Shop UO UO Blog

Studio Visit: Wild Rose Herbs and Willamina

We're looking to the Pacific Northwest for our latest UO Beauty studio visits, with a trip to two Oregon studios, Wild Rose and Willamina Modern Apothecary, both making natural apothecary products with an eye toward seasonality and locally-minded, high-quality ingredients.

A conversation with founder Willow Light on herbalism, starting your own business, and Portland's entrepreneurial support system. Photos by Michelle Cho

Tell us about the history of Willamina Modern Apothecary.
Willamina Mordern Apothecary (WMA) began from my love of herbal healing, plant medicine, aromatherapy medicine, and touch healing therapy. I lived on the Oregon coast on a 17-acre property, [which included a] forest for a backyard, animals, gardens, fruit trees, and wild herbal medicine. We didn't go to the doctor much, we used what we had on the land, really.

When I moved to Portland in 1990, I apprenticed with Joseph Montana, owner of Atlantis Rising… [and later apprenticed with] Grinning Goat Farms, two herbalists I loved instantly and began a three-year intensive with on the farm. I really learned how to make tinctures, cordials, infusions, teas, baths… I was in pure bliss!

In 1999, I went to work for Nordstrom as the lead esthetician of their Decléor Spa. I had access to more than 80 different skincare lines working in the cosmetic department. We had the opportunity to go to any cosmetic training that was offered at Nordstrom, so I went to all of them, and learned a great deal about ingredients, intention, branding, and integrity. It was eye opening.

I decided to go out on my own and offered my esthetic services and my years of study. I began to make my own medicinal herbal tinctures, infused honey, healing salves, and herbal baths for friends and family, then one day, I felt it was my duty to share my knowledge with others. I see WMA spreading the word of aromatherapy and herbal wellness. 

Can you tell us more about the ingredients you use?
It is extremely important to my brand and my integrity that all WMA ingredients are pure, unadulterated and consistent. When I apprenticed at Atlantis Rising, I made a very valuable connection [with] Liberty Naturals...[where] I get everything from beeswax to the best essential oils I can buy. 

What are your favorite products for summer?
I am crazy about WMA Sunkissed Skin Protector. It took me over three years to formulate it! It is purely plant-based with no toxins, parabens or carcinogens, [and is made from aloe vera oil, beeswax, shea butter and a blend of oils—coconut, carrot seed, red raspberry seed, and essential oils]. All of the ingredients on their own as plants have their own SPF built in to their DNA. I use it on my face during the summer as a daily moisturizer; it is very hydrating and illuminating without congesting the skin.

Tell us about your studio setup.
My husband is a craftsman builder and he helped me create my apothecary in our home so that I may work from home and be here for our two young children. I also have a healing touch and wellness studio in our home. I see clients in the evenings. Then, during the day, two-to-three days a week, I make product, ship product, and do the business piece as well. It is a true whirlwind, I love it. 

Tell us about working in Portland. What about the city inspires you and compels you to live and work there?
Portland, Oregon is a wealth of beauty, nourishment, and local companies producing hand-crafted creations to share with others. [There are so many] green, lush escapes right in the city. Portland folks are amazingly talented and creative entrepreneurs, making P-town the best city to live in. I feel like in Portland we are almost cheered on to go out and do something extraordinary.

Can you share some favorite places in Portland? What are your haunts? 
Le Bistro Montage: A local favorite with communal seating. They yell really loud when you order oyster shooters ("TWO OYSTER SHOOTERS!").

McMenamins - Kennedy School: Locally-sourced food, locally owned and operated business, and locally brewed beer. Kid friendly and they have a soaking pool with salt water. 

Lan Su Chinese Garden: The grounds are mystical and so very relaxing. [There's] a large pond in the middle, with koi fish, and a traditional Tea house offering our local Tao of Tea company.


Ashley Bessler from Wild Rose on how a childhood of bad-tasting supplements led to her own herbal apothecary line. Images provided by Wild Rose

Hello Ashley! Can you tell us a bit about the history of Wild Rose?

