Guiding Philosophy + On the Land

 

From the heart

Sḵwálwen Botanicals is an Indigenous beauty line creating plant-based skincare inspired by, and grounded in, Indigenous plant knowledge. Sḵwálwen (skwall-a-win) translates to “heart” or “essence of being” in the Squamish language. This name was chosen to represent the inspiration behind the business: building connections to the land through working with plants in a way that feeds one’s heart and spirit.

Founder Leigh Joseph thrives on finding creative approaches to drawing on Indigenous knowledge in a contemporary way. Sḵwálwen products offer an opportunity for people to incorporate Indigenous plant knowledge and the clean, effective properties of plant-based ingredients into their daily beauty and self care rituals In keeping with the heart-centered foundation of the business.

On the Land

Leigh loves walking out the door with her basket in hand and heading into the forest or estuary or subalpine meadows to harvest plant food and medicines. Skwxwú7mesh culture considers plants to be relatives, thus they are to be respected. This is why Leigh takes a moment to breathe and connect with herself, bringing her mind and heart to a place of peace and presence. Then she says a thank you to the plants and trees she will be harvesting from.

As a botanist, Leigh is passionate about plant identification. She observes plants throughout their growing season, looking for the cues and signs that a particular plant is ready to be harvested. This kind of awareness of one's surroundings leads to a connection to place and a knowledge that can only be developed over time.

When Leigh harvests plants she follows cultural teachings that ensure a sustainable relationship based on reciprocity. There are many ways to ensure plants regenerate if you understand their individual structures and lifecycles. Leigh takes care to not harvest too much of any one plant so as to ensure the plant will come back for years to come and can be used by other lifeforms that rely on it.

Many Sḵwálwen product ingredients come from seasonal harvests, meaning that some products are seasonal as well. This adds to the allure of aligning with nature to care for yourself and the anticipation of the next harvest season bringing wonderful things.

Check out the Sḵwálwen blog to see Leigh’s recent adventures on the land.