Beauty Philosopher of Living Libations: Meet Nadine Artemis

Once or twice a month on Annapurna Living, we spotlight a creative entrepreneur who chooses to do business with integrity and soul. Today, please enjoy our conversation with founder of Living Libations, Nadine Artemis.

Hello! Please introduce yourself. How does your heart manifest in the world?

I am Nadine Artemis, creator and founder of Living Libations, which is a line of serums, elixirs, and essential oils that nurture beauty, enhance the immune, and promote healthy good oral care. All Libations' botanicals are authentic and pure and distilled only from the named plant matter. We call our essential oils Hi-Fi oils due to the distillers' faithful and accurate adherence to the master plant. All of our Hi-Fi oils are distilled from either wild crafted or organically grown plants. Our wild crafted plant matter is collected from the plants' natural habitat in lieu of a farm. We avoid offering botanicals from rare or threatened species of plants growing in the wild to discourage their disruption and disappearance. Our organic oils originate from plants cultivated without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. 

My work is important because____.

My work is important because our present day perception of beauty is parched. The focus is on the external. The vanity of the veneer has created an intense atmosphere that interferes with our body’s innate intelligence. Through the haze of this critical gaze, we chase unrealistic perfection and prop up these excessive ideals even though we know the standards are unreal. And boy have we been buying into it at 400 billion dollars a year globally! Devouring the Fantasy and the Allure of the perfect contour; creating Cover Girl Complexions; lambasting in Lancôme lotions; dousing ourselves with the fumes of White Shoulders, Rush and Envy perfumes; frescoing our face with perilous paint and Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ surgical-fashions. Dizzying arrays of industrial tricks have promised to make polite our feminine favors. Assurances of self-esteem applied with acne-bleaching-crème. Attempts to scrub clean in dangerous-daily-routines of douches, deodorants, wipes, foaming agents, powders puffs, and crèmes fluff us all to glorify someone else’s scheme of being pore-less and pristine.

Meanwhile, the majority of modern cosmetic ingredients cause our skin cells to atrophy, shrivel, and shrink, leading us to think we need to do more as the bottles amass around our bathroom sinks. Beauty buzzwords are illusory and euphemistic. They use ersatz apparitions of lofty lavender fields to obscure reality. Empty metaphors have filled our pores with the debris of detergents and suds of surfactants. Active Ingredients are highlighted to distract from the futile fillers and the undesirable, unpronounceable ingredients that our skin can live without.

Living Libations helps people reclaim their self-care so that their health and beauty are in their own hands and guided by their own intuition. As society becomes more aware of issues with synthetic chemicals, people are beginning to understand that each drop of what they are applying to their beloved body must contain boundless, bioactive, botanical beauty. When nature provides such exquisite and effective elements to graciously attend to our skin, we must see the use of synthetics as the definition of insanity. We make Living Libations to be the finest beauty attendants for the body.

What does soulful business mean to you? What motivates you?

For me, soulful means whole-body engagement, deeply personal and authentic. A soulful business flows from the heart, the senses, and is a collected reflection of all the bodies and souls involved—my family, our team, and clients—a sacred commerce of communion.

What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

The best business advice I receive always comes from the wisdom within, from the intuition anchored in my mind-heart connection.

What is the best business advice you would give?

Follow your passion, your gut instincts. Plant those seeds; allow for their blossoming. And, know that at some point your happy hobby, your passionate pursuit, will involve lawyers, insurance plans, and spreadsheets… and you may feel like your creativity is being bogged down. That is when it is time to leap, dive deep!, and embrace what is dampening your flame and making your passion mundane. Focus on the now, not the how. Keep your eyes on the quality of your work and off the bottom line. Use the finest ingredients. Produce the best value. Look for ways to make what you do even better, brighter, deeper, stronger, and more beautiful. Be the best at what you do and let the bottom line sort itself out. Most entrepreneurs are visionaries and feel inspiration rise up from within. It is key to develop the inner alignment that cultivates vision into manifest form. Always make decisions from a place of inner alignment; this is your guide, your everlasting compass, to pioneering your path.

How do you stay connected to loved ones when deeply entrenched in work?

I begin the day watching the sunrise over our lake and eating breakfast in bed with my family. My family and work are thoroughly integrated. Since I was 20 years old, I have held a strong vision for a harmonious work-family life and consequently made many choices to unify quality family life and fruitful work life.

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? How do you work with or around it?

