1. What fostered your interest in herbalism and natural products and how did you actually make your dream a reality?
I took a course in Chinese Medicine in college that completely changed the way I looked at the body, our environment and the synergy between it all. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the idea that everything is connected, everything relates to elements, seasons, cycles... I used myself as a Guinea pig to try out different herbal remedies for the common cold, tried cooking macrobiotic and local meals... it was the first shift into a new paradigm for me. The second shift came when I graduated college and my nephew dared me to go vegan for two weeks. And I did. I'm not vegan anymore, but what that did was open another set of doors for me. I realized how amazing one can feel from eating lots of plants, and the power they have on the body. Eventually, I got so obsessed with learning more that I enrolled in a holistic culinary school, where we studied both medicinal, natural foods and how to cook them using traditional techniques. I haven't looked back since.
2. What makes Dani Kenney products safer for us and our children? What differentiates your brand from the plethora of great natural products? What are some ingredients that moms should try to stay away from when buying baby safe bath products?
My products are safer for us and our children because they are literally 100% natural. My ingredients are all almost 100% organic, which the exception of I think only my wildcrafted Palo Santo oil I use, that is in a few cleaning products. My philosophy on natural living is pretty simple- if you can make it in your own home or raise/ grow it on your own land, it is probably natural and safe enough for you to use. I developed my line as a mother, who was seeking safe products, so safety was the very inspiration behind its conception. But beyond that, I found that there was a lack of beautiful natural products out there. Perhaps it's silly but I am so inspired by design and the simple aesthetics that we surround ourselves with, so I wanted to create products that were not only really amazing for our bodies and homes, but also beautiful to look at on our countertops.
As far as ingredients to stay away from, any dyes or foaming/ lather agents. I mean, for me, I tried lots of "natural" soaps out there, for both mom and baby, and they dried out my skin and many of them had tons of ingredients that I couldn't read, which raises a flag for me. I find that the more simple a product is, the more natural it is. Less (ingredients) are more.
3. How has motherhood influenced how you think about organic and healthy living?
Actually, strangely it's made me less fussy about it, but more in tune with it. So now, especially that time is of the essence as an entrepreneur mom, it's about perfection and more about keeping it simple and paying attention to cues. I used to make elaborate fancy meals, and now they are more simplified but I find that my body, my son, my husband and our lifestyle likes that more now anyway. When I keep a simple schedule but don't freak out if we fall off of it slightly, my baby doesn't freak out either. I try to keep little routines in place and then keep everything very simple.
4. Can you tell us more about the baby bath bundle and walk us through each product and what makes each product so special?
The "la maman et le bébé" bath bundle contains my go-to essentials for keeping both mom and baby calm, clean and satisfied during bath time and beyond. Our soap called Soft Suds contains just simple cleansers made from olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil and contains essential oils that soothe and calm, before bedtime- chamomile and lavender. Actually, I love that one of my customers (and dear friends actually) told me that she notices a difference in her son's disposition when she uses my baby wash versus their other one. She said mine seems to calm him down without fail, and I love to hear that because it means I did my job!
The Bum Balm is one of my favorite products I make because it's sort of a cure-all... without officially saying it cures anything. I just love it because it has shea butter to moisturize, aloe to soothe, and tiny, safe amounts of soothing essential oils to calm irritated skin. It also has castor oil and calendula, which are amazing topical remedies. So it's excellent for rashes. Mommies can use it too, for a quick on-the-go, anti-inflammatory moisturizer, and also to put on burns or wounds. Definitely, a must have for the diaper bag.
The Peace Powder is formulated with natural arrowroot to dry up mess and moisture and contains some of nature's most skin-soothing flowers, ground up finely amidst the powder. So it soothes and smells amazing! And is talc-free, of course!
5. What does bath time look like for you and Lars?(what are your bath time essentials)
Bath time for me and Lars is usually bath time for Lars and his Daddy! Since I am home with him during the day, it's his time to bond with Papa when he comes home from work. But whether it's Dad or Mom giving the bath, we both have the same routines: we use my baby wash on his skin and hair and let him play with his waterproof books and toys, while also playing with him. Sometimes, I'll take baths with Lars, tonight I did actually! We were both feeling under the weather and there is something so healing about a warm bath. But I keep bathtime very simple. We use the wash, and any balm and powder if he needs it, but never put lotion on him. In fact, the wash is so gentle on his skin, he never seems to have any dryness issues.
6. Any recommendations for a mom whose babe is battling Eczema?
Yes. Actually get rid of all unnatural products and replace them with 100% natural ones. Also, try cutting out gluten in your baby's diet, and if you really want to take it up a notch, you can try eliminating more foods, a la a proper elimination diet (google it) or an autoimmune protocol diet (google.) Eczema is usually a skin symptom of an allergy that is going on internally. Natural skin salves (like our bum balm actually) can help soothe, but you want to address the internal issue as well.
7. If you had to pick one. Which one of your baby bath products could you not live without?
The Soft Suds wash. We use it every day :)
8. Lightning round...
Q. Go-to meal during the week?
Roast chicken and veggies. Leftovers get turned into bone broth and soup.
Q. Best piece of advice you have ever received?
Asked this so much lately, so I'm going to keep giving different pieces of advice because there are a few good gems. Eat more plants.
Q. Favorite daily ritual?
Walk outside with my babe.
Be kind to yourself and others. And-
Anything is possible.
Q. Song currently on repeat?
Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny. I seem to always start listening to it this time of year, perhaps because it gets me in the vibe for approaching summer.