I learned the value of a DIY ethic at a young age. I was raised by a single mother of three and resourcefulness was key in our household. My mom gets credit for introducing me to herbalism. Teas, tinctures and bad-tasting supplements were always on hand, and colorful herb books filled our shelves. This, combined with my immersion in the local punk scene, made me crave the skills necessary to be totally self-reliant. Despite doing well in school, I skipped college and invested in a small library of books on everything from aromatherapy to homesteading.

At first, I didn’t intend to sell my creations. I made them as an alternative to store-bought synthetic products for myself, family and close friends. It wasn’t long before I was selling my herbal salves to the local health food store, funding my new-found hobby. I maintained a low-key presence at farmer's markets and craft fairs for the next four years, even while living off the grid in Northern California. When I found myself back in “the city,” I decided to take my most treasured recipes and reincarnate my products under the name Wild Rose.

Can you tell us more about the ingredients you use?
Wild Rose is my response to an economy where the ecological, political, and social costs of manufacturing are veiled. I spend much of my time tracking down raw materials, packaging, and even office supplies to their source. This minimizes or eliminates the social, environmental, and ethical footprint of my products by choosing sources that are non-GMO, sustainably harvested, organic, or fair trade. I grow many of the fresh botanicals needed for my recipes just outside my workshop.

Are there any seasonal ingredients you're excited to experiment with as we go into the summer season?
Right now our rose bushes are incredibly productive. We collect fresh blooms daily, leaving plenty for the bees and butterflies as well. The petals are dried and powdered for use in our Attunement Facial Mask and Bloom Muscle Rub. Calendula is another flower we grow heavily on the farm. These I tincture fresh for our handmade calendula extract, a vital ingredient for our face washes and Ink Balm Tattoo Ointment. Calendula is also dried for use in our Wild Man Aftershave and garden hand cream. Summer is also time for collecting fresh yarrow, rosemary, cayenne peppers, lavender and sage. Every year, we grow more of our own botanicals right on the land.

Tell us about your studio setup.
We're incredibly lucky to operate out of a 400-square-foot workshop on our two-acre homestead in the heart of Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. Most days I float between making products, computer work, and tending to the garden. I'm fortunate to have help from my mother and mother-in-law. The mom team helps me with packing orders, answering emails, and bulk bottling/labeling.

When I get the chance to make a new product, I generally look through my "personal stash" for inspiration. All of my products started as a custom recipe for myself or a loved one. I then do an immense amount of research to get the very best ingredients available. The specific formulation of a product could be called intuitive. I tend to know exactly how many drops or milliliters of an ingredient will give me the result I want. 

Tell us about working in Oregon. What brought you there and why do you stay?
Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley is a hotspot for alternative entrepreneurs. I gain my inspiration from those who have come before me—the formidable, independent herbal and beauty companies who started right here. Of course, I believe the main reason this area is so full of successful, alternative businesses is due to our beautiful surroundings. Southern Oregon, part of the Klamath-Siskiyou Region, is known as a climate “melting pot” as we see the confluence of four different bioregions: North Pacific Coast, Cascades, Great Basinm and California’s Central Valley. The people here are varied, but we all hold the same basic values: a focus on sustainability, a love of nature, and a desire to protect this critical bioregion for future generations.

What are some of your favorite Oregon spots? Can you divulge any secret swimming holes you love?
Grants Pass is a pretty small town (a population of about 33,000) and the largest in the county! You’ll be hard pressed to find a restaurant open past 9pm. And if you’re looking to shop downtown on a Sunday or Monday—forget it! Grants Pass runs on its own schedule; even the cops hold banker’s hours. Most locals find entertainment outdoors, especially on the Rogue River, which runs right through downtown Grants Pass.

This area holds the largest concentration of intact watersheds in the Pacific Northwest, which means we also hold the largest concentrations of secret swimming holes! I’ve lived in the region for seven years, and I feel like I’ve only begun to explore the endless rivers, streams, and lakes. One of my favorites is on the Illinois River about six miles up Illinois River Road out of Selma. It’s a steep hike down the canyon, but a gentle and deep swimming hole awaits with plenty of jumping rocks.

