This story was researched and written for Insider’s Guide to Spas.
I traveled to Brooklyn to meet with Anit Hora, a rising star of the luxury botanical skincare world. You might already be a fan of Mullein & Sparrow, or perhaps you’re seeking a new beauty staple to add to your line up of natural active skincare. Either way, Anit’s story will inspire you. I knew the brand was special when I first spotted the beautiful packaging at the very well-attended Cosmoprof Press Preview Event in New York. (HTTP://WWW.INSIDERSGUIDETOSPAS.COM/FEATURES/GROWING-DISCOVER-GREEN)
Mullein & Sparrow’s space is in Greenpoint. I entered what looked like part beautiful apothecary shop, part science laboratory. The shelves were perfectly organized, and there was an aura of excitement. You see, she had been photographed most of the morning for Tory Burch. Among other things, Anit has been recognized for her entrepreneurial spirit and has partnered with Tory Burch—who is helping women-owned businesses thrive via the Tory Burch Foundation. They had chosen 10 brands—out of 800-plus—to include in their Tory Burch Foundation Seed Box. Mullein & Sparrow was one of those 10.
It is easy to see why—the skincare line is quite impressive. Anit struck me as the kind of woman who likes to see other women empowered, as well. She is genuine, and I discovered, an expert herbalist. I felt that she could have talked herbs forever. Her favorite herb right now is CALENDULA with its variety of healing uses. Herbal remedies are not new to Anit; she was exposed to Ayurveda at a young age. We bonded over how a natural way of life had been instilled in us since childhood, when it did not have to be labeled green or organic.
Anit’s story will most certainly resonate with young women starting their own business. She started out in fashion. Although she loved the creative side of the fashion industry, she soon discovered it was not the right path for her. So she stole away and backpacked alone throughout South America. Quite a few women travel on their own, and that made her feel like she was not alone on her path to discovery. This is where she gained a new perspective and was inspired to create herbal remedies.
Once back in New York, Anit realized she could fulfill her teenage dream of attending an Aveda school and becoming an esthetician. (She supported herself by working at a Macy’s counter, called “The Organic Planet.” This was a niche market back then, and creating skincare was not even on her radar.) As time would tell, Anit, an herbalist at heart, did not necessarily want to be an esthetician, but did work at a spa for a number of years. Her passion for herbs led her to more schooling, and to an apprenticeship with an herbalist at Third Root Apothecary. The experience taught her to figure things out on her own and has given her a lot of confidence. I asked her if she ever thought about having her own practice. The answer was, “You choose the plants or you choose the people.” Anit chose the plants.
Making beauty products is not as glamorous as one might imagine, Anit shared with me. It took persistence and late nights to get to where she is today. Everything was being created out of her apartment, after hours, when she returned from working at the spa. Some of her first creations were cough syrups, tinctures, and salves, which she sold at local craft fairs. It was while selling at craft fairs that she recognized the need for botanical skincare. Her customers kept asking for natural makeup and skincare products. And skincare she did.
As for the future, she is concentrating on creating and re-formulating even more effective skincare. She is passionate about what she does and each day she wakes up knowing that this is hers, even amongst the chaos. If you’re wondering what she recommends for the winter season, it is all about the oils. She is very much into dewy, glowing skin, and she loves face oils. Look for those with frankincense and rose, two great hydrating ingredients to consider.