This is part of a series titled WOW, or Women Owned Wednesdays. Read more about the series and my goal to genuinely support other women in my personal and professional relationships.
As soon as I discovered Dani Kenney I knew I wanted to carry her gorgeous line in the shop. It was the packaging that caught my eye, and then I learned just how much heart and soul filled those beautiful bottles. Dani’s role as a mamma is what led her to create her brand, and it really is our go to for new mom’s or mom’s-to-be. I personally cannot live without her multi-purpose liquid soaps—they’re like a chic, modern Dr. Bronner’s and make the perfect hostess gift. I am so thrilled Dani agreed to be part of our W.O.W. Series, so grab yourself a matcha and learn a little bit about this ray of sunshine
The current state of the world has us feeling all the feels. How have you been handling this?
You know what, I’m not going to sugar coat it- this is sad, this sucks. I have a really hard time watching people suffer. There are so many people dying, people without health insurance, a world on the brink of financial collapse… I have the privilege to social distance, but not all do. I have the privilege to stock my fridge with good, healthy food, but not all do. I’m trying to cling to my optimism and all the glimmers of light in the universe right now. But in all honesty, it’s hard. We lost two legends in music last night… and on top of the tragedy of death on this kind of scale, this time is particularly triggering for anyone of us who has experienced loss of a loved one. I know what it’s like to grieve for a life cut too short, and today, I feel the grief of the world. Yesterday morning, I was okay. Anyone else feel like that? My emotions have been taking a journey throughout all of this. It’s day by day, right now, moment by moment.
I will say that one of the most healing things to my wellbeing has been the decision to stop reading the news. I still receive some information through social media, but I try to minimize anything alarmist if I can help it right now. I’ve never been someone who chooses ignorance, but there’s a certain point when it just becomes impossible for me to function (i.e., parent) if I read the news everyday. I feel very deeply, and it simultaneously breaks my heart and implants fear.
The staying home part, in contrast, is pretty easy for me, maybe because I’m a Taurus and I’ve made my home feel like a cozy nest… and our routine is much the same, minus losing preschool three days a week. We were already living in a new town, tucked in the country far from everyone we know, being a full time mom— and that in itself is already somewhat isolating, so the solitude of sheltering in place is not so new to us. Sometimes we get cabin fever, and we try to remedy this with walks. I will say that I feel a lot of gratitude for where we live right now and getting to hunker down amidst this magical place. Seeking little moments of joy and beauty are what get me through everyday. Ultimately I’m trying to feed my mind and body good things, and do good things for our communities.
I have heard such amazing things about Asheville. How has your time been there so far?
I actually live in a cozy little town just 25 minutes from downtown Asheville, and I love both so much. We are surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, trees, amazing restaurants, tons of creativity and respect for the community, land, people and planet. And I also know that circumstances can always change (like the current situation demonstrates) so I am just grateful for this moment right here, right now. My soul feels much more at home and at peace in this pace of life, than in a big city. People are driven here, but it’s not for the end result of huge fame or money— I think people here love to create businesses that make them happy so that they can enjoy life, which resonates with how I operate too. It doesn’t feel like a dog eat dog world here— it feels like everyone supports each other… and I love that.
What are you most looking forward to when this calms down?
Hugging every single person that I love. Family vacation together. A date night night. Letting my son get to play with other kids again. Moments of alone time. Concerts. A backyard dinner with everyone I love at a long table sounds like the most special thing in the world right now.
Anything you’ve been doing to ramp up your immunity?
Yes. And I know that not everyone has the ability to access some of these things— and I just have to say that even if you just add garlic to more of your cooking, this can do wonders for your health. Fresh garlic in everything I cook, fresh greens whenever I can get them— we're lucky to be in an area with abundant farms and produce here, so we get a farm box every week. There’s also a great family-owned local market in Black Mountain that delivers organic food to your door right now. I want to support as many local businesses as I can right now. I’m taking locally made tinctures of astragalus and mullein, then zinc, vitamin d and c and Paul Stamets’ medicinal mushrooms. (And always ask a doctor and/ or herbalist before adding new things to your routine, especially if pregnant or on meds, etc.) I’ve also been making big batches of my Boob Food tea because it’s also great as an overall health elixir to flood your system with vitamins and minerals. I try to eat beans once a day, because they pull toxins out of the body better than anything else and they are a diet staple of some of the longest living