A few more miles up this road you’ll find the infamous Illinois River foot bridge where daring locals take a 60-foot plunge in the river. Another favorite spot is actually north of Grants Pass along the Umpqua River. If you take Highway 138 East out of Roseburg, you’ll be treated to one of the most scenic and easily-accesible drives through the Cascades. There’s more waterfalls than one can visit within a day, plus the most epic natural hot springs near Toketee Falls.

You Should Totally Be This For Halloween: A Loving Friend

When you become an adult, Halloween becomes less about ingesting dangerous amounts of candy and more about coming up with a super clever, funny, topical but ironic costume. The stress to outwit your friends can be paralyzing, so in college I decided rather than compete with my friends, I'd just dress up as one of them.  


This option works best if the person is well-loved and has an easily identifiable style. When I went as my friend Tim, which required only a flannel, jeans and a pair of New Balance, everybody still got it. You have to choose that type of person. The above photo shows me dressed as my friend Bob (left) with my friend Bob (right). Everyone in the world loves Bob, because he is the best, and everybody knows he wears big glasses and, often, a zip-up jacket. At the time, Bob worked at the Vans store, so I made a fake Vans name tag that said "Bob: Manager/Dreamboat." Let me tell you — the costume was a hit. Also, this works best if the person you're impersonating will be at the same party you're attending, otherwise it's kind of weird.

A disclaimer for any potential mean people out there: this is not about making fun of someone. It's not about wearing a trucker hat because "lame ass Jeff always wears a stupid trucker hat." It's about admiration, lighthearted fun and also being lazy about Halloween costumes. If the costume isn't somebody everybody will recognize and enjoy, it's borderline creepy. Okay, it's borderline creepy anyway, but in a cool way, I swear. Angelo

If you happen to have a friend who's exactly the same as Bob, here's how you can get the look:

Granger Readers

K-Way Claude Windbreaker Jacket

Vans Checkered Slip-On Sneaker

The Secret Language of Birthdays

The Secret Language of Birthdays will explode your brain. I first flipped through it after seeing it on the bookshelf of a kooky old lady (possibly a witch) at my old job. The book has a page for people born on each day of the year and the "personology profiles" are scary accurate. And not just cute, coincidental accurate like a Teen Vogue horoscope that happens to predict your new crush, but creepily, semi-troubling accurate. Plus, each day of the year has a cool name like "Day of the Cryptic Secret." 

After tripping on my own page, I started photocopying my friends' birthday pages and sending them to the friends, who were mostly like "Hey, don't read my page, I don't want you to know my inner secrets!" But it's not all bad - the book gives a positive meditation guide for every profile and ways to maximize the positives of your personality. If you can track this book down, check it out and share it with your friends and family and make them all depressed.

For an internet friendly run-down, you can also check out the Birthday Horoscope Tumblr that we visited a few weeks ago. Angelo

Interview: Tepsic Magazine

Tepsic Magazine is the large-format brainchild of Morgan Tepsic, who sends customized disposable cameras to artists and asks them to document their lives. The results are poster-sized spreads of a rarely seen perspective; a trip behind the scenes with musicians like recent cover subjects A$AP Rocky and Toro Y Moi. I spoke with Morgan about the simplicity of disposable cameras, making a DIY magazine and what's next for the mag. Angelo

When did you first realize you wanted to make magazines?
I don't think I ever realized that I wanted to make magazines, really. I just really wanted to share with people great pictures and art from artists that I really respected and liked. I guess magazines were really just the cheapest outlet for me to get stuff I liked out there. The first time I worked on a magazine was in 2009 when I contributed some weird art for a friend's zine. But I wanted to take a concept of a magazine and see how far I could take it.

What drew you to disposable cameras?
The most important thing to me was getting cameras out to as many artists as possible, and so that really left me with no other choice than disposable cameras. But then after I began decorating them for the artists, I really embraced the realness that disposable cameras capture. It can be spontaneously glamorous at times and capture the energy of the night really well, because people aren't afraid of being themselves with a dinky, funky looking camera around. The camera becomes a part of the party and knows that the next night everyone is gonna forget about the pics they took anyway. That's the beauty of it. A camera that's hidden in plain sight.

