By Stacey Sheridan Staff Reporter
Oak Park mother-daughter duo Stephanie and Olivia Bird have created and launched an all-new line of body and haircare products. Featuring handmade, small-batch products, SRB Botanica uses quality ingredients and essential oils to nourish all skin types.
“The products are really personal,” said Stephanie Bird. “They have a lot of love in them.”
Outside of SRB Botanica, Bird is a painter, an author and an aromatherapist. She’s been making soaps and balms for years, with many of her recipes included in the books she’s written. While people were interested, she believed many of her readers never got around to actually making them.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t I make them and sell them?’ They’re things that are close to my heart,” she said.
Her daughter, Olivia, an actress and stuntwoman, began helping her mother make products as a child, so it felt only natural that the two would go into business together. Olivia’s stunt work inspired her to create a pain relief product for bumps and bruises.
Her favorite product is SRB’s healing balm, which her mother made every year to give as gifts for Christmas.
“My mom would make a batch for everyone in the family and we would just rub it all over ourselves,” said Olivia. “It would be all gone like a week later.”
SRB Botanica heavily features African aromatherapy, something Stephanie says few people know much about. They source their ingredients directly from Africa or communities within the African diaspora.
“We try to purposefully buy and highlight those materials because it’s important for herbalism and aromatherapy to incorporate and be inclusive of people of color,” she said.
“We’re very responsible about our sourcing, and we really want to champion things from Africa or the diaspora.”
SRB products contain a variety of natural ingredients, including shea and cocoa butters, eucalyptus, lavender, ylang-ylang and coconut oil. None of their products contain petroleum, artificial preservatives or dyes so as not to irritate sensitive skin or eczema. Their products can be purchased through their website. SRB Botanica also has an Instagram and Facebook page.
Stephanie and Olivia take safety very seriously when creating and packaging their products, which they do entirely in their own homes.
“We use extreme amounts of protective gear, not just when making soap,” said Olivia. “We wear face masks; we wear gloves, aprons.”
While they both develop and make the products, Olivia focuses more on the marketing and business side of the operation. Stephanie handles research and design. Whenever they need an extra pair of hands, they enlist the help of other family members, including Olivia’s brother Liam.
Although mother and daughter have always been close, working together has added a new component to their relationship. Stephanie loves imparting what she has learned and the recipes she has created with her children.
“At my age, I feel ready to transfer a lot of this knowledge that I have,” she said. “I’m so glad my daughter and son would like to be on the receiving end of that so maybe they will pass it on to their children.”