A Q&A with Plantica Herbs Organic Skincare Owner Sophia Carrasquillo
The largest organ of the human body is our skin. It represents us everywhere we go. Regardless of shades and features, we all want our skin to be radiant and reflect who we are and how we feel. Most people, in order to maintain healthy skin, turn to skin products. However many skin products contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin. In response to this, people are turning to natural-skin care products such as Plantica Herbs. Plantica Herbs is owned and operated by Sophia Carrasquillo, an artisan and entrepreneur in every sense of skill, passion, and community.
Who is Sophia Carrasquillo?
I am... I'm someone figuring it out. I was born in Puerto Rico. I moved a lot. There's not really much background that I like to share, it's not really relevant to now.
Before Plantica, what were some of your own skin issues?
Hives 3 o'clock every day. Acne since the 4th grade. Random skin rashes from grass allergies, dryness or too much humidity in the air. I would go to the Dermatologist all the time, just trying to figure it out. Like why, what can I do? It sucked.[Laughs] I hate Dermatologist. At first they have good intentions, but once you start going consecutively, just for a check up, you don't need anything but they're like "Hey, so I noticed you have a pimple there. I can get rid of that." Yea? No thanks. "You sure? We have something that would work for you." I just didn't like that.
At what point did you decide you were going to take matters into your own hand?
The last time I went to the Dermatologist, I was getting sun spots and that happened. I asked "What is this?" and they told me what it was. They helped me out with the cream, but then while I was there asking about the sun spots, they pointed out my acne. But, see I'm not here for that.
Like, don't call me out on that?
I know, I don't need that. I've been here too many times. I'm not going to trust what you have to tell me. I just had to change. If I'm not going to trust somebody, I might as well trust myself and do something else.
What was the first product that you made?
Why the Clay Mask?
Because, it was a joke initially. I texted my boyfriend. I told him I was going to make milions of dollars off of clay-masks. And I'm going to use clay from Brazil, come up with my own solution, which was gonna be like the extra million dollar ticket. The clay mask went bad after a week, so I figured, maybe I'm not going to make a million dollars off of clay masks, thats probably not going to work out. And I started thinking about what else do I use everyday. And the next thing I came up with was the lotion.
What were the early stages of creating like? Where did you get your drive?
I was enjoying it so much and I felt like having a bunch of experiments. Because I remember before that I was thinking about my own scientific experiments just because I was bored. [laughs] This was close enough to science, it was experimental and it just kept on becoming more than I expected. So the creativity also came in when I decided to sell it. I would share what I was doing, not with the mentality of, like I said making millions off of clay masks, it wasn't that it was just sharing it because I made it. Just like how when I paint something I want to share it so people can see what I did as well. I like sharing. I don't know. It just kept on being more and more and more, so I kept on creating and I love it. Creating keeps me sane.[laughs]
How did the name Plantica Herbs come about?
It was a joke. Another joke. I have a bunch of plants in my house. All my plants are tiny, so I would just call them little planticas. It's a little Spanish thing too because in Spanish it's plantita. So I just call it plantica. It's wrong but I don't care. I think it's cute. That's where it came from and the herbs part, I mean it makes it sound organic and plus I have actual herbs here so it kind of suits it. It was always going to be plantica, but I didn't know if it was plantica or something plantica, plantica what. Pllantica Herbs. It sounded sexy.
Tell me more about Plantica being your "pay it forward".
I definitely realized it was my pay it forward as soon as my friend came up to me saying "Hey, you should try making something for eczema". She also had bartenders burn from all the lemons and limes. Pretty much a guinea pig, but I was also pretty confident it was going to work. She was working with me in Mango Tree and we have to wash our hands constantly over there. So it was just drying it out constantly, I told her to wear some gloves. And she did, and after about a month you saw the difference. And that was it. As soon as I noticed that it was actually helping her and she felt it too. The fact that she acknowledged it as well was the main thing. That I was helping someone, I could do that with other people as well. Help people out with simple things.
Your slogan is "I made these products just for you", Why?
Ever since I started that, I've been having people also just come up to me, like "Hey, I have this and that. What can you help me out with?" So it's like, this is going to help you, this is gonna help, this is gonna help you. Sort of like any holistic Doctor. They're gonna come up with a remedy based on all these herbs, just to help you and thats the idea. Recently I got an email from this store that sells organic skincare, she has a skin condition, I'm not sure how to pronounce it, but its R-o-s-c-e-a. maybe a couple of letters switched around.
We'll figure it out.
