Working with Heather Ciprani, the passionate founder behind Flower & Bone Supply has been such a rewarding experience. Her love for concocting beautiful botanical infusions with the best nature has to offer us is truly inspiring. Discover Heather's journey to creating her brand below!
Hi Heather, welcome to Nourish Beauty Box! Flower & Bone Supply is such a unique name, tell us how this brand came to life!
Flower & Bone Supply is a holistic wellness resource for the local community and beyond. We help to inspire daily rituals and lifestyles in order to live more balanced lives.
"We are about an authentic communion with your spirit, your body and the world around you."
I started Flower & Bone Supply in Jan 2016. Initially I began making skin care products (food-based cooking for skin) as a way to clean up and simplify my own life. After 12 years working on other companies' products, I kept feeling this urge that my “goal career” wasn’t be anything like what I was doing. I was given the opportunity to say goodbye to all that and moved to the mountains of Northern California. I had already got it in my head that I was going to finally pursue nutrition and wellness, because it was something that was growing in me for a long time.
In Humboldt, I got immersed into the medicinal cannabis world, organic and sustainable farming and off grid living…I was such a sponge!! I put on my corporate hat and was figuring out my place in all of it. I had already started dabbling in my own skincare prior to leaving corporate, but after I left and, of course resources were more limited, I really went to town.
I met my current partner and began exploring the wilderness, off the beaten path places and taking in nature in a much more profound way. Flowers and bones were part of the things we would collect…I fondly remember the day when the name hit me. We were out adventuring and hiking. It represents the cyclical nature of life and the earth that we are all just a part of. When we help to nourish the flowers and planet, we in turn help to nourish and heal ourselves and all things that have bones.
Once I started my Masters Program in Holistic Nutrition in 2016, I decided to launch my own website for my products and services so that I could have a platform to market myself and test ideas out.
My own wellness journey started from a young age in the garden. I was diagnosed with ovarian cysts and that journey helped fuel my curiosity to help treat and reverse ALL my symptoms with food and cannabis. This passionate pursuit lead me to my current path of education and inspiration to help others find a better and more harmonious way to treat their symptoms and help bring their bodies to balance.
So many great creators start with a "Why" and we know you have a strong raison d'être for creating your brand. Can you share it with our readers?
Flower & Bone Supply is all about inspiring a life well-lived. The next generation of wellness goes beyond gyms and air purifiers and takes people off their couches and out into the real world for transformational experiences.
"I hope to inspire transformation and connection through holistic wellness experiences, for people and the world around them, so that they may lead their healthiest and balanced lives. To allow people to get back in touch with a simpler way to live that is also in harmony with the earth."
This vision was written with my philosophy in mind, since I practice nutrition. It has helped me to define how I work with my clients. To me wellness is about living well, celebrations and self-care. It is about enjoyment, not deprivation. I try to show my clients and customers simple ways to make their rituals absolutely delightful.
What makes Flower & Bone Supply stand out in this crowded marketplace?
There are probably two things that I think makes me stand out. One, I am meticulous about my ingredients, as with the food I eat. I read, research, listen to how the products are produced, what they are really used for and are they really necessary.
"For instance, I do not use products that are not shelf stable because they require preservatives."
An example of this would be Aloe. It’s a fabulous ingredient, I love it, but it is best used fresh, not powdered or as a gel because god knows that it is combined with. Why bottle that?
Secondly, I honestly just infused the products with herbs. I go back and look at old folk recipes and try different combinations that are mostly anti-inflammatory and serve as a nutrient for the body. I find that it produces a much better and cost-effective product. I don’t use fancy distillate or extracts. I was actually quite shocked that there weren’t many companies in that space.
Do you have a particular target audience in mind when you create your products?
They're primarily women who are inspired by the holistic lifestyle. They may have come into it because they are looking for alternative therapies and have always tried to do the right thing but didn’t have all the information to make informed decisions. They try to be conscious consumers, to be present and mindful in their lives, eat the right foods, move their bodies, and follow a clean beauty routine. They are looking for inspiration and real connection with like-minded individuals. They are excited for home cooked healthy meals and to know that healthy doesn’t have to mean abstinence from celebrations and enjoying life.
"Women who want to feel the best versions of themselves and who want to get more in tune with their bodies' own language. They are looking for an authentic connection to themselves and the world around them."
They are hungry for what the wellness “truth” is in a confusing world full of mixed messages. They are ready to make changes that make the best impact to themselves, their family and the planet.
Because I also am a Holistic Nutritionist, I think of the skin as an organ and part of the delicate balance of systems. When our skin is out of balance, it is a sign that our body is out of balance and I usually start in the gut. People often find me when they have exhausted typical products and diets and find that "simple" is usually better for their skin and bodies.
"For me, skincare is just like food and should be treated as such. If you can’t put in in your mouth, you shouldn’t put it on your skin."
You use a lot of local, homegrown ingredients in your creations which we love. How do you choose and source your raw ingredients and is there a process you go through to do this?
To me sustainability and sourcing is the biggest part of my business. It goes back to the name and the cyclical nature of life. I don’t see it as a “nice to have” which for many companies is just that - a feature.
