I sat down to share a cup of tea and talk about life and business with Michelle Neubel of Michelle’s Herbal Products. I am always amazed how quickly time passes when I meet with Michelle. We start chatting and hours fly by. There are some people in life that brighten your day through simply interacting with them. Michelle is one of those people…she is one of the most encouraging people I know, full of joy, peace, and hope. She encourages not merely through her words, but her genuine care for others and her desire to help them make their lives better. Her life is a life full of seeking to serve and love others. I am amazed at her own introspection. She accurately assesses her own life, and then lives it well. She is living a sacrificial and caring life, and living it with joy. Her life truly is an authentically lived life!
Michelle was generous enough to allow me to ask her a few questions about her life and business in order to share with you. Here is a bit of our chat…
First, tell me a bit about yourself. How did you become interested in creating a line of herbal products?
I became interested in herbalism from a young age, learning about flowers, plants, and herbs and their uses. I certainly did not anticipate this but it came out of necessity. My interest stemmed from my own family’s needs for products to sooth and help health issues relating to allergies and sensitivities.
What does hand crafted mean to you?
Less is more…it is about taking God’s creation and those elements that can be found in nature and using them as they are meant to be used. The less you do to it, the better off it is for meeting the need and the intended effect. It was created for a specific reason and we should be using it as such. When I am crafting my products, I don’t use synthetic or industrialized products, but use that which is organic, pure in form, or wildcrafted (a plant that is indigenous to where it is from and has not been harvested or trained to be grown but is found wild).
How does your craft relate to your life?
It is a culmination of everything in my life. It balances my love of art, herbalism, aromatherapy, esthetics, and my background in Mathematics and Chemistry. My line of herbal products is bringing together my knowledge of each of these things to help people.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired by various cultures in history…African, Native American, Western herbalism, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese medicine…old Hebraic and biblical culture, using aloes, ciders and other fermentations, frankincense and myrrh all for healing, West Africa’s shea butter, Morocco’s Argan oil, India’s hibiscus, honey from the USA, New Zealand’s manuka honey, Malawi’s baobab. The list goes on and on…
(Literally, Michelle could have talked forever on all the different cultures around the world and the different healing and health elements that are found throughout history and their cultures, as well as the benefits and purposes of each of her own products.)
Who has influenced your craft?
Definitely my family. Both my parents have always been very strong in culinary arts, but it is more than just that. The example my mother and father set for me in how they lived their lives really has influenced my own life. Their dedication of the study of the Bible, helping others, and caring for us children when we were sick, all have been influential in how I now live. I grew up hearing stories from my mother’s mother, and how she helped her family and others with herbal remedies to rid or alleviate both chronic childhood and adult ailments. I have witnessed and been apart of what I would like to call an action ministry, where my mother would make her fabulous homemade soup and full course dinners for anyone who was sick, just moved to town, moving out of town, or just a family in need. My father would deliver them, as well as pick up anyone who was in need of a ride. There have been many, many occasions over the years when my mother and father have prayed and doctored over me and my siblings throughout the evening and into the next day to help alleviate our suffering. These stories just do not stem from my parents, but what our extended family has done one to another; particularly the matriarchs of my mother’s family. They may seem like cliché’s, but children really do grow up doing what their parents do, not what they say, and my family has lived evident to this saying. My maternal grandfather, Levi, instilled in his family a saying that is kept alive today, “Never let one fall for the other.” While all the cultures I mentioned have inspired me, ultimately the love that my family has shown me and others out shines everything!
What is your creative process like? How do you come up with your products or the ingredients that you use?
Well, the hair tonic started with my sister’s need, who asked me to use my knowledge to create something for her. It led me to begin researching and drawing from my background in chemistry and herbalism. Here I am, years later, growing some of my own herbs, but mostly sourcing organic and native origin ingredients for my products. My dream is to have a community herb garden to grow my own ingredients along with others.
Hearing customers say how my products have helped them drives me to create the best quality product I can. I am always evaluating that which I am making and seeing if there is anything that will be more beneficial or work better.
Apart from your business, what does your life hold?
I love nature…water, athleticism (hiking for example), music including concerts and festivals, art, travel, and the community I am a part of. I like encouraging people and helping them to achieve their aspirations. I want to encourage those who have suffered in the physical realm to become a well individual and do what they love. I want to do God’s will and follow that which He has inspired me to do.
What would you be doing if you were not creating your line of herbal products?
I have always wanted to start a wellness center and combine all the different areas of medicine….Also, it has always been my ambition to be an artist.
To learn more about the benefits of each of these products and how to buy them, visit Ask Aunt Michelle. I did so enjoy talking with Michelle about life and her work. Make sure to visit her website!…Virginia