To me, the large format is nostalgic to when my room used to be plastered with posters and magazine covers. Is that a vibe you were going for? 
Exactly. I remember my brother having a stack of Transworld mags that went up like 5 feet, and I would just spend all day picking out my favorite pics from different issues. I never understood why music magazines were heavily focused on the opinion-side of things. If I had the choice to pay good money to spend on nothing but dope pictures or pages filled with opinions I may not agree with and corny interviews, I'm gonna want the pics every time. I'm doing the magazine for those people who dig looking at pictures.

How do you typically approach an artist you want to feature? How has the response been from musicians?
The approach has always been from the standpoint of a fan. Once the artist realizes that there is a mutual understanding of art in its many forms and how their contribution would be dope, then it's cake. The response has definitely changed since the first issue. I got ignored by a lot of artists that I ended up printing in future issues because THEY contacted me. Just goes to show being persistent pays off.

People like A$AP Rocky, Toro Y Moi, even Anthony Bourdain — those are huge gets. Do you feel like now nobody is out of your reach? Who's somebody huge you would love to feature in Tepsic, or can you give a hint at who might show up in the next issue or two?
Nobody is out of my reach. I may not get an artist immediately when I want to, but I usually find a way to eventually explain to their crew what I'm doing is something they need to be a part of. I'm never going to give out hints of who's in the next issue, but I will say that I would print an entire issue shot by Kanye if I ever got the chance. I need to get that on the record just in case he's out there shopping on UO or something.

The mag is almost entirely image based. Is that a direct refusal of text-heavy publications? Do you plan to feature more writing in the future or is Tepsic inherently an image driven project? 
I'm not going to say I'll never feature writing in the magazine, because at the end of the day it's a magazine created by the artists if an artist felt the need to express themselves using text, then I wouldn't be opposed to it. But as for now, I like to keep it with as many photos as possible without anything you don't need. I'm creating a personal commentary between the pictures the artists take and the readers of the magazine. 

What advice would you give to kids who want to make magazines but think it might be too hard or expensive?
If you're strapped for cash use a Xerox machine and do what you can. Letting loose of your creative side is the best thing you can do for your mind. Even if the project you're working on kinda sucks, it's still one step closer to another great idea/project/whatever. The first magazines I ever made were used making a simple word-processing app that was free, and if you don't have a computer then I'm wondering how you can read this right now.

Who are 3 artists you're especially digging right now?
Kanye, Drake, DJ Shadow 

Where do you see Tepsic in 3.66 years? 

I'm not gonna stop evolving and changing how I deliver the message of Tepsic. Times change, people change what they like, technology changes how we see things and I change my mind pretty much every 30 minutes. But if you stick around for the ride, I guarantee the journey is exciting to watch.

Grape God - A.G.E.

Portland rapper Grape God's first full-length album A.G.E. surfs the space time continuum between traditional West Coast crunk and metaphysical spoken word poetry. The physical copy of the album also comes with custom artisanal soap by Maak Soap Lab, which is pretty Portland for sure, but also necessary, because the beats are dirty. A.G.E. throws down on a spectrum of subject matter, from time travel to Big Lebowski references to the necessary blunts and brews. It's the perfect companion to an altered-substance Saturday. Angelo

Novosti: Love & Lashes

I've been listening to Novosti's Love & Lashes almost daily since I saw them perform the new album in its entirety last month. It's hard to pick just one song to share from the album because the tracks flow together cohesively, but "Gold" is the most pop influenced song on the disc and provides a nice uptick before the record's more somber descent. The album has been garnering Novosti increasing attention since its release and the Portland duo is currently planning a summer tour to bring their nuanced rock to the East Coast. Angelo

Music Festivals 2013

Music festivals are the best part of the weather getting warmer. Any excuse to not shower for three days and drink beer at 11 AM, amirite? While we all know the big festivals that go down every year (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza), there are also a gazillion (yes, gazillion) smaller ones that look like they're going to be just as amazing. I mean, if I were in Austin, I'd totally be front-row for everything going on at the Austin Psych Fest. We aren't able to list every single festival (there are 4,000 Jam Band festivals alone), but here are the best of the best. Even good ol' Kansas is getting in on the action, so there's something for everyone! —Katie

