Brooke Duling, owner
Love Warrior Gardens
P.O. Box 1373
Herbalist Brooke Duling heads into the forests, beaches and other natural areas of the Pacific Northwest to collect the ingredients for the tinctures and other products she sells through Love Warrior Gardens. Selling at local farmers markets, her business is primarily online at www.lovewarriorgardens.com
What do you do?
“I make tinctures, which are herbal extracts, from wild medicines or wild plants. And I sell them a couple different ways. I sell them at farmers markets and online. And then I also have a CSH, which stands for Community Supported Herbalism. So I modeled it off of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model that farmers use. I started out as a farmer, and I really liked that model of having the subscription where people can sign up and get, in that case, vegetables each week. In my case, people get medicines each month.”
How did you get into this?
“I was farming in the Portland area, and I kept feeling compelled to spend more time in the forest, because it’s really relaxing compared to being on a farm or working on a farm. And I got really curious about what the plants could do. I did a school called the Elderberry School of Botanical Medicine, and that taught me all about the plants … . And it taught me to make the medicine and how to identify and harvest and also introduced me to this idea that plants have a spiritual property. And so I got really excited and found that this is my calling.”
What are the volume or demographics of your business?
“I’m really just at the beginning of my business, because I’ve been doing it part time for the last three years, and now I’m doing a push to do it full time. And so my business is growing. I have about 15 CSH members, and I’m looking to grow that to 60 members. So I’m always looking for more people. Since I do things online, I’m looking for clients not just in the Astoria area. It tends to be working-age women. That’s just who it happens to appeal to, although my products are great for men. Women tend to be more involved in self-care and that sort of thing. Most of the men who are my customers, their girlfriends or wives or someone was saying ‘Oh; you should do this,’ or ‘This would be perfect for you.’ It’s not really a problem. There’s plenty of women out there.”
What are some of the unique challenges of running your business?
“I’d say the most unique challenge is that my growth is limited by the amount I harvest each year. I harvest everything in Oregon and Washington wild at the peak of its productivity, and I do a lot of things with flowers, and flowers have maybe a one-month window, if you’re lucky, maybe two weeks. As my business grows, I can’t just make more medicine by ordering more products. I have to wait until next year’s harvest, and so I’m really trying to grow at the right pace, so I don’t get really popular and run out of stock for six months.”