Everything that we consume affects our experience of life. My earliest motivation for my work with modern herbalism came from a place of endless fascination with the human experience. At a certain point, I recognized nature’s centrality to the exploration of these issues. That realization led me to herbalism as an industry and career.
For a while, herbalism remained a personal pursuit. After building a career in fashion—working with people I idolized and respected—I realized I didn’t need to continue indefinitely in that industry.
I didn’t choose another industry to enter. I went inward. I took what I knew and externalized and monetized it. In building Pharmakon Supernatural, my modern herbalism content education and consulting platform; HRBLS, a line of herbal gummies; and a café and apothecary—which closed last year but will continue to do pop-ups and installations—it was a matter of testing and experiencing things. It was a conversation between my needs and what I saw in the world—constant listening, refining and evolving that continues today. This probably applies across the board in a digitally driven world: Things change so quickly that we have to be really nimble. I’m constantly aligning our business with what’s happening in the market.
We have three businesses for a variety of reasons. I like to have eggs in lots of baskets. I find that to be a form of security, a backup plan when we need it. This has also helped me maintain a lot of momentum by creating parallel paths among launches or projects. Diversification allows for a degree of revenue stability and a balanced portfolio, as well as an invaluable variety of experience.
Being a “yes machine” enabled me to reach a place now when I say no more often than yes, which was always the intention. By saying yes to a lot of things, I was able to generate income from a variety of sources and experience a lot of different projects, people and environments. I did just about everything. There’s a propensity for businesses and creators to want to brand themselves, but that sort of boxing-in can be incongruent with the pace at which everything changes. A degree of diversity allows us to evolve, as individuals and as businesses, in response to the changing world.
After having that degree of diversity, we’ve been able to narrow and focus over the last couple of years. I am most proud of aligning my career with my deepest personal ambitions and evolving both continuously. There’s been an unbelievable amount of hustle and grind, at times more than is sustainable, but it has allowed me to filter and narrow my focus. It’s allowed me to seek reward in the work and always aim toward my own true north.
As told to Tyler Francischine by Rachelle Robinett, the founder of Pharmakon Supernatural, a New York-based company dedicated to the art of functional nature. A vanguard of natural health, she collaborates with industry-leading partners to participate in shaping the future of herbal wellness and related industries. She is currently working on a book about herbalism and thinking naturally, forthcoming from Penguin Life.