Austin Psych Fest
Austin, TX
April 26-28

Shaky Knees
Atlanta, GA
May 4 & 5

Sweetlife Festival
Columbia, MD
May 11

Bottle Rock Napa Valley
Napa Valley, CA
May 8-12

Boston Calling
Boston, MA
May 25 & 26

The Governor's Ball
June 7-9

Electric Forest
Rothbury, Michigan
June 27-30

Happy Valley, OR
August 2-4

Roots Picnic
Philadelphia, PA
June 1

Kansas City, KS
June 28 & 29

Sled Island
Calgary, AB, Canada
June 19-22

Selena Gomez and Sweetheart Sunglasses

Holla, Selena Gomez must’ve got the 300 Valentine’s Day cards I sent her. Why else would she be rocking these heart-shaped sunglasses? Aight, maybe this month’s Nylon covergirl isn’t smitten with me, just ahead of the game. But I’m still celebrating the fact that my celeb crush isn’t even creepy anymore because she’s totally like 20 now, basically runs around naked for two hours in Spring Breakers, and finally broke up with Bieber. Or did she? Whatever, starlet or not, we’ve got sweetheart sunglasses to keep you shaded from V-day through the summer. -Angelo

Dollhouse Sunglasses

Sweetheart Sunglasses

Melting Hearts Sunglasses

Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional

Natalie Portman solidified her legacy as a bad bitch somewhere around the time she shaved her head, and in doing so, inspired the name of one of my favorite Seattle bands: Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. But NP has been the real deal since her feature film debut in 1994’s Leon: The Professional, in which she played a 12-year-old girl taking up residence, and embarking on a journey of revenge, with the assassin Leon after seeing her family murdered. The film is a bit unsettling at times (I must be old if I feel compelled to note that) but it’s French so it’s totally okay. Get into it for the style rather than the gratuitous violence you’ll still be satisfied. With her signature choker, MA-1 bomber jacket, floral printed shorts and skirts, and ankle boots with scrunched socks, Natalie’s Leon look is just as legit in 2013 as it was in 94.—Angelo


Leon in his standard assassin-ing uniform: Scully, round glasses, and his apprentice's interpretation of the look.

Military vintage is always in and it doesn't get more classic than the bomber, which originated in the 1950s. 

This old lady is just dope. Check out that quilted jacket. 

Get the look:

MariaFrancescaPepe Studded Rope Necklace

BDG Quilted Bomber Jacket

BDG Erin High-Rise Denim Short - Printed

H By Hudson Buckle-Wrap Ankle Boot

Worn Wear

Patagonia is one of those rare brands that values the stories people live in their clothes more than the clothes themselves. Stemming from their decidedly un-corporate founder down to their minimal and functional clothes, the company focus has always been on adventure more than profit.

In that same vein, Patagonia recently launched Worn Wear, a companion to their already awesome Tumblr, this one devoted exclusively to sharing stories of well-loved Patagonia garments and the journeys they helped make possible. Be sure to follow for killer vintage outdoor pics, including some naked man-butt (y'know, if that's your thing,) and some insightful bits of outerwear history. -Angelo

Shop Patagonia

Alana Paterson

One of our favorite photographers, Alana Paterson, has been making big moves in the male-dominated world of skate and lifestyle photography, balancing understated personal projects with a growing and impressive client list that includes brands like Brixton and Lifetime Collective. She recently shared a preview of some upcoming work for Urban Outfitters on her Instagram and we couldn't be more stoked to be working with one of the most talented up and coming female photographers in the game. Stay tuned. -Angelo

Meet Angelo Spagnolo

Say hello to our newest contributor Angelo Spagnolo, a writer and photographer residing in Portland, Oregon. When he's not writing his weekly column for Four-Pins or consulting menswear brands, he can be found skating around the city, drinking cheap beer and hanging with his orange cat Waldo.  Watch out for his posts, coming to you in the very near future (or, you know, when he finds out how to work this thing).

