We had the good fortune of connecting with Emilee Dziuk-Barnett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emilee, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work/life balance, that’s always a tricky one when you run your own business! Both Paul and I have been in some sort of entrepreneurial role for the last 15 years so when we started GARA, we both understood what it would take to get the company up and running. We tend to have more flexible work hours because our duties in the company are changing daily. During distillation season in the spring/early summer, we often work weekends as the flowers begin to blossom. This hardly feels like work when you’re on a beautiful property in Ojai working outdoors with plants. We live very close to our studio so we end up being there more often than not. I love the fluidity that we have found. Paul and I are immeshed in life, work and business. And it works for us. I think of this balance as a gift to be honest. Being able to work and live with my life partner has its challenges, but it is far more rewarding that the occasional woe. We have had to learn to communicate in so many different ways that working together in our business has actually deepened our personal relationship. Paul’s motto has always been, a little bit of work everyday, and I now see the value in this mindset. It allows one to focus on the one task at hand rather than getting caught up in everything that needs to be done. In turn, this frees the mind to be able to complete other tasks. It’s brilliant!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are plant people, intrigued by the scent of flowers and plants, ever curious about the natural world around us. One might say we are enthusiasts of many things, from sacred geometry and ancient technologies, to traditional herbalism and modern science, we follow the threads laid out before us. There is certainly synchronicity at play in the way that the plants present themselves to us as conduits of wisdom. Grass and Root Apothecary was created out of the love and curiosity we have for medicinal plants. We started making products for ourselves, then friends and family. One thing led to the next and here we are today with GARA. Our goal is first for the earth, for the well-being and health of the plants we incorporate in our creations and the ecosystems that support regenerative agricultural practices. We grow many of the herbs we use in our formulations and firmly believe that the direct connection we have with this process is essential. We source all of our ingredients directly through small, organic cultivators, and meticulously vet each ingredient for potency and purity. All of our formulations are plant-based, 100% organic and handcrafted. We do not use plastic in any of our packaging or shipping materials and do our best to eliminate any unnecessary marketing material. In honoring our commitment to the earth, we are able to create powerful herbal compositions that we can offer to you, our community. It is our intention, above all, to maintain quality over quantity, to honor nature’s cyclical rhythm and to preserve the ancient knowledge of plant medicine.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh LA, first I’d take her to the beach, we’d walk along the Santa Monica Pier, peeking inside the various shops for unique treasures. I’d show her around Echo Park, stop in at my favorite vegan ice cream spot Solar Return. Then we would eat at my favorite Pine and Crane on Sunset. I’d take her to the Griffith Observatory and obviously, hike to the Hollywood sign. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shoutout to Joslyn Lawrence, a dear friend and mentor. Over the last few years, she has inspired me so deeply and worked closely with us as a creative director for our photo shoots. I am forever in awe of her creative spirit.

Website: https://garaskincare.com/

Instagram: @gara_skincare

Image Credits
Stephanie Plomarity Joslyn Lawrence

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.