By Michelle Talsma Everson, May 2020 issue.
Photos by Chanelle Sinclair / iamchanelle photography
Gretchen Weidman, like most of us, wears a lot of hats.
She’s a proud mom, the creative director at an East Valley salon, and now, a small business owner. In a time when most of us could use some help relaxing for even just a moment, Weidman created Bone & Basil, her one-woman shop for bath brews and salves that promote self care.
“I’ve always been a cook and a big believer in plants, herbs and things of the earth,” Weidman says. “In my own personal beliefs, I am a Reiki master and have shamanic practices, so that energy and knowledge goes into everything I do.”
Weidman started her small business as a casual hobby; she’d make bath brews and gift them to friends. “There’s a long history of baths not being just to get clean but to promote relaxing and self-care,” Weidman says.
Once she started to make her bath brews in earnest, she noticed they were becoming more and more popular. She then realized that she had a legitimate business model literally in her own hands and Bone & Basil was born. Just launched in January, Bone & Basil already has a growing following on Instagram (@bone_and_basil) and the products can be found at Abundant Space in Scottsdale.
“I’m 41 and on my feet all day but there’s going to be a point where I can’t do this forever,” she shares. “I’d love to see Bone & Basil become something bigger so that I can help people and have something when I retire from hair.”
With big dreams of her own small shop in downtown Phoenix — a place where she’s lived for more than 15 years after moving here from the East Coast — Weidman is passionate about her products.
“I’d love to have a small store downtown, somewhere cozy with plants, crystals, and a coffee nook,” she shares.
Right now, Bone & Basil offers four bath brews and two salves, all of which are hand mixed at home for each person when they order them. She says that the most popular bath brew is her Relax Brew and the most popular salve is the one for pain.
“I put Reiki energy into each product; I believe that there is universal energy and I am the conduit for it,” she shares.
The ingredients that Weidman uses in her brews and salves are all-natural. She uses organic herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and other similar businesses, and she sources from Starwest Botanicals as well.
Her products most often include four main elements: magnesium salt and pink Himalayan salt (to absorb trace minerals out of the feet); arnica (to help bruising and heal skin); and calendula (to keep skin soft and smooth and can also be used as an anti-inflammatory).
With each item being made by hand, how does she know which brew or salve a person needs the most? “I just talk to them — that’s what I love about Instagram, you can get to know people and have a genuine conversation,” Weidman says. “You can learn a lot just by genuinely asking someone ‘How are you?’ whether they become a customer or not.”
A single mom to a busy preteen, Weidman includes her daughter in her growing small business. “She helps me put labels on bags and other tasks like that; I think it’s a good lesson for her to see her mom hustle and stay busy and motivated,” she shares.
Weidman considers herself an ally and supports the community in any way she can.“ Equal rights, including LGBTQ+ rights, are huge to me,” she says. “I have family members and my closest friends identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella — I will always be their ally in the biggest way.”
Weidman hopes that those who try her brews and salves come away with “a better sense of self care for themselves.”
“Sometimes, self-care can be as simple as a bath,” she notes.
“Especially during this pandemic, when you can’t go to a spa, you can physically relax your body with a bath and brew. The brews I make touch four out of the five senses — all of them besides taste,” she says.
With social distancing in mind, Weidman is happy to drop off products at a customer’s doorstep while such measures are needed.
“For those who are open to the holistic end of things, my bath brews and salves can be a different and fun way to breathe deep and relax — something we all need right now.”
To learn more about Bone & Basil, follow or direct message Weidman on Instagram @ bone_and_basil or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.