Unknown Mortal Orchestra "So Good at Being in Trouble"

When I first heard of Unknown Mortal Orchestra in 2011 when they debuted with their self-titled record, I wasn't sure who they were—possibly another band from down under helping revive good old psychedelic rock? That is just what UMO (for short) is, and so much more. The band, now based in Portland, is made up of New Zealander Ruban Nielson, and two American lads, Jake Portrait and Greg Rogove, who are ready for round two with "So Good at Being in Trouble." This track definitely comes from the same vein as the groovy garage sound from their first record, almost reminding me of some smooth R&B. UMO's second record II, is out February 5 on Jagjaguwar. - Maddie

Dresses "Blew My Mind"

I'm in love with this super cute song "Blew My Mind" from Portland duo Dresses. Lead singer Timothy Heller's (yup, that's the girl) voice has me hooked. The song is available for free download now and their debut album drops in March.Hazel

Portlandia Season 3

Portlandia returns for its third season this Friday on IFC and I couldn't be more pumped. I was pretty into the first two seasons and was a happy camper to hear that it was coming back for more. Upcoming cameo's from the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Chloë Sevingy are promising, I wonder who else will show up? -Bob

The UO Nice List: Portlandia

We got through an entire interview with Fred Armisen and Carrie Browstein from Portlandia without once mentioning putting a bird on anything.  Find out what this comedy duo are doing during their bird-less holidays!

Please introduce yourself.
Fred: I am Fred Armisen.
Carrie: Hello, I'm Carrie Brownstein.

What do you love/loathe most about the holidays?
Fred: Chocolate (love).
Carrie: I love that strange stillness on the holidays. Once all of the bustle of shopping and anticipation comes to a halt, there is a wonderful, momentary quiet on Christmas morning or New Year's Day. It carries with it a very nice contemplative feeling. I loathe the crowds and long lines.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Fred: A homemade synthesizer.
Carrie: I appreciate any gesture and am fine with not exchanging gifts and just getting to be around people whom I love.

What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received?
Fred: All gifts are nice.
Carrie: There are no bad gifts though my father's continual attempts to buy me clothing borders on misguided.

If you could ask for anything this year (and money is no object) what would you ask for?
Fred: Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Carrie: To be able to touch my toes. A short cut in putting the duvet cover on the bed.

What is your favorite holiday tradition that you share with friends or family?
Fred: Eating chocolate.
Carrie: Taking a walk on Christmas day after opening presents.

What’s your favorite holiday snack or food?
Fred: Chocolate.
Carrie: All of the cookies and chocolate that make up the inevitable sugar binge count as my favorite.

Without looking it up, what are the ingredients in eggnog?
Fred: Cream and sugar.
Carrie: Eggs and sugar. If eggs aren't in eggnog then I really have some studying to do.

Any idea how you will spend New Year’s Eve this year?
Fred: Not yet.
Carrie: Probably in that mind frame wherein you keep wondering whether you made the right decision as to your New Year's Eve plans.

If you could be any character from a holiday movie, who would you be and why?
Fred: Jiro from Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I loved his commitment to making the best sushi in the world.
Carrie: Esther Smith from Meet Me in St. Louis.

If you could plant a New Year’s kiss on your dream crush, who would that be and why?
Fred: Cindy Sherman. She is the greatest.
Carrie: Joan Didion. I mean, just a kiss on the cheek or a polite kiss atop her hand. She is one of my favorite writers.

What was your proudest moment from this past year?
Fred: Playing music with Hugh Cornwell.
Carrie: Learning steadiness.

What are you looking forward to most about 2013?
Fred: Is it not 2013 yet? I have to reset my calendar. Mine totally says 2013. That's why I was so early for that flight!
Carrie: Everything.