My biggest challenge is corralling the creativity all of the ideas and to-dos. I ask for help, prioritize, delegate, and focus on a few projects at a time. Ultimately, knowing the sword of saying no, occasionally letting go and trusting the ebb and flow is required. Understanding the ebb is essential; it is the deep drawing back of the arrow that launches the fortified flow.

When you feel burned out or uninspired, what lights your fire again? Please share a personal mantra, motto, or ritual for when you feel drained. How do you stay nourished and inspired as a soulful creative?

I live in the midst of nature, and nature is my antidote. While playing in the deep woods and swimming in the spring fed lake, the verdant green of the trees and the sparkling, blue water are etched on my soul and constantly nourish my senses, lungs, and body. Watching the sunrise and sunset every day and the waxing and waning of the moon are the balm that inspires my calm.

How do you start your work day?

I begin every day diving into appreciation. Our family starts out the day calling out all of the things we feel grateful for. I love what I do and the people I work with, and spending a few moments expressing that gratitude carries me through the rest of the day and helps me stay receptive and creative.

If you could do something else as a vocation, what would it be?

I never think in terms of “career” or vocation, or that I am an author, or this or that job title (except when I write my bio ;). I deeply feel that to live is to create and that we are all truly artists of LIFE.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Besides the classic lemonade stands of childhood, my first entrepreneurship experience was catching crayfish in the stream and then walking with my bucket through the forest to sell them at the bait store near our cottage. In grade five, I declared that I would never work in an office building, would retire young and would be my own “boss.” I began my making of botanical concoctions and importing essential oils from organic distillers when I was in university and formed my first legit business: Artemis Essentials. I made a leg rejuvenating cream for spider veins called Waitress Legs for friends who worked long hours in restaurants. And it worked! My friends and family loved my potions and wanted more, and a business was born. At 22 years old, just months after graduating, I opened North America’s first full concept aromatherapy store with all original formulas and an exquisite essential oil perfume blending bar. I like taking risks, I like gambling my life on living. I like making decisions, and I enjoy directing the momentum of running a business. I like knowing that I can create what my heart inspires and that there are people that desire our Living Libations’ creations. I like to make a joyful and stable workplace for others and enriching the community that we live and work in. The creative process is also fun for me, starting with the ideas percolating in my mind and bringing them into full form.

Do you have a first memory from childhood that connects you to what you have created today?

My fascination with plants started when I was child. I would play for hours in the woods with plants. This joy was further developed in 9th grade when a book sort of fell from the library shelf into my hands as I was preparing for the science fair. The book was full of ancient Egypt style cosmetics and perfume recipes using essential oils. My mom and I drove to the city to the health food store and bought a handful of essential oils. We recreated L’Air Du Temps by Nina Ricci from those oils. It was an exciting project and my first success in the world of botanical science. Later, when I was in university, I was shocked to discover that some of my favorite products, like cucumber face toner, did not contain any cucumber in it at all. It was just a bottle of synthetic chemicals! I knew that there was a pure botanical world out there, so I started making pure perfumes and some skin care items. To be ensorcelled in the scents of sandalwood and jasmine, surrounded by decanters and bottles of botanicals… I was in heaven!

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

I spent my childhood picking flowers, making potions from berries, and stirring up mud pies in puddles. Creatively compounding the properties of plants is second nature to me. I did not always know what I wanted to be, but I had a good instinct for knowing what I didn’t want… which eventually carves out the shape of the life you do want.

What did you know you did NOT want to be?

Knowing what you do not want is vital! Reflecting on my childhood, sensitivity was one of my superhero-strengths. I was tuned into what made me feel good, and would not dwell on what did not feel good, through this I was led to what inspires me each step of the way. These daily shifts and decisions are a constant fine-tuning of what life was offering. I had the inner knowing to focus on my strengths, focus on what I love, and focus on what gets my juices flowing. Cultivating discernment in your life choices, from the micro to the macro, and heeding your inner desires—really, becoming the connoisseur of your life—is essential.

Who supports you?

