Hey folks, Jezabel here. Some of you may have met us in-person through markets, some through recommendations, others from Instagram and Clubhouse. As we reach more diverse audiences outside the Greater Seattle area (into places as far as Australia and Finland!), we realize that we would do well to formally introduce ourselves.
Our intention in doing so is to develop deeper relationships with the individuals and groups who support us. Simultaneously, we would like to open doors of collaboration and dialogue with those who share similar interests, goals, and philosophies.
The ultimate + evergreen goal is to use this space to individually express our perspectives on Deschampsia-related things such as production and sourcing, but also delve into our thoughts on nature, plants, and spirituality, honoring personal power/sovereignty and more.
We are Jezabel and Jonathan, co-owners of Deschampsia.
About our Name- Deschampsia
We embraced this name for many reasons. It's pronounces day-shawmp-see-ah and is a genus of grasses commonly known as hair or tussock grass- named in honor of French physician and naturalist Louis Auguste Deschamps (1765–1842). Deschamps also happens to be Jonathan's family name. Appropriately, "des champs" is French for "of the fields".
Let's Get to the Bare Bones of Who We Are.
Jonathan and I are both in our 30s and live in a small studio-loft in West Seattle with two middle-aged cats, Sulphur and Vajra.
We met in the Summer 2017 and very quickly (read: almost immediately) found out about our mutual love of ecology and PNW native plants. Another discovery we made was that both of us are autodidact herbalists, meaning that we taught ourselves about herbal medicine through over a decade of independent research, spending lots of time with a vast array of plants (in various forms), making our own herbal preparations, reading the literature, and communing with ancestral knowledge.
We complement one another in the best of ways: Jonathan has a scientific background in Pacific Northwest native plant ecology and graduated from the University of Washington. My personal focus is more on the spiritual side of plant practice- I offer limpias (spiritual cleansings), meditate/journey with plants, and proudly honor plants and revere ancestors. This isn't to say that Jonathan isn't spiritual and that I don't like science- on the contrary. I have also studied chemistry and plant biology- just as Jonathan has a deep connection with the spiritual honoring of plants and their roles as teachers. We both balance each other out and couldn't be luckier to share this business and a life together.
Not surprisingly, we have many things in common, like most partners do, but one of the first things we shared was our love of long, healing baths. After exchanging bath soak recipes, we slowly began opening up to one another about our individual dreams. These include (but are certainly not limited to) running an apothecary, teaching, hosting community events, individual rights/sovereignty, holistic health, and keeping ancestral knowledge alive- you know, the usual. Early on, we began inspiring one another to accomplish more, delve into introspection, and grow together.
The Start of Our Journey
Late 2017, Jonathan made a big move- he quit his regular wage job to dedicate himself full-time to starting Deschampsia. This was a HUGE leap-of-faith and I am so glad that he took the jump. At the time, I was still working as a nanny (as I had for 10+ years prior). Even though I was not available 100% of the time, I dedicated most of my free time to the business- giving feedback about formulations, packaging, attending markets, and more.
I want to take this moment to acknowledge that throughout the years, Jonathan (bless his heart and dedication) has put in most of the nitty-gritty effort for building our business. Honestly, we wouldn't be what we are if it weren't for him. Before you think I am not giving myself enough credit, let me say that we are a fully functioning team.
As 2020 unraveled and the business moved to a 100% online operation, we knew that we had to work together to build up the resilience necessary to come through "the other end" of what's been happening. Near the end of that year, I quit my regular nanny job and moved on to working with Jonathan 100% of the time.
We didn't start with seed-money, incurred debt to start the business, and live as simply as possible because we are still building momentum. We often work over 12 hours a day during the week and sometimes don't stop on the weekends.
Where We Are Now:
Some folks don't know, but we primarily ran our business through the local economy up until early 2020, when things started shutting down. It really was a scramble because we had paid for and planned many popups, markets, and events several months in advance. While the past year was (and continues to be) hectic, we have been so fortunate to be able to make it through the initial lockdowns and into a place where we partnered with two local shops, Central Co-Op and PCC Markets (with 15 locations!).
Wrapping Up (for now):
Now more than ever, we need to change the way we relate to businesses, humans, and the environment. We see so much degradation, disconnect, and depersonalization in this fast-tech, instant-gratification monoculture that we feel compelled to take action. Our purpose is to breathe life back into this world by connecting and sharing authentically with you all. Both Jonathan and I wholeheartedly believe that through the slow cultivation of regenerative practices and nonviolent human exchange, we can all create a better culture built upon win-win relationships with each other and the environment.
As we move forward, we plan to unpack more of what was touched upon in this post. We plan to share more about our personal plant journeys, herbal wisdom, stories from the fields, and our many thoughts on holistic living.