We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Vu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elizabeth, why did you pursue a creative career?
It was kind of an accident, actually. I was originally pursuing a medical career and was preparing to apply to medical school. Around this time was also when my mental health began to plummet. In 2018 I was diagnosed with depression and about a year later I decided to stop pursuing a medical career as my mental health continued to deteriorate. I took up soap making as a hobby to help with my depression after coming across a YouTube video. I’ve always been an arts and crafts kinda person, and soap making looked like a fun activity. I absolutely fell in-love! Making soap reignited this creative flame that I had lost for years because I was so concentrated on a future in medicine. It helped immensely with my mental health and really gave me a creative outlet. From soap, I soon started venturing into the world of cosmetic chemistry and learned how to formulate my own products such as shampoo bars, creams, and lotions. Both my passions were being fulfilled with this new hobby turned business; the creativity needed to come up with new products and designs, and the science knowledge needed to actually formulate a safe and stable product.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When I started Félin Lune Apothecary, I was sure of two things: I wanted my brand to be eco-friendly and I wanted to incorporate the herbalism I had learned growing up from my mom. I wanted my products to be rooted in holistic herbalism but also be backed by modern science. Natural doesn’t always equal safe or better and synthetic doesn’t always equal toxic and unsafe. Toxicity is based on concentration! The beauty of combining the two allows me to create cosmetically elegant products thanks to the abundance of safe synthetic ingredients available on the market and combine that with the power of plants and herbs.
I am big on making every aspect of my business as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. No company is perfectly sustainable, but my goal is to be as transparent as possible to my customers. All my products are packaged in reusable, recyclable, or compostable materials. I ensure that the raw materials I used are ethically sourced and all animal-based ingredients (such as tussuh silk, beeswax, etc) are cruelty-free. I try my best to avoid greenwashing and will always encourage my customers to make educated and informed decisions with their buying power (no fearmongering or spreading chemophobia over in this corner!).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a big foodie. Don’t ask me where to go for a fun time, but if food is your thing, I can help. One of the best perks of living in Orange County is the abundant amount of amazing food from all different cultures. For the best Vietnamese steamed rice sheets, we would have to go to Banh Cuon Luu Luyen. Head over to Young Juice for the best sugarcane juice ever (get the one with strawberry and condensed milk!). Kawaii Boba Teahouse has some of the tastiest bubble waffles I’ve ever had and their fruit teas are so refreshing. If you want a Mexican twist on the classic pizza, check out Mr. Taco Nice, and get the Mexican Meat Lovers pizza!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first person I would like to recognize is my amazing mom. She was unsure of my sudden career change but has supported me the entire time. She has spent her hard-earned money to help me grow my business, spread the word about my products to her friends and clients, and supported me in so many other ways. She was there supporting my first business as a high schooler, selling stationery and I know that no matter where life takes me, she’ll continue to root for me. The second person I’d like to recognize is my best friend, Tammy. She’s been here since day 1, buying my products, giving me feedback, and being my personal cheerleader. She is always there to celebrate my business successes and helps me in any way she can (like keeping me company during my pop-ups and helping me build my physical location). And lastly, my loving partner Jared. He has definitely joined Tammy’s cheerleading squad and is always telling me how proud he is of my hard work. He is the one that gets to see all the behind-the-scenes of my business, from the happy celebrations to the stressed-out breakdowns and he’s there for every minute of it.
I’d also like to mention the book Super Maker by Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Naturals. I resonated so much with her story and her book gave me even more determination to succeed. I recommend her book to anyone I know who wants to start a small business!
Other: Storefront Inside Open Market OC (Mainplace Mall Location): 2820 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705