Raised in the foothills of the Sierras, it was no surprise when Leyna Allred began Urb Apothecary, an extensive line of all natural skincare and beauty products, salves and oils made right here in Santa Cruz. With a focus on healing all natural ingredients, Leyna's line includes blends like "Slumber Salve" and "Sun Worshipper Oil" down to simple peppermint lip balms and clay masks. Here at Stripe she's got us all hooked, so we paid a visit to her home studio where she creates, tests, blends and bottles her products. 

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I don't think I ever had that thought, "I want to be a doctor", or "I want to be a veterinarian." As a child I was too busy building forts, riding my sassy red pony, and playing in the pond making mud and cattail stew.  In high school I was always creating bracelets from scrap leather, bags from thrift store material and just simply enjoying the process of making. Maybe that's what I knew I wanted to be when I grew up; a maker.

What inspired you to start Urb Apothecary?
I was inspired to make organic body care product from a deep desire to live more cleanly and consciously. Most main stream body products and cosmetics are full of fillers, mystery chemicals, and petroleum by-products that do nothing to aid the body and skin to heal and thrive. The medicinal quality of herbs, oils, and butters fascinate me and I am constantly looking for ways to bring their powers to consumers through familiar, yet unique mediums. The initial catalyst came when I made herbal first aid salve Christmas gifts for friends and family. The response was a resounding, "you need to make more and sell this!" So like a good entrepreneur I listened to the market and demand...about a year later. I had never dreamed of owning my own business and had this huge fear of failure and even of success. I dipped my toe into it, making new products, figured out how to print labels, and sold a fair amount on etsy. Finally, I sat down and had a good chat with myself. I came to the conclusion that if something frightens me this much it must be something worth pursuing and tackling. 

What do you like most about working for yourself and developing your own products?
The creative, hands-on element is really what I enjoy most. I take pride in the myriad of hats I wear, marketing, product development, photography, logo design, printing label, assembly and packaging, and finances. One of my favorite elements of running a business is connecting with other small business owners, with costumers, making a genuine connection with people. The days are long but I enjoy every minute and that means a lot.  

Visit our online shop or stop by in store to try or purchase more of Leyna's Products.