The art of wildcrafting (the practice of gathering native plants and botanicals for health and medicinal purposes) is a treasured tradition in the Appalachia. Nikki Chester, who recently opened her shop, Nourished By Nature on Henderson Street in downtown, fondly recalls learning the craft from her great-grandmother who grew up in nearby Yancey County. "It was what we did," she recalls. "When anyone was sick, we would call her and she would tell you what you needed." Nikki quickly took to wildcrafting and like a sponge, soaked up all her great-grandmother could teach her. She would spend hours reading and practicing to create the perfect formula for a salve or blend of tea--she had found her passion!
She began producing products such as soaps, balms, muscle rubs, salves, and custom blended loose leaf teas and herbs for retail about a year ago. Her first retail venture was a spot inside Earth and Soul. Sales were strong and it didn't take her long to figure out she wanted to expand to her own space where she could sell and develop new products. She has done projects with Brother Wolf in crafting holistic medicinal products for dogs and cats (available in her shop) that have been quite successful.
Nikki recruited her best friend of 22 years, Kala Fink, and they took the entrepreneurial leap signing the lease on the charming rock-facade building on Henderson Street. The space offers plenty of retail display with a large area in the back for production. Kala handles the marketing and shares in the day-to-day operations. "We finish each other's sentences," said Kala, "We work very well together."
Guests can enjoy a cup of tea, curl up on the couch and even visit for a spell. "My hope is that people will come gather, have tea, and just share their day with me," Nikki said. Along with the natural and organic loose leaf tea, there are canisters of locally sourced herbs-many hard to find in their natural state--chock full of benefits! There are herbs drying in the window, beautiful quartz and crystal specimens displayed, locally crafted jewelry, and heavenly-scented gift items for men, women, and pets!
Pricing is very reasonable and Nikki and Kala are excited to work with residents to help them find natural products to help improve their health and be affordable. Nourished By Nature is a welcome addition to the Chamber family and the community providing holistic and natural products to make us healthier and happier.
Check out their Ribbon Cutting Photos HERE
The store is located at 18 E. Henderson Street in downtown. They can be reached by phone at 828.803.3101 and find them on Facebook at nikkisnourishedbynature.