Ashe and Christin are a wonderfully dynamic couple, owners of two businesses, and mothers to a beautiful daughter named Quest. They are both from Oakland, California and followed each other to Arizona and onward to Santa Barbara where they ended up in the corporate world like many people. From there, they took a leap of faith to start their own woman-owned businesses - and they haven’t looked back yet.
*Answers by Ashe.
You two have been partners - in life and in business - for almost 18 years. How did you meet?
We met when we were 17 & 18 years old. I was her local barista and she worked across the street at the local Beauty Supply. From our daily interactions, we started dating, fell in love, moved in together a month later and have been together ever since.
That’s amazing! Did either of you grow up without support and love for being gay or were your parents nurturing and helped build self-esteem for who you were?
For the first seven years of our relationship, we had support from both sides of our families. After we got married, the economic crisis of 2008 hit my family hard. They pretty much lost everything they worked hard for, as they were in real estate. I believe that from that traumatic hardship they sought support from the Christian Church. From that support, they took on the biblical injunction that my relationship with my wife was a sin. I was devastated. In an effort to not lose my family, I sacrificed myself to maintain a relationship despite their beliefs, which meant acting like Christin didn’t exist. We spent several holidays apart and the lack of acceptance was literally killing me. I brought this to their attention and we tried to move forward as "family." It wasn’t until after Quest was born that my mother finally came forward to let me know of her continued disapproval and desire for me to become a Christian. I had enough and ask them not to contact me any further. That was in March of 2018 and I haven’t heard from them since.
There’s nothing more important than self-love and self-acceptance, no matter what anyone says, even your parents...did being business partners help or hinder your relationship?
It’s made us so much stronger. Our communication is impeccable. Our ability to work together and play together has been a beautiful process. After almost 18 years of love and 10 years of business, we are grateful for all that we have learned over the years. We have literally grown up together and know that everything that happens in business is temporary, so we try to remain calm and not sweat the things that come up. Trust, surrender, and love each other through it.
First came LunaBella Hair and Makeup, but then you got the higher calling to do something more personal and nurturing, Pura Luna Apothecary. How did this come together?
After years of making women feel and look great on the outside, we made our dream of creating wholeness and beauty on the inside a reality. Our salon and on-site services for both wedding and production was the beginning of our business track record. It became very apparent that the ones sitting in our chairs were excited about transforming the outside appearance, but there was so much internal work that they were starving to attain...they typically had such a level of self-loathing or dis-ease that it was obvious to continue to help women feel better inside. As for Pura Luna, it came after a traumatic few years of trying to conceive. I was introduced to herbalism and knew that this was a part of my mission in life. We've always wanted to create a healing and sacred space for women and working with plants felt like it was in alignment with our grander vision. Upon graduation from herbalism school, we took another leap of faith and created our second business, Pura Luna Women’s Apothecary.
How did herbalism come into play?
My journey to holistic healing and alternative medicine came about from a desire to heal myself nine years ago. I was suffering from depression over my "unexplained infertility" diagnosis and had lost myself in the process of trying to conceive. Looking for the blessing of this challenging time in my life, I sought out healing and education in the jungles of Costa Rica where I was introduced to the healing plants of the rainforest and their physical and spiritual medicine. The plants healed me and transformed my depression.
And you gifted me that lovely and amazing menstruation cycle calendar (Shown Above), how does this work and how does that empower a woman?
It has information regarding the physical, emotional and mental changes that occur throughout a cycle, customizable pages for cycle tracking, basal body temperature charting and new moon wishes, guidance on how to use your cycle as a tool to optimize and plan your personal and professional life. Charting basics for cycle awareness, pregnancy achievement or avoidance and herbal remedies for a healthy cycle. It empowers women by encouraging them to fully understand and create greater awareness around their cycles while creating mindfulness with ritual.
“Trust, surrender, and love each other through it”
You shared with me that you noticed most women don’t know about health and their bodies. Where do you start and what are some of the services you provide here specifically for women?
We offer several free classes to the community about their health and bodies. We have a very knowledgeable staff that is there to support the women seeking help with healing themselves. We also have a full library full of books for women to access in our community room. Pura Luna Women’s Apothecary was created to provide safe alternative methods and modalities for women to heal themselves and empower them to do so with the help of the community. We support women in accessing and tapping back into their bodies' healing wisdom with the assistance of plant medicine and self-care. All of our herbal medicinals were made in house or by other women-owned ventures. We aim to encourage and support women-owned businesses and have made it our priority to solely stock our shelves with our sisters’ creations. We specialize in women’s health and wellness but cater to any and all genders seeking greater wholeness. This is a place for women of all ages and stages in life. We sell herbal remedies, feminine care products, self-care items, and home-goods. We also hold events, moon gatherings, and offer alternative healing services including the ancient practice of V-steaming or yoni steaming.
I love that you have a yoni steam room for clients...that’s incredible! Can you explain what that is and how that’s beneficial for women?
Vaginal steaming is a method of healing used in over 25 countries around the world. Vaginal steaming is soothing and healing, it feels much like a warm bath filled with herbal medicine but for your creative center. The comfort and relaxation is focused on your vulva as you relax on a custom-made sauna box. It wasn’t that long ago that women thought of our vaginas as “dirty” and something we didn’t want to think about “down there.” We now know vaginas are self-cleaning, miraculous and beautiful centers of our power. Vaginal steaming is not about washing. Think of it as a relaxing way to optimize your physical and mental health, your center of power, your miraculous source of babies, pleasure and female power. Most commonly, vaginal steaming is used by midwives in other countries for postpartum care right after a woman has a baby. From the first period to post-menopause, it is an important tool for self-care. Some people think vaginal steaming improves symptoms in various gynecological problems and shows tremendous potential as an alternative to invasive medical procedures.
They are great for: Heavy or long periods, Painful periods, Irregular or short cycles, Yeast infections, Bladder or kidney infections, Increasing Fertility, Fibroids & Cysts, endometriosis, PCOS, Before and after cycle care, Missing Periods, Hormone balance, Postpartum care, Bacterial Vaginosis, Pre, peri, and post Menopause, Dysmenorrhea & Amenorrhea, post abortion care, Miscarriage recovery, Hysterectomy care, Vaginal Dryness, Overall Preventative Vaginal Care,
You two have an amazing daughter Quest. Can you share with us the experience of carrying a child and how has she changed you both?
Creating our mini-human was quite the production. Seven years in the making, to be exact. We actually decided to take one year off because it was emotionally taxing on both of us. That time off wound up being pivotal for the genesis of Pura Luna. My wife was the one who carried our daughter and watching her blossom into the mama bear goddess that she became was something out of this world. We had a great pregnancy and delivered naturally at home, which was beyond surreal. Once Quest was earthside, we knew that we had to leave her a legacy and our apothecary is just one of them. She has grown up in the shop and is fully engulfed in all that we do with herbs. She loves taking her little apple cider vinegar tinctures and burdock root infusions. It’s pretty amazing raising a very conscious kid and we couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m not sure how you two are doing it all, what’s your secret?
We’re not sure how we’re doing it all too! Honestly, we hold each other up and support one another on a daily basis. We praise one another and reassure each other that we've made all of the necessary choices to achieve greatness for our future. Whether it’s laughter, long talks at night after the baby is asleep or cranking out products in our "dream factory" as a date night, we are each other’s lock and key. We try to unwind as best as we can and sometimes it’s hard to not bring shop-talk home. But we also find that small doses of work talk mixed with strong communication and tons of goofy moments is what makes us incredible business partners and partners in life. Also, doing those mini-getaways to a Korean spa or natural hot spring is the perfect reset for us.
How do you honor Mother Earth?
We honor Mother Earth by having complete reverence for all the resources she provides. We feel a huge responsibility in helping conserve these resources and do our best to recycle, reduce, and re-use. As part of our ritual around the full and new moon, we honor Mother Earth by laying upon her belly, praying for her well-being, and making offerings to her as a token of appreciation for her continued sacrifice. As a business, we drive home the importance of having reverence and intention when working with her healing plants. We also honor the spiritual interconnectedness of life on Planet Earth and encourage our community to be present with all that this beautiful planet has to offer.
Follow Pura Luna @puralunaapothecary