[laughs]But the point is, it's dark skin blotches from the sun and that was the main reason I started coming up with the sunblock as well. It was the combination of the dark spots and my light spots. I was getting ready to make the sunblock about a week ago but I felt I could make it better. So instead of starting to use my ingredients now because I have the key ingredients. I'm ordering now a couple, 2, 3 ingredients for the sunblock, so that it can help her out as well. It's really, it's not just for me, it's also just for you.
Explain what you mean by "bringing a bit of zen into the feng shui of your home".
[laughs] So the way I think about it is, you're going to have everything to take care of yourself in your bathroom...
First explain Feng Shui.
[laughs] Ok, Feng Shui is like, the balance of energy in your space is Feng Shui. And Zen is just being, in a simple term, being in your zone, but like at peace. So you want to have obviously, you need zen in your feng shui[laughs]. If there's no zen in your feng shui, there's no feng shui. And that was it. This is supposed to keep you at peace. You don't have to worry as much about how you're taking care of yourself with my plantica products. This is so simple and you can take them with you anywhere. Which I'm also working on, travel containers to take it anywhere and bring it with you. That's like a worry of mine when I would travel because that would happen all the time too. Ireland, that's where it happened. Ireland was really cold and really dry and I just started freaking out because of the dry air. It's like I need something to moisturize. I need, I need.
You didn't have your remedy with you.
I didn't have it on me. If I would've had my spray and my coconut aloe vera oil, I would've been fine. I know that for a fact. That's another thing, to be able to be at peace knowing that you're taking care of yourself even though you're away. Which is important to constantly be at peace otherwise you're gonna break out from stress.[laughs] It's not gonna work, complete conflict.
Would you say you market is all women?
No way. Which is awesome. That's another main idea. Thats why I pay attention to smells. If it doesnt smell clean then it's probably going to smell feminine or too masculine. I alot of guys buy my soaps and lotions. Thats probably why they sell faster than the spray. So it's definitely 50/50 which is important.
Why was it important for you to make the ingredients organic?
I knew it was going to sell more. Aside from that I just wanted to keep it simple because I knew if it was something non-organic, I felt I might as well spend $80 at the dermatologist. People like the idea of organic and I do too. So its like I said I'm not going to sell it if I don't like it.
Considering your ingredients are organic, and this is all handmade, how do you keep your price points reasonable?
I'm not making much profit to be honest.[laughs] Thats why it's really just for you. It's not so much for me, the only reason why its so much for me is because I make stuff for myself as well. That's pretty much what I get out out of it and people being satisfied by my product. It's really not the price point I should have, it should be almost triple what it is, for me to be making proper profits.
What's the next step for Plantica?
Next step for sure, based off business plans, two things. The sunblock and Farmer's Market. I've been to the Farmer's Market to buy, but never to sell. So I'm working on a presentation, setup so I can properly show people who I am.
Whats your 2 year envisioning for Plantica?
Be in The Standard for sure. I know 2 years I'll be at a nice point, where I can approach people to sell my product. I know people and they want to help me and they believe in me, but im like it's not time yet. Until I feel fully confident with the presentation and especially my website. I want to be able to have a strong backbone to approach these big people. Especially being a female. I'm a female that has a product that actually works. And thats what'll attract people. Hopefully I can get into that spot. They have a market there but I want them to use it in the spa.
When you look into the future, what is one thing you don't want Plantica to become?
Commercial. I've never wanted to be famous, so I feel if I become commercial it's a famous status and I don't think id be happy there. I've had people approach me. "We can make you grow super fast in the next 6 months an you'll make millions of dollars." No, I'm not trying to grow too fast or skip steps. I'm not going to work for people that I do not trust. You're probably going to try selling it a way I don't want it to be sold.
What's your favorite product?
My favorite products are the first four that I made.
I have to choose one?[laughs]Probably the mist spray. Being that I worked at Manggo Tree most of my days and it's hot in Miami. Having that spray in the middle of the day when I don't have time to wash my face or putting on lotion. I don't have to put my hand on my face with the spray, which is important because it keeps my face cleaner. You put it on you feel refreshed and it balances out your skin levels. I put the spray on and I feel great.
Sophia Carrasquillo is an artisan and entrepreneur in every sense of skill, passion and community. Plantica is a physical manifestation and extension of her life philosophy. Follow the Plantica journey from conception into endless opportunities at PlanticaHerbs.com
Follow the Plantica journey from conception into endless opportunities at PlanticaHerbs.com.