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Meet Apryl Martinez of Plum Brilliance in Valley Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Apryl Martinez.

Apryl, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started making soap nearly ten years ago. I was looking for an alternative to all the chemical-laden products that were available. I had a very natural relationship with the food my family was consuming. I garden, keep chickens, forage, and ferment.

As our largest porous organ, our skin absorbs whatever we put on it. I decided to start creating products that were as healthy for our bodies as the nutrient-rich foods we make a point to eat. Along with that journey of creating skincare my love of herbs and plants intersected with my love of soap.

I began combining the two, using soaps and skincare as a delivery method for skin nourishing herbs. Using local wild plants was the next natural progression. I adore wild foods and foraging so creating products for self-care that incorporated the wild plants I love was incredibly fulfilling.

It has been such a pleasure to introduce people to plants they live near through familiar products like soap and body oils. I love meeting the people who use my products through events or the farmer’s markets I attend. That connection is very important to me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t know that I would call it either a smooth road or a struggle, but it is definitely a journey. I have learned so much about myself, about my vision for my business. I have learned a lot about time management and planning.

The style of soap I make has a long cure time (4-6 weeks), so I can’t just whip up a batch when I run out. I need to be on top of my inventory and plan for upcoming events.

Seasonal availability of the plants I use means that sometimes I am out of a particular product. I only harvest from plant stands that are healthy and abundant, and I take very little from each stand (less than 3%).

The fact that we live in southern California and have drought years means that the plants I watch may not be available to harvest at all without significant rainfall.

My customers tend to be very understanding of this. I do farm some of my own herbs, and I have friends who are farmers, so I always have a nice selection of available products even if a particular favorite is out of stock.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Plum Brilliance – what should we know?
Using natural soaps and skincare is a chance for people to engage in a nurturing self-care ritual. That may be the only moment many people get all day. A time to be quiet and loving towards themselves, a chance to connect with the natural gifts the earth provides.

Alchemy is defined as a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. I take wild plants, farmed herbs, and oils and transform them into something magical, new and incredibly nourishing. This is the “alchemy of natural skincare.” Products made for a purpose with deep intention.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The joy and love I have for the plants I use, the products I create and those that use them. When I cook food for my family, I do it with great love. I know the food will nourish and feed them and that is the intention I have while creating meals.

I use the same intention when making products for the business. My customers will be using the soaps and skincare I have crafted, and my intention is that these products will bring some peace and joy to their daily rituals.

The earth has provided all we need for health and wellness, and I try to embrace a lifestyle of honoring the gifts of nature and contributing to the health of this world and all its inhabitants. I feel like the items I make are whole and complete, nourishing and healthy. It is a privilege to be able to provide these products to others.

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