September 23, 2016
Rootfoot + a Guide to Colorado
We met Laura Huth of Rootfoot last Spring during our Austin Fair. Her warmth, humor, and extensive knowledge in her craft never left us. Since then, Laura has traveled to several of our fairs, and it’s been great getting to know this exceptional, passionate maker, as well as someone who crafts the best “spirit animal” oil we’ve ever encountered! To top it all off, we made sure to ask this Colorado local about all of her favorite haunts to share with the world!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
The name Rootfoot describes something that is elemental, instinctive, and ritualistic. It means to walk barefoot, to follow the moon, to tap into energies that surround us, and to be wild. Rootfoot is our inherent connection to the Earth and to all existence. It brings us deeper into relationship with the things that are a part of us, which I believe is everything. I’m very interested in reminding people that we are all nature and we are natural. I feel that it’s very easy to forget that, but I believe that life can be beautiful and harmonious when lived with such an awareness. The name Rootfoot is the most succinct way for me to describe this, juxtaposing the part of the human body with the part of the plant that is most connected to the Earth.
Why did you start working in this particular craft?
The project started in 2008 in my backyard in Boulder, Colorado. I began learning distillation and the energetics of essential oil bearing plants as a way to both care for the earth and provide people with tools for holistic health.
During this time, I grew, harvested, and distilled the plants according to the seasons and moon phases. I documented each yield. I studied and meditated on the qualities of the plants and began to really understand how they are expressions of their environment. For the next 7 years, this project remained a passion as I worked alongside spiritual healers, plant alchemists, and organic beauty brands to develop the perspective and experience needed to launch formally in February of 2015. Since its official launch, Rootfoot has been met by a great deal of excitement by stores and customers who seem to have been craving an opportunity to share in this type of connection.
What is your favorite part of your studio/workspace?
Part of my work is able to take place in nature. Getting to go into the forest is my absolute favorite.
What has been the most challenging part of running your own business?
For me, right now, I think the most challenging part is finding balance. Since Roofoot’s inception, it has required A LOT from me and others. We’ve put in crazy hours and thankfully my family and friends understand and are supportive, but I’m seeking to be able to carve out time again for yoga, date nights, my nephew, bike rides, – time to just straight kick it. Not only will this keep me healthy and connected, I think it’s really important to take moments to recharge and tap into new inspiration.
Share your proudest/favorite moment while being a small business owner.
There are some many moments that make me really proud of the work that we’re doing here. But in all these experiences, the proudest moment happened this year at Arise Music Festival when we put together an installation called the Diffuser Project which we’ve done a few times in a few different settings. Generally we set up a large tipi and hold space for meditation with the oils. This year it was especially magical because it felt like people were extremely ready to receive Rootfoot’s concept and we had been able to refine our message to the point where it was exactly what we were trying to say. It was beautiful and humbling to see the ways people were taking these concepts and approaching the wisdom.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I think there have been a couple of major things that have helped me build Rootfoot: experience in the field and mentors.
I began conceptualizing this project 9 years ago. It took many years to understand the plants, learn how to distill, and to study aromatherapy and Ayurveda. In 2012-2014, I had the invaluable experience as Brand Manager for a world-renowned organic skin care company, Pangea Organics. This brand is an icon in the industry for their values and efforts of sustainability and efficacy. I learned ways to scale as a green business without compromising values. I also learned an immense amount about production, distribution, and customer service. I’ve had many mentors along the way: my husband Dustin Huth, entrepreneur and executive director for nonprofit Bus to Show, David Crow, master herbalist and practitioner of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, Stephanie Athena-Marie, intuitive energy healer, and River Cummings, Viniyoga teacher. I am so grateful for these teachers and leaders.
What is the most important thing you do daily for your business?
I check in with the brand and its direction to make certain it is staying true to its values. Also being present on social media. It’s been a powerful tool in developing Rootfoot and connecting to its audience.
What are some inspirations for your work?
My inspiration comes from personal experience and my environment. I feel that I’m merely a facilitator of Rootfoot’s existence, so listening is a big part of my craft. I’m inspired by landscape, color, mythology, energy, ritual and cultures. I use meditation and stillness in my work. One text that forever inspires me is The Upanishads. It’s an ancient text that speaks of the nature of reality, the universe, and human experience. I’m inspired by the ways in which we can live in harmony, support ecosystems, and strengthen our personal and collective wellness.
