Vendor Highlight: ROMI Apothecary

We have a lot of gratitude for the wonderful people we work with at Jewelweed. We look for the best products for our customers, and we know each of our vendors. We like to feature artists, companies and businesses with values that match our own: sustainability, wellness, connection with nature, beauty, and community.

Today, we talk with a wonderful skin-care magician: Romina, from ROMI Apothecary.

- Let's start at the beginning... What is the origin story of your business?
How and why did you start?
ROMI is a dream that actuated on my path to learn who I am and what I love to do. When I stumbled upon herbalism (like actually stumbled upon a tiny book of herbalism at a local Co-op), I felt burnt out and unfulfilled by my “career” as an occupational therapist. I consumed everything I could about herbs, plant ID, herbal medicine-making, and plant spirituality with a voracious appetite. My heart filled with joy, and the knowledge and practice of using herbs in daily life came flooding in as if I was “remembering” a passion or a skill that I once had. 

I naturally gravitated towards oils and topical application of herbs to soothe the nervous system and nourish the skin. I am an island girl born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and ever since I moved to Minnesota in 2004, I have been battling skin-barrier and dry skin issues. After a long day of working at the hospital, I found myself coming home with excitement to use the skincare creations that I made for myself. The practice of washing my face and putting oils on my skin was a vehicle for me to wind down, “cleanse” my stress away and come back into my body after a day of talking to and physically helping patients.
One day I made a batch of “fancy face cream” (a very corny title, I know!) and ended up with more than I could use, so I took a picture of it and shared with my friends, asking if anyone wanted to buy a jar for $10. I somehow convinced 18 people to say yes, and ROMI was born.
- What did you want to do/be as a child?
I wanted to be a news anchor on TV.
- Do you see this childhood dream present in some shape or form today?
Yes and no. I like learning and relaying facts, I enjoy telling stories, and I like being in front of the camera perhaps 10 times a year. Other than that, I really enjoy the fluidity, privacy, creativity, and Nature-based practices that I can now do as part of my lifestyle.
- What are the foundational values of your business? What is really important to you?
Having our skincare be a safe and accessible way for others to cultivate a loving relationship with themselves on a daily basis. Tuning into the use of smell, texture, plant medicine, and mindful touch is and can be a healing and transformative experience. It worked for me and is still a pillar of my daily self-care practice.

Honoring the Earth by using ingredients and manufacturing practices that are sustainably-minded. Working with suppliers that also respect and practice this value. Being in an ever-flowing state of gratitude for the Earth, ingredients, and all the hands that touch the process of processing and making our skincare.

Circulating resources back into our community by supporting regional small farms and other small businesses through the purchases our business makes. Donating a portion of our sales to non-profit organizations that support people and/or plants in need. Curating events that build community and support other small businesses and creatives. Teaching about plant medicine so that more can feel empowered to bring herbalism into their lives.
- What is the story behind the name of your business?
ROMI is short for my namesake, Romina. ROMI is an extension of me and all the dreaming that came to life when I started formulating, crafting, and sharing my plant medicines with others. ROMI reflects the journey of Romina, seeking a lifestyle closer to the rhythms of Nature and realizing that there is transformative power in the small, daily moments with self.
- Being an entrepreneur is not always easy; what has inspired you to keep going in the low moments?
I gain a lot of inspiration from our customers. ROMI customers are the kindest, sweetest people. I am so grateful and feel so touched by everyone who comments on our social media, reviews our products, messages me, or comes to my in-person events. To know that something that I made has helped someone or brought someone a small moment of joy or comfort is truly an honor. 

I am also inspired by our local community of artists, small business owners, and makers. I’ve made so many wonderful friends through the makers community at pop-ups and markets. Lots of talented, hardworking, and genuine people.
- What is your favorite of all the products you create, and why?
It’s hard to choose just one! Here are my top 3:
Earthly Cleansing oil - one of my favorite times of year is when I get to harvest wild Black Spruce tips in the spring to infuse into oil for this cleanser. Collecting the vitamin C-rich, lemony-scented, and soft tips of the Black Spruce tree is a sacred practice that I look forward to every year. Using this cleanser brings me back to those moments of spring-time renewal and the emergence of hope after a long winter.

Reishi Tide Hyaluronic Acid - Red algae, vegan Hyaluronic acid, and Reishi mushroom come together to make a hydrating hero that I cannot live without.  It keeps my skin rich with hydration all year round. Unlike other hyaluronic acids, this formula does not pill when you add oil on top of it. This formula took a year of research and development to perfect and is my secret weapon to battle dry skin.

Queen of Winter balm - a warm hug for the skin! I love how versatile it is for the face, body, hair, and hands. It’s truly a remedy for everyone who lives in harsh weather conditions because it’s so nutritive, protective, and soothing.
- Our last question: What practices bring you joy and inspiration? 
I like sneaking in tiny moments throughout my day and seek bigger experiences when I have the time. On the daily, I love saying a water devotion with my first drink of water as part of my morning ritual. When I remember, I enjoy blessing my food before I eat and giving thanks to the plants and the hands that made it. I swear food tastes better when I eat in gratitude. And of course, my skincare practice is so important to me and I like to switch it up by adding candles, music, or tools to help me dive deeper into this act of mindfulness. 

I also love love love ocean swimming, snorkeling, forest walks, wildcrafting and wildfood cooking, hiking, and indulging in a good cup of coffee.
Thank you, Romina, for answering our questions!
We are proud to partner with and carry ROMI Apothecary products! Find them at Jewelweed - in-person and in our online shop.