To me and my business, it is a standard. You vote with your dollar. It is in the way I eat, the way I counsel my clients to eat, the way I try to purchase. However, the process is a journey and one we are rapidly seeing change as consumers ask for more transparency. It can be SO overwhelming though, to go through all the questions when choosing what brands and products. I completely understand that which I why I hope to be a resource. I will ALWAYS give shout-outs to amazing farmers, products and small businesses because when they thrive, we all thrive.
There is a way of eating that really gets the concept for me, you literally eat as local and seasonally as you can because it is the most nutrient dense and most appropriate for you, in that climate at that time and is also good for the planet. For example, if where you live doesn’t grow bananas, it honestly won’t serve you as well as say eating berries or greens in season that you may have just foraged.
"It is usually the most cost-effective as well. When things are closer to the source and abundant, the price reflects that, mass production aside. Now, it can be super challenging to do all of that, given our global world and economy, so you do it as best as you can."
There is a great example finding and supporting small businesses though that I just HAVE to mention. When I was just starting out, I was using organic jojoba oil, in small quantities but choosing the best options I had at the time. Then I ended up finding this incredible supplier Pure Jojoba online, they are second-generation family farmers. I got to tour the facility in Brea, CA, where they literally hand-sort each and every seed. They told me they did this because when you gather the seeds to press the oil you could end up with rotten seeds or even rodent waste! This is simply because the plants are out in nature on the farm so you have mold, disease, pests, rodents, etc...
He showed me the oil before and after the hand-sorting process and I was BLOWN AWAY.
"To me that is why I choose to support small, sustainable businesses and farmers. It's about finding people who go the extra mile to produce an incredible product where you can go and see it from the source."
What struggles have you faced setting up and then growing Flower & Bone Supply and how did you tackle them?
I am very thankful to have worked at both smaller companies and large corporations in my previous career. From the beginning I always had an understanding that it may not work, that I had to be willing to lose the investment. For instance, my first year I had $500 - $600 to invest in my products, so I thought if that never comes back, am I ok to lose it? I feel like that kind of attitude allowed to me to make choices that didn’t have me compromise my ethics : Integrity and transparency.
"I also didn’t invest too much as I would make small batches. I never made say 100 batches of products, because if something didn’t work out I would never lose too much."
I would not feel bad about tossing something away (or typically I reuse it for my own personal use because I hate throwing things away). I have had several products over the last 4.5 years that I scraped and changed directions on. Since I didn’t produce too many of them at a time, I was able to do that, change up labels and act fast without too much money lost.
Has social media played an important role in your marketing strategies?
Honestly, without social media, Instagram primarily, I wouldn’t be in business. It is both a blessing and a curse as it's great for small businesses who don’t have thousands of dollars to fork over to be in print magazines or ads. It also allows for authenticity and real reviews of products.
My main strategy has been to find like-minded clean beauty bloggers, who are also small enough to just want to review my products. It has honestly been the only thing that works. I tried a few things like ads in the past and I don’t believe it works, nor do I feel authentic. I feel like my product speaks for itself and I will gift it to most anyone who wants to try it out.
This is the most anticipated part of the interview! Please share with us the products that will be showcased in Nourish Beauty Box this month!
The Miracle Skin Facial Oil is my number one seller. I formulated this item to be a multivitamin for my skin. When I started dabbling in skincare, I was also practicing nutrition where you try to get as many of your nutrients from your food. I thought about how I could make an herbal supplement and then I thought about using these herbs on skin. Your skin is an organ and your lymphatic system is just under the skin. It lead me to craft an oil that works for most skin types and provides nutrients and vitamins to help balance and heal.
The Constant Gardener I came up with this year actually. I was listening to a podcast about vaginal health, how the lubes and gels that you get at the gyro's office and for personal lubrication can literally destroy the pH and microbial balance around your intimate areas. Then I started researching all the products out there that were natural that I would personally use. I couldn’t find any that I would, and so formulated my own!
As sustainable businesses, we believe in giving back to our local community in one way or another. Do you support any charities or collectives?
This past June I was able to donate $500, which through corporate matching was able to turn in $1500 for Groundwork USA, which is an organization that helps support low income communities with gardens and sustainable projects. Access to whole foods and farming is near and dear to my heart and is at the base of my work as a nutritionist, so I try to support small farmers and small businesses through the products I use and purchase for my line as well.
For instance, I support only fairtrade suppliers of my shea butter from Ghana, since shea butter is not something that grows or is produced here. It is important that the communities that do produce it are taken care of.
With the BLM movement, I am working on volunteering within my local community to bring farming back to black and brown communities since the ties have been so severed. Charity causes and movements is something I will continue to do because it is a necessity.
Other than at Nourish Beauty Box, where else can we find your products?
I am working on adding more like-minded wholesale accounts and you will find us shortly in Pennsylvania, California, Washington and Oregon at a few retailers. Also my instagram and the website are great places to shop at! I do not sell to Amazon nor will I as I don’t really think my brand aligns to their business model.
What will you be working on in the future and what can we look forward to?
I am working on my thesis next month (yikes!) on nutrition and cannabis therapies, since I have been working with cannabis as another herbal tool for over 8 years now. I am also launching two Women's Wellness 4-week Programs launching in August and October, where we focus on detoxing your life, emotionally and nutritionally, which is great timing.