Carrie and Fred's Wish Lists

Emergency Compliment

If websites could talk, Emergency Compliment would be the only one I would visit daily.  If you're feeling blue today, click the link above and get ready to hear about how great you are as many times as you can hit refresh. If you like the compliment enough, you can order a print of it at the bottom but clicking "Thanks! I feel better."-Ally

Open For Business

Get a head start on your holiday shopping right on Black Friday at Open For Business hosted at The Cleaners (1022 SW Stark St.) in Portland, part of the Ace Hotel. The three day pop-up (November 23 to 25) market brings together a handful of local vendors including but not limited to Official Mfg Co. and Draught Dry Goods. Check out the vendor list in full here. -Bob

Mr. Poler: An Interview with Benji Wagner

Meet Benji Wagner, co-founder and creative director of Poler Camping Stuff—a brand that's quickly becoming one of our favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Interview by Bob Myaing

Were you an outside kid growing up? 
Yeah, I was for sure. My parents didn't have television and my dad was always cycling, hiking or going camping. He is a photographer, so we were always going to National Parks and places like that. When I was a bit older, I got really into skateboarding and snowboarding and even though those aren't traditionally thought of as 'outdoors,' they are done outside and that always felt good.

What made you want to start your own company offering outdoor products?
I am a photographer and filmmaker and I had done a lot of work in skateboarding and snowboarding, and then as I got a bit older I was working for outdoor brands and cycling brands. I realized that I didn't feel that any brand out there was really speaking to young people the way I thought they should, so I set out to bring those worlds together and get people stoked on doing stuff outside whether it be camping, surfing or just having a picnic. 

Got any memorable trail encounters? Human, animal or otherwise? The Pacific Northwest is home to Bigfoot after all..
I had a rattlesnake strike at me once, but I was lucky and it just missed me! Something that really sticks with me is seeing moose battle while up in Alaska. I don't think most people know just how big a moose is. They are super-tall, gangly prehistoric looking creatures. They are so big and awesome when you see them in person.

What's your ideal perfect camp meal?
Man, that's a tough one. It really depends on the season. I always like fishing and then cooling something like fresh trout in the summer. In fall, I would go with a stew or chili of some kind in a big cast iron pot with apple crumble for dessert. I love eating good food in the woods. I can't really explain it, it's like smoking and drinking for some people I guess. Perfect combo.

Got any notable summits or thru-hikes under your belt? It's okay to brag, I'm asking.
I would say no. I'm not much of a real Alpinist. I have done some backpacking and pretty decent hikes, but I'm an amateur. I hiked up Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland with my dad once and that was super amazing even though it was just a day hike. Part of what I am trying to express with Poler Stuff is that it's just as fun and can be just as meaningful to camp on the beach or hike one mile as it is to summit Everest. It's all about intent and personal vantage.

What places are on your bucket list to visit?
I would go everywhere if I could, and I mean that. I have never made it to anywhere in South America. I went to Egypt but haven't made it to anywhere else in Africa. I would love to go to the Poles. 

Does your beard give you super outdoorsman powers?
No, it does help set the tone though, haha.

What would you say the Poler philosophy is?
Get outside and experience some camp vibes anyway you can. Get out from under your computer, your TV, your phone and do something that seems like a stretch. You won't regret diving in, even if you have difficulties, it will make your life more interesting and better for it.

Who are some people the the 'outdoor sports' realm who you admire?
Honestly, I have a thing where I really admire people that are non-competitive enthusiasts. I think it comes from being a skateboarder which is fundamentally not a sport but rather an art. It's rooted in individual determination and expression and can't be timed or judged. It's more like painting than it is like team sports.

Where do you turn when you need a dose of inspiration?
I love the internet and I'm not afraid to say it. If you are an inquisitive person it's a black hole of inspiration and wisdom—if you want it to be. It can also be the worst influence ever. It all comes back to your intent and how you use it. Beyond that I have three kids that are endlessly fascinating and inspirational. Kids speak truth and have no ego so that leads to all kinds of interesting stuff.

Shop Poler

Campfire Cologne

While my camping trip this past weekend left me a little worse for the wear (a case of mild pneumonia, tyvm), there's really nothing better than being out in the woods, wrapped up in a blanket around a campfire. So if you're stuck inside the office and start missing the smell of weekends past, Campfire Cologne has come up with the perfect solution for you—just strike a match, light a slice of wood, and waft yourself in smoke until you feel your insides smile. Damn, I wish there was a way to smell this through my computer. -Ally