when they do–know that the vulnerability of being crushed only means that when you get back up you will be that much stronger and smarter to new growth.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always take friends straight to the magic of the mountains and woods when they come to visit. Showing them fresh spring water, taking them on hikes that never lead very far because of all the plants they need to meet along the way. Tributary Coffee shop in Gunnison is a must for morning snacks and brews. Alpine Brewery for pizza and beer, or Blackstock Bistro for a yummy dinner. Friends and I spend most of our time at the Blue Mesa Reservoir in the summer heat, or up on Mount Crested Butte if its wintertime and we want to go have fun on the slopes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband has been my biggest support through all of this. It went from me wandering the woods with baskets and a backpack full of books, to becoming an author of the wild plants, a business owner of a few stores, and a mother to two kids–without him and his determination that what we were doing was right on, there would be no success. Also, my teachers and mentors in the herbal and wild food world have played a huge roll on informing me of what’s around me. A thanks to jim mcdonald, 7song, Paul Bergner, Tom Elpel, Sam Thayer, Kat Mackinnon, and so many more! My community though, is what makes me be able to do all that I do here at Rooted Apothecary. We are so supported by our locals, second home owners, vacationers, and all those in between. Without such an amazing network our company would not be thriving the way it is in stores, and online.
Other: TikTok: @rootedapothecary