A libation is an outpouring of nectar in honor of a deity, and as humans, we are the outpourings of the nectar of Creation. When we allow this to pour through the vessel of our being, inspiration and reality can be a dream-team match made in heaven. I have three dream teams: The dream team of all the wisdom that has gone before me inspires me to connect continually with the universe within. It ignites me to think innovative thoughts that leads my hands to create luscious formulas that are simply an extension of Creation. My hands serve at the pleasure of plants and flowers, the original owners of essences and oils. This dream team, the intelligent joy-juice of flora, is the muse for all Libation creations. Plants are cosmic-chemists, endlessly assembling the molecules of the world, and we live by the grace of this assembly. My life has been a total immersion in beautiful botanical essences, and they continue to teach me so much about health, beauty, and immunity. My dream team of amazing people keeps the flow of Living Libations working like a well-oiled machine and an engaged enterprise. In the early days of an entrepreneurial endeavor, it is quite common to do it ALL—every aspect of the business. So, it is fun to function now with a full team that is an extension of the vision. Each member shines in the work they do, which continually contributes to the flowering of Living Libations and in turn we get to offer more and more to the universe.

What are your favorite entrepreneurial resources? Business mentors? Please share books, websites, and more.

Seth Godin—all of his books are great, and I appreciate Tribes and Lynchpin. Jiddu Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom. Really, all of his books are phenomenal. Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn't Work—and What to Do About It. I read this in 1998, and it made me want to reinvent the work place so that not only are beautiful products created but work relationships are recalibrated to be a thing of beauty, too. This led me to: Holocracy and Glass Frog, which are amazing resources for business structure and organizational culture. The Holocracy philosophy has really helped us ensure that Living Libations has healthy internal structures for all the people who make it a reality day to day. Richard Sheridan, Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love. Fredrick Laloux, Reinventing Organizations. EF Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered. Tom Rath, Strength’s Finders—my sister, an executive coach, got our whole organization into this book, and taking this test is now part of our hiring process. Danielle LaPorte is a soul-spa for entrepreneurs and artists—Danielle inspires all to put poetry and passion into one’s work. Maria Popova—I love Maria’s brain! Maria reads 10-12 books every week—across all disciplines, old and new—and weaves them ingeniously into a weekly blog that transcends “educational.” It is deep, inspiring, creative, and thought provoking. Maria is a modern day master at squeezing the most utility from her brain, her time, and her soul.

What was the biggest “lesson” you've learned through your experience in business?

A few years ago, our home and business headquarters burned to the ground in the middle of the night. My family escaped the fire, but we lost everything else. It was scary and deeply devastating to experience so much loss. Soulful and embodied living took on a brand new meaning and depth after that. While beyond devastating, it was amazing to witness the strength of our Living Libations team and business. The kindness and generosity of all the people who love Libations was profoundly felt. We learned that our team is resilient and that our business is agile and organized. We were amazed that we could rise out of the ashes so quickly and strongly. Through all of this, I learned even more about trusting life, about the glory of gratitude and counting your blessings—and blessing life back. Appreciation is a true lifeline and rose-colored glasses are an essential accessory. And, going through something so momentous makes the mundane stressors feel completely irrelevant.

Tell us a story or describe a time when something occurred in your business that made your heart leap and you KNEW you were doing the right thing.

I know that we are doing the right thing from the countless daily reviews and emails that we receive from our gorgeous clients expressing joy that their acne, rosacea, or eczema has cleared up. Women report that their skin tone is so moist and balanced that they no longer feel the need to wear foundation make-up. That their body discomfort is no longer there. They are rejoicing in a new sensuality. That their hair feels healthy for the first time. A few months ago, I spoke at the 8th International Scientific Aromatherapy Conference on Therapeutic Uses of Essential Oils. That was an honor and a lot of fun, as the first time I spoke at this conference was twenty years ago. I addressed a subject very dear to me: Breast Health. Afterward, Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt was so deeply thankful for this contribution. Dr. Schnaubelt is one of the founders of the modern essential oil movement and author of some of the most intelligent books on essential oils. (And, when I flew back from this conference, a sequence of synchronicity led to meeting up with Carrie Anne which, of course, was a wondrous thing.)

If you could do or make something every day that you give away, what would it be?

If I could capture the refreshed state of beauty I feel after swimming in our spring fed lake and basking in the sunshine, I would give it away by the gallon.


About Nadine—

Nadine Artemis is a beauty philosopher and aromacologist. As the creator of Living Libations, she has developed a line of serums, elixirs, and essentials oil that nurture beauty, enhance the immune, and promote healthy good oral care. She is the author of Holistic Dental Care: the Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums.

Visit Nadine at Livinglibations.com, on Twitter: @LivingLibations; Pinterest: Living Libations; Instagram: livinglibations, and on Facebook.