In honour of International Women’s Month, we’re sharing conversations with the inspiring women behind some of the brands we love and carry in our store. Their stories showcase the power of determination and a true passion for the product lines they’ve created, and they sure do give us a lot to look up to!
Being featured in our series this week is Dominique Del Col, who started a grassroots apothecary and herbcraft studio named Sacred Wildwood, located in the heart of Wellington County.
Wildwood products are crafted with wild harvested raw and organic ingredients and are guided by the wisdom of traditional herb craft, as well as the magic of auld mystic medicine.
What inspired you to start this business?
I grew up foraging in the backwoods of our farmstead, alongside my grandmother who was a naturalist, folk herbalist and adept healer in her own right. For years, we would travel the forest acres with hand-woven baskets, collecting wild mushrooms, herbs, flowers, and roots. She taught me from an early age that there was incredible, adaptive and regenerative power hidden in each vibrant petal and leaf, and magic that coursed through the veins of the earth. My love and devotion to herbalism and earth stewardship blossomed in the decades that followed. As I entered into my mid-twenties, I realized that it might be possible to turn my lifelong passion project into a tangible career. I was fortunate that this moment of realization arrived on the coattails of green beauty and holistic wellness movement. With plenty of love and encouragement from friends and family, I was fortunate to open my first apothecary shop in the springtime that year, and developed our brand WILDWOOD shortly thereafter. It’s been a wild and beautiful ride, that began in a tangled grove of trees, nearly 25 years ago.
What are some of the self-care rituals you stick to as a woman in business and would advise every woman out there to try?
I have a couple of self-care rituals that are a fundamental part of my day. Nothing complicated, or overly time-consuming. Just a few small practices that bring a sort of natural elegance to the way I begin my day, and improve how I move through the motions of being an entrepreneur.
I begin each day with a facial oil cleanse using our LABRYS Facial Cleansing Oil. I combine the cleanse with a hot and steaming face cloth to open and detoxify the pores and awaken sleepy skin. I follow with a generous application of one of our Facial Serums and massage deeply for 1 minute to decongest and reduce puffiness. After that, I make what my husband has affectionately named the ‘Everything in the Fridge’ Smoothie. This means that I will blend almost any fruit, vegetable, nut, oil, or health powder in our house. I am particularly fond of including roasted beets, fennel bulb, root vegetables, dried herbs, and quality Vegan protein, with homemade nut or oat milk.
At the end of the day, I stretch. Always a long, and luxurious stretch, regardless of how tired I am, or how little time I have left in the evening, even if it’s only 10 minutes. This is what I would always recommend to any woman out there who needs to reconnect with herself after a long day. I incorporate many Anusara, Ashtanga, and Kundalini poses, with deep and reparative physiotherapy stretches. This is a crucial part of my routine, and a beautiful practice to help center the mind, body, and spirit, and rekindle powerful feminine energy.
How does witchcraft play-into your everyday life?
I’ve felt a connection to an earth-based faith since I was a child. I remember sitting in a treehouse with my little friends around age 6 or 7, creating spells in a small leather journal I had been given as a gift. While my companions were under the impression that it was simple make-believe, I knew that it was my own ideologies taking shape and finding wings.
Throughout history, herbs and flowers have been utilized for their medicinal and spiritual properties. Early Celtic folk relied on herbs for protection and believed strongly in their magical abilities to ward off ill-will, sickness, and evil spirits. I connect strongly to the auld craft and find inspiration in ancient conjure women, beatons and traditional healers, who were often feared and revered as witches of their time. In truth, most were simply adept in the craft of herbalism. That is where I find my magic, and where I draw inspiration. By carrying forward traditional healing methods, and imbibing our formulas with the energy and history of folkloric ingredients.
Out of all the potions you've created, which one's your favourite?
I adore our Facial Serums and Facial Essences. Along with our Cleansing Oil. Each day, I use a bounty of our facial care potions, and I know that I’m feeding my skin the essential nutrients it needs to be radiant and healthy.
What has been the role of magic in your success?
I like to hope that the Goddess is on my side. I feel her strength, and her power in all that I am, and everything that I do. In our studio, we infuse our potions with Magic. In the sense that we use ingredients that have enchanting effects on the skin and body, with the use and practice of auld methods that have been carried forward by our ancestors, and by connecting spiritually to each potion that leaves our space.
This is where our brand motto ‘Apothecaria crafted with Magic’, was born.
Our hope is that our patrons feel our love for them, and are reminded with every drop of golden oil, a sprinkle of fragrant dust, and mist of nourishing essence, that each and every one of us are all so very magical.
From your line that we offer in our shop, which is your favourite and why?
Hmm so many to choose from! I’m very partial to our Dry Shampoos!
What tips do you have for other women who would like to start their own businesses?
Be brave, Be fearless. Connect with the wisdom of your womb, and always follow your gut. It will rarely lead you astray. Know that you are powerful, capable, and brilliant and that your most unique ideas can be brought to life through hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If ever in doubt, of yourself or your plan - talk a walk in nature, breathe deeply, and dig within yourself for the clarity you need to get shit done.