Meet Lesley Saligoe- Deliver of Love Notes Stamped with Self-care. Ritual. Revolution.
The feeling of her crumbling down to ashes led her to solitude as she deeply connected to nature.
In the midst of her inner transformation, Lesley Saligoe formed a unique craft in natural self-care products while balancing an apprenticeship program to become a herbalist.
“During this time I drew from my personal experience to develop a mission for my brand. Self-Care. Ritual. Revolution. In caring for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually via simple personal ritual we are on the path to personal revolution,” said Saligoe.
The Reiki master describes her product as personal “love notes to other people”, setting a space for one to heal as they reconnect to mother earth.
During our interview, Saligoe opens up about clinical depression, the healing process of starting inward than outward, and importance of doing things to fortify yourself.
A: Please share more about your journey, how did it lead you to the creation of your brand? Your brand was actually born while completing your herbalist apprenticeship. Why did you want to become a herbalist, what inspirations or "ah-ha" moments you had through your process?
I was in deep transition and remember thinking, "I want to be a witch." Not a witch with a pointy hat and a broom but a wise woman who is in touch with her surroundings. I didn't know much about herbalism but said out loud to the universe I trusted divine timing and wisdom then let it go. Not too long after that, I met my mentor at a farmer's market.
I was so awestruck by her energy and knowledge. I took one of her pamphlets on her upcoming apprenticeship. I was so nervous but knew it was my answer. A few months later I began with her and a small group of 7 ladies. We learned together for a year. It fed me in so many ways.
I was able to be in commune with nature, myself, and my elders. It was a special, invaluable time for me. I have never felt the level of passion for learning I did (and still do) for anything until herbalism. The apprenticeship laid the foundation but the experience is what has made me a decent herbalist. (I am a baby herbalist compared to my teacher so I don't over-inflate my ego! I still have a lot to learn.) Making things every single day since I began has enriched my life incredibly. As I mentioned before, I'm an introvert. My products are my love notes to other people. They speak for me. I can help folks way better as a maker than I could in any other capacity.
Even as a Reiki healer and teacher. I take time off from doing that to retreat inside myself. I never have to do that as an herbalist and person who makes products. I can still be alone and offer something worthwhile to the world.
Q: As you know, it's important to take care of yourself before taking on the responsibility of taking care of others. 10% of all Lesley Saligoe Borainicals proceeds go towards those who are involved in activism/ resistance. Please share why it's our priority to take care of those who fight for social and political change. What is your process in selecting organizations you decide to work with?
A: It has been a work in progress deciding how and where to donate resources to. (And also figuring out how much I could truly donate as a very new business.) I've had to make changes in order to stay viable but currently, 10% of the proceeds from Mystery Self Care Sets go toward providing in some way for marginalized people. That varies from me actually giving away self-care products I make to sharing monetary resources to giving Reiki to someone who is traumatized.
I've opened up my studio as a safe space and it is constantly evolving, how my business is able to make a difference. I do what my heart leads me to do and it is as simple as that. I've bought tampons/pads and donated them. I've sent extracts and palo santo to folks who were in the thick of protesting. Since it's just me (as opposed to someone with partners or shareholders) I am able to make snap decisions who and how to help.
I think it is important to lift up folks who are struggling. We are living in tumultuous times. I want to just spread a bit of love and light but actually have something behind it. Not just well wishes or prayers (which are fine) but something tangible.
Q: In what point in your life did you realize practicing self-care is crucial?
A: I learned that self-care was crucial years ago when I had very small children. I was a single mom for a while and if I didn't take breaks to do things that fortified me I was no good for them. I have changed a lot over the past fifteen years so my ways of caring for myself have changed but the general premise has remained. We've got to put our oxygen masks on first. We've got to be full and recharged. If not, we do ourselves and those around us a disservice. We aren't able to share our very best selves.
Q: Let's talk about black mental health. In your words, why do you think our community is speaking out more on why black health matters?
A: I think we are becoming more honest as a people. It is refreshing to me to hear so many people come forward and share their experiences. I am super transparent on my personal social media (which birthed LSB) about my struggles with clinical depression. I am not embarrassed about it and I think it lets other people know they are okay, too. There is nothing to be ashamed of. The things black folks have had to deal with and still deal with?
It's almost too much to bear. We know it is wrong. Inequality is wrong. Racism is wrong. Sexism is wrong. Some of the ways we relate to one another is wrong. I think most of us have PTSD. We've been watching our people killed by the police replayed over and over for years... with no just resolution.
Our bodies, hearts, and minds are not in alignment with this mess so we feel bad. It is perfectly correct to feel this weight. It is an alarm to us. If we thought it was all good *that* would truly be an indicator of brokenness. We can't get better if we aren't in touch with ourselves first and foremost. We have to start there. Afterward, our family... community...the planet.
Q: I love how you mention your business continues to provide love and learning opportunities. With your experience in being a Reiki healer, how do you help others change their mindset to think it's possible to heal oneself? How often do you study to improve your brand?
A: I always remind people who are my Reiki clients or those who learn from me that I am only a channel. There can't be ego involved in healing. We heal ourselves with the help of the light and our ancestors. I can set the scene, help people relax, go with them on the path to healing, and hold space for them but I never take credit as the one who has given them healing.
Their willingness + the universe, God, the light- whatever they believe in is what gets the ball rolling. It's a process. It starts the day we heal together and keeps going until it has completed itself. As a Reiki Master I have already completed my formal training but each time I assist a person I learn more. Experience teaches and deepens my practice.
Q: How do you express your creativity and feminity?
A: I express my creativity by making new products. I do mini updates in my shop each month and add products that are often related to a theme. Whatever is bringing me joy or making me think in that time frame. One month I was so over the moon about the New Edition movie so I made products inspired by my favs.
Sometimes I'm reading Octavia Butler and everything is about space and sci-fi and Afrofuturism. It just varies. I love having the knowledge and opportunity to be able to create at will and share those creations.
Q: What does your creative process look like? How do you start developing your ingredients for each product? Who and what are your inspirations?
A: I'm inspired by so many different things! Films... like Moonlight, most recently. Music... Stevie Wonder, Prince, New Edition, Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane . People... Eartha Kit, Sade, Ru Paul. Afrofuturism... Octavia E. Butler, Sun Ra. Those are just some examples. I will write down my ideas then make mood boards. Photos with the colors and themes and people that inspire me. It can be an outer space image or a mermaid or deity.
There are no rules. I just pin what resonates. I listen to different things while creating. It varies from hour to hour. I listen to a lot of jazz. But then I also listen to a lot of chopped & screwed music! Sometimes things are way mellow and I have Deep Theta sounds playing. Others, it'll be Prince all day! lol I like working by myself because I can shift my surroundings to match my mood. I burn palo santo and sage and cedar. Sometimes I work early in the morning or at dusk because I like the light in my studio. I think about what I want each product to do for people.
The scent, the color, the properties. It's all a mood. Each one. I draw from my knowledge as an herbalist and that helps me decide which plants and oils and techniques to utilize. Some of the products I make are 100% natural while others are plant fortified. That just means they are preserved and have ingredients traditional bath & body products have in them to perhaps create big bubbles or vibrant colors. By expanding my product line I've been able to be more creative. There aren't boundaries and that's the way I like it.