Categories: Podcast

Episode 4: At Home with Justine Kahn, Founder of Botnia

Episode 4: At Home with Justine Kahn, Founder of Botnia

Me and Justine in her garden/Photo by Conner Murphy

In this episode, we visit Justine Kahn at her home and micro-farm in Sausalito. Justine is a slow beauty expert and the founder of Botnia, a plant-based skincare line (think whole-food diet for the skin). She’s also the owner of Skin Remedy in San Francisco.

Justine’s mini-farm/Photo by Emily Murphy

A Visit With Justine Kahn At Her Home And Mini-Farm

Justine and I begin our conversation in the garden tour where we taka a tour of her mini-farm and hear about some of the many plants she uses in skin remedies, lotions, and hydrosols or flower waters. (Wait! A hydrosol? What’s that? Learn more about them by listening to the podcast.) These are plants that and are often both medicinal and fragrant, plus they make great kitchen and flower garden companions. Chamomile, roses, scented geranium, and calendula are front and center in our conversation, but there are many more.

I recorded my conversation with Justine at her home and mini-farm in the heart of Sausalito, California where we took a tour of her garden and made a simple calendula healing oil.

In the process of learning about Justine’s garden, we also hear about Justine’s unexpected journey into what has become her life’s work: Botnia!

It’s important to note that Justine didn’t plan to grow a mini-farm in the heart of Sausalito. She also didn’t set out to create a plant-based skincare line. These things grew from a nagging question: how to help people understand that what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our bodies.

Let’s hear how her story evolved. Plus, don’t miss the how-to for the calendula healing oil (recipe below).

Justine at home in her garden/Photo by Emily Murphy

Episode 4 With Justine Kahn

Justine and I recorded our conversation during a June heatwave. Temperatures soared well above 100 F! (Unusual for what is typically foggy Sausalito.) We also spent much of our time outside enjoying the many flowers in her garden. Because of this, you’ll hear all sorts of sounds humming along in the background: beetles buzzing, birds singing, cars passing, and more.

The Making of Justine’s Calendula Healing Oil

Justine’s Studio/Photo by Conner Murphy

Justine’s Studio/Photo by Conner Murphy

Justine Kahn in the Botnia Studio/Photo by Conner Murphy

Emily mashing up calendula while making healing oil/Photo by Conner Murphy

Justine’s Studio/Photo by Conner Murphy

Calendula Healing Oil Recipe

  • Gently press or grind dried calendula flowers in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.
  • Sterilize a clear glass jar with rubbing alcohol.
  • Fill your jar with flowers.
  • Next, pour jojoba oil over the flowers and fill up to the rim.
  • Tighten down the lid and cover the outside of the jar in aluminum foil to protect it from the sun and place the filled jar in a sunny, warm window.
  • Shake once or twice a day.
  • Strain off the flowers with cheesecloth or a similar loose weaved fabric and use the oil directly on your skin or add it to other recipes.
  • *Optional, place a small square of wax paper between the metal lid and the flower and oil mixture before tightening down the lid.

Some Of The Many, Medicinal Plants Growing In Justine’s Mini-Farm

Rose geranium/Photo by Emily Murphy

Chamomile/Photo by Emily Murphy

More chamomile!/Photo by Emily Murphy

Comfrey/Photo by Emily Murphy

Justine in the comfrey patch/Photo by Emily Murphy

Calendula lining the walkways/Photo by Emily Murphy

Justine describes calendula as a sun worshiper – can you see why?/Photo by Emily Murphy

Some of the many flowers growing in Justine’s mini-farm/Photo by Emily Murphy

More Photos From Our Day

Justine in the mini-farm/Photo by Emily Murphy

Sun tea with lemon verbena/Photo by Conner Murphy

Justine’s mini-farm/Photo by Emily Murphy

Chatting with Justine/Photo by Conner Murphy

Learn more about Justine on the Botnia website here and here.

Follow Justine on Instagram @botniaskincare.

Find Botnia here. You can also follow Botnia on Facebook here and on Pinterest here.

Find Skin Remedy here.

Special Thanks to Gilmour Garden & Watering

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of Gilmour Garden and Watering. Thank you, Gilmour, for your sponsorship! Don’t miss the promo code in the sidebar for a 20% discount on your next purchase.

Other podcast episodes you might enjoy:

Introducing… Emily Murphy with Grow What You Love!

A Visit to the Home & Studio of William Ryan Fritch

Episode 6: Cooking with Kevin Espiritu

Episode 3: A Visit to the Studio of William Ryan Fritch
Episode 5: The Inside Scoop With Epic Gardening Founder, Kevin Espiritu


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About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!