We had the good fortune of connecting with Kris Wrede and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kris, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I grew up in a small town called Neenah, Wisconsin…Behind the cheddar curtain as they say! It was a fairly natural way of growing up, as my Dad grew much of our produce and my Mom canned much of that as well. Most everything else we pretty much got locally. I started working part time at a health food store, and was really way into natural products. I had really bad acne in high school, so I tried some natural skin care products that were super helpful. They had essential oils in them, and at that time I did not know what those were. However, it led me on a path of using natural products in skin and hair care, and eating super healthy. A number of years later I got in a bad car accident and was finally convinced to see an acupuncturist in Chicago. Now I am a big proponent of acupuncture, but back then it took me a minute to be convinced! He actually gave me a book by my now friend, aromatherapist Robert Tisserand. He said the essential oils in the book would help with the pain, and it did. After that, I devoted my life to aromatherapy, and started my own business which is now called Kismet Potions in Longmont, CO. I specialize in natural hand and surface sanitizers, skin care, perfumes and love potions. I write about natural products and do custom formulation of aromatic products for many types of clients. I also teach classes in all of those areas, and do custom fragrances for individuals couples, and for special occasions like weddings, holidays and birthdays. I also teach culinary classes in my ‘Sensual Kitchen’ series using essential oils in cooking. It adds so much depth and flavor to food it is really quite sensational!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Kismet Potions has been my passion for 28 years, it is a massive part of my identity a as person and how I live my life. I feel honored and very blessed every day that I have this as a part of who I am. Has it been easy? A resounding NO!!! I am still reinventing myself every day, and have branched out into more writing and product development for other companies. It keeps me moving for sure. How do I overcome the challenges? Every day is different, and there are so many heartaches when you lose a client or do not get a client or a gig you thought you were going to. So, you just go back out there and do it again. Has there been tears, anger, frustration, hurt? Oh yes there has been. Sometimes all of those emotions on a daily basis. I often wonder how and why I keep going! I never became a big company, and I am able to know the majority of my customers by name and so much about their lives. I love that element about my chosen profession. My brand is unique, and it is because I develop everything from scratch. There are no set formulas or set ways I do things. I consider myself a true creative and that is one of the most satisfying ways for me to work. Aromatherapy and natural perfumery are both and art and a science. When I develop a recipe you can make it one day, and a week later there will be a slight difference. Plants do that, and that is one of the joys of this art. If you get a jasmine from one region or one supplier, and the get the same one a few months later there will be variations. I always explain to my customers that there is not going to be 100% consistency ever. That is one of the true beauties of nature.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course, I would take them to my favorite restaurants, which are chef run for the most part. Sadly, many of my favorites have closed over the last year like Riff’s in Boulder. I would definitely go to a few spas…The spa at the St. Julian in Boulder is a must then their restaurant is great for little break between our massages and facials. Then I would take them for a night or two to Colorado Springs to the Sunwater Spa and eat at The Garden of the Gods Café and The Sahara Café in Manitou Springs. Downtown I would go the Art Bar and the Denver Art Museum next door. Stay overnight at the hotel and then on the 2nd night go to eat at Bar Dough. Closer to home here in Longmont I would go to the Roost, and finally, to work off all of that food we would bike and hike at Sandstone Ranch and the St. Vrain Trail…Whew!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are soooooo many people…First of all the acupuncturist I talked about before, Dr. Dan Plovanich in Chicago. Without that book, I would not have gotten my start. Then of course, the author of the book ‘The Art of Aromatherapy’ by Robert Tisserand. Then Althea Orr in Chicago of the Chicago Center. At the time I lived there her and her then husband (who sadly passed a number of years ago), had an other-worldly school called The Chicago College of Healing Arts. I taught there for at least 17 years, and met the most sensational people and developed so many friendships I still have to this day.