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Conversations with Alexis Poce

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Poce.

Hi Alexis, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
The catalyst to my herbalism journey was a randomly selected book about alternative medicine that I picked up somewhere in my mid-teens. “Spontaneous Healing” by Dr. Andrew Weil (who coincidentally lives in Tucson) was my first concrete exposure to a concept of healing different from the pharmaceutical interventions I had been exposed to thus far. Maintaining health through food, therapeutic plants and life choices wasn’t something that had been taught much beyond “eat your veggies”, but the concept resonated with me in a way that I hadn’t felt before. It felt true in every sense of the word- it felt right.

I fostered my newfound passion for natural remedies and life choices for years through self-guided learning, but the idea that it could be a career wasn’t something I had considered. Herbal medicine was still seen as rather “new age”, the era of the entrepreneur had not quite begun, and it simply didn’t occur to me that one could morph such a passion into an actual career.

And then, in my early twenties, I walked into an apothecary shop for the first time in my life and the feeling from the book poured over me again. The enchanting aroma of herbs and potions, shelves lined with well-loved books with dog eared pages, tea brewing on the back counter. It was right and was a life I was determined to build for myself. Eager to learn everything I could about herbs, I traveled for a few years and studied plants and indigenous medicine in numerous countries, earned a master’s degree in Therapeutic Herbalism, and proverbial brick by brick, built the career that felt right.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur who used the word “smooth” when describing their small business endeavors, but what I have met are individuals who have bravely redefined their definition of struggle.

In order to better thrive as an entrepreneur, I had to curb my knee-jerk reaction to feel overwhelmed. Most days are made up of a series of potentially meltdown-worthy moments that can swallow you whole if you’re not careful. And they strike with unprecedented frequency.

Struggles can be broad, such as an all-around lack of time or constant financial worries, but the majority of the struggles I face come in the form of having to learn something completely foreign on the fly. Being a small business owner essentially means becoming a master of your trade and then learning a rudimentary version of a dozen others. Want a website but can’t afford to hire someone? Figure it out. Not sure how to make an Instagram reel? Better start experimenting. Printer needs parts but they don’t make them anymore? Solve it or don’t print those labels you need by tomorrow. Licensing, permits, business structures, accounting, tax liability, deductions, 1099 forms? Better pour a glass of wine and start googling.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Aside from the numerous duties that are involved in running a business, my main “job” at this point is essentially that of an herbal product formulator. I take common products such as face cream or body wash, for example, and figure out how to make them out of the highest percent of natural, unadulterated ingredients, while still creating a safe, effective, shelf-stable product. I have a “less-is-more” attitude when it comes products and love the challenge of creating products that are highly functional but with the fewest number of ingredients.
My products are unique in that I practice absolute ingredient transparency and create formulas with no additives or sneaky stuff. Ingredient transparency is a concept that I’m only now beginning to scratch the surface of and it absolutely gets my knickers in a twist. The ingredients that are legally required to be on a product label are actually only a fraction of what’s actually in the product, and I find that almost sinister. I believe consumers have a right to know exactly what they’re using, and that simply isn’t the case with the majority of companies.

In addition to skincare, I developed a full line of functional tea blends that address a variety of common ailments. I take great care to create blends that are both delicious and useful, some of which have taken years to perfect. My goal is to bring natural products back into our homes and bodies, and to rekindle a curiosity for the world of plant allies that surrounds us.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I was very tidy and orderly as a child. My stuffed animals were arranged by size, room cleaned to surgery room perfection, and I loved collecting things and putting them in order. I’m now just an older version of that kid whose closet was arranged according to the color wheel – I’m an adult who thinks watching debris build up in the vacuum is exciting. Lucky for me, running an herbalism business is perfect swirl of structure and limitlessness. The routine of schedules, formulas, manufacturing procedures and recipes provides me with the order I need to feel cozy, but the general disarray involved in running a business and the infinite possibilities of the plant world keep my imagination well fed.

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Alexis Poce

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