We host an amazing variety of hand crafters in our Artisan Directory on Beauty by the Batch. As you may imagine, each of these artisans have their own unique story. From Louisiana Herb Farms to Aromatherapist Mamas, our artisans all have a story to tell. We’re thrilled to introduce you to one of our most recent additions to the Beauty and the Batch Artisan Directory, Issa Dixon of Hollow & Ridge. Issa hand crafts small batch essential oils, then blends them into therapeutic combinations.
Talk to us about the practice of making small batches of essential oils by hand. How did you get started doing this and why?
I’ve used essential oils throughout my life. Growing up in a self-sustainable community in rural West Virginia, my parents used essential oils for everything from treating bee stings with lavender oil, to Peppermint and Eucalyptus for coughs and colds. Being in direct contact with the plants allows me to check for quality. I also bottle in small batches, never bottling more than twenty five bottles per batch. This helps with scent consistency, and blend potency.
Why is it important to do it in small batches? What are some of the benefits to this?
I distill around twenty pounds of lavender material per run. Keeping the quantity small allows for quick on site temperature adjustments. Oils produced in small batches generally come from small family run organic farms. Keeping things small allows farmers to harvest plants growing and thriving in their natural environment without the use of chemicals and large harvests. This creates a very high quality, organic, wild-crafted essential oil.
Take us through the process you have. What are some of the challenges and rewards?
The summer is busy for us. I am busy harvesting and distilling lavender up through August. This is also when I reach out to my other small oil producers for harvest and distillation news and to place orders. Challenges have been minimal this year, thanks to the great grow season we’ve had. We rely on happy, healthy plants for us and our producers to distill good oils. Bad harvest season equals low oil yields and tends to shoot prices up.
What are some of the misconceptions about essential oils and making them?
One of the biggest is the time involved in getting small oil quantities. I distill twenty pounds of lavender only to get about eight millileters of pure oil. It takes a lot of plants to make oil. The beautiful Rose Otto I use takes two thousand rose petals to produce just one drop of oil. Quality Rose Otto, Neroli, and Jasmine Sambac are the hardest to make and source. There are very few producers that can do this right.
How many pounds of dry goods does it take to yield enough oil for one of your bottles?
Probably around five to ten pounds per bottle.
Where do you source your plants and herbs from? Why have you chosen those places?
We source from all over. I am always looking for farmers/producers that grow organically and socially responsible plants. My lavender mix this season comes from France, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia.
What inspired the business and how this project has affected your life?
The rural community and people I grew up with in West Virginia inspired me to “get back to my roots”. Raising our kids to recognize the value in sustainable life-style inspires me.
We’d like to thank Issa for sharing her story with us, and for being a part of Beauty by the Batch!
If you craft handmade beauty or personal care products, we’d love for you to check out the unique advertising opportunities available through our web site, Beauty by the Batch. Beauty by the Batch features an extensive Artisan Directory that helps connect customers with high quality artisans across the web. The site also includes a wonderful library of informative articles on the virtues of handmade and natural products.
If you are already a member of Beauty by the Batch and would like to share your own artisan story on The Natural Beauty Workshop, please let us know. We love to support our Beauty by the Batch artisans!