To tell you my story is going to be a process…
There are a lot of layers to how this business was born, so I’ll try to stick to the important stuff for the sake of the story. Although Process Apothecary started with a coffee scrub, a deployment and grief, the idea behind that scrub stemmed from three generations of beauty professionals, a brilliant chemist for a grandfather, creative entrepreneurial parents, life experience, trial and error, and of course, a love for self care.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the process of self care. It was something my mom instilled in my sister and I from a young age. Facials were a favorite for girls’ night in our house. We would put on our cozy bathrobes, headband towels and lay down in my mom’s lap while she massaged our faces with luxurious cleansers, masks and moisturizers, creating the ultimate relaxing experience. As much fun as the brightly colored, cotton candy smelling, glitter filled products seemed, thanks to my chemist grandfather educating us about what is actually in most products, my mom was ahead of the curve when it came to choosing cleaner products at home and in her salon.
This really stuck with me and pushed me to lean towards a more natural, clean lifestyle. But with a lack of options on the market for clean (and I mean really clean) body products, I decided to start making my own. That’s when my coffee and coconut exfoliating scrub was born…well, the first version of it anyway.
For a long time, I made this just for me. But when I started sharing it with my friends and they wanted to pay me for more, I thought I might have something I could expand on. Before I knew it I was learning about candle making, making lists of all the products I wanted to create and trying to figure out how to go about starting this kind of small business…spoiler alert, I’m still figuring it out. I spent months trying different formulas for scrubs and candles, turning family and friends into guinea pigs and exploring sustainable packaging options. All these things are still happening as I continue to expand my store.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I set this business into motion, my world was turned upside down. My dad passed away suddenly. On top of that, my husband was on the other side of the world, only a couple months into a deployment, and I was far away from my family. It was tough to say the least, but I used this business to keep me going. I can remember the moment I came up with the name “Process Apothecary,” and I’d feel like I’m being dishonest if I didn’t disclose that it was partially inspired by Schitt's Creek, my favorite show at the time (maybe even of all time). Having a store like Rose Apothecary one day is my dream!
During that time of my life, prioritizing self care was really important for me. So one day while trying to slow down to give myself space to feel the feels, I was reflecting on everything that had been going on in my life, zeroing in on the roller coaster of grief. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. The twists and turns can really make your head spin at times. Then it hit me. Grief is a process, and my medicine has been pouring myself into this business. You see, my dad was a creative, talented carpenter, and when he passed it felt like he had left his creative energy with me. He may not have been a chandler, or had much interest in beauty products, but I know he would have been proud that I was creating something I was passionate about and every detail I was taking into consideration. Hopefully someday soon you’ll see how his woodworking also rubbed off on me (a story for another time). With Process Apothecary, I found a way to honor and remember him, process my grief and heal. But my process doesn't end there, because if there is one thing life has taught me, it is that we are always experiencing, learning, growing and processing.
My hope is that whether you're winding down after a long day, getting cozy in your home, creating a tranquil place to work, motivating yourself to get things done, or on a journey of healing, my products can help to ignite your process.
-Nicole McGhee Maker Owner & Operator