If you could learn any other craft, what would it be?
Ceramics. There is a sort of beauty about ceramics that is like nothing else. It’s earthly and refined. Its ancientness and elemental forces is mesmerizing. My dear friend Brittany Trushin, from Minneapolis is an outstanding ceramic artist and someone whom I admire greatly. I lived with her during college and learned so much about ceramic art from her. We get to work together now on Rootfoot projects.
When you do get free time, how do you like to spend it?
I love spending time at my home with my husband, cat, family and friends. Taking walks. We live in the countryside so it’s fun to visit all the animals and see the stars. Lying under trees. Swimming, especially in hot springs. Making food and sometimes bicycling to our favorite brewery, market, or coffee shop. And yoga. It’s one of my most favorite things.
How does your home influence your work?
I’m certain Colorado’s landscape and animals have been a major influence in my work. One example is when I created the Spirit Animal collection. My friend had asked me to make oils for clients based on specific properties for healing support, I began to think of animals and how their qualities could assist with this healing. This is how Rootfoot’s Spirit Animal collection came to be and the collection started with creatures that live nearby. Also I work with and am inspired directly by local plants of sages, pines, grasses, and florals.The landscape inspires the visual content for Rootfoot as well.
What do you enjoy most about your craft and entrepreneurship?
My favorite thing about Rootfoot is providing tools that connect people more deeply to the earth, themselves, and others. It’s wonderful that people are seeking out these tools for this very reason and it’s my hope that this may bring inspiration into people’s lives and elevate universal consciousness. Secondly, I enjoy contributing to projects that support the earth’s vitality including organic agriculture and eco projects.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
I would suggest as a small business not investing too much up front. It’s worth spending time to connect with your craft and your audience. I believe this makes for a successful company. Also go all the way with your craft. I found that the more I do what I really want to do (or as I say ‘the weirder I get’), the more rewarding it has been and the more people can connect with my craft.
What’s next for your business?
There are lots of wonderful things on the horizon. This fall, Rootfoot will release its newest line of products to build on its Sacred Space collection. This line is for those seeking high-grade oils for use in diffuser or bath and will highlight plants specifically for their energetic significance. Scent is such an important part of the feeling we derive from being in a place, and these tools will give people the ability to create different moods that are appropriate for different moments. Also Rootfoot will be a featured brand this October with Nordstrom. Products will be in 8 stores and online.
Next up: We get Laura’s inside scoop into her favorite places in Colorado!
Favorite natural monuments or parks in Colorado:
- Shambhala Mountain Center – Red Feather Lakes – largest stupa in North America, quartz, pine, and white sage landscape
- Eldorado Springs – Eldorado (close to Boulder) – beautiful day time hike
- Estes Park – best time of year to visit to see aspen leaves change and elk migration
Favorite cultural/creative hot spots:
- Bean Cycle Roasters – Fort Collins – vibrant community and all things bicycle, book, and coffee related
- New Belgium, Odell, and Funkwerks breweries – Fort Collins – rent a bicycle and cruise from brewery to brewery, schedule a tour ahead of time for New Belgium, it’s worth learning about the company’s ethos and eco efforts
- The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver – Denver – afterward go to City O City for a delicious vegan meal and Queen City General Store for amazing vintage goods, jewelry, plants, and animal bones
- RiNo District – Denver – for street art and Denver’s newest scene
Favorite places to party:
My husband and I see a lot of music, so here are our favorites:
- Red Rocks Amphitheater – Golden – take Bus to Show for transportation
- Larimer Lounge – Denver – good indie music venue
- Hi-Dive – Denver – another good indie venue, stop by Sputnicks next door for cocktails and cheesy fries
Best relaxation spots:
- Idaho Hot springs – Idaho Springs – bathing suit required, in the mountains
- Boulder Tea House – Boulder, CO – beautiful building imported from Tajikistan, wonderful teas
- Little Yoga Studio – Boulder, CO – so many good teachers and classes
- Union Station – order an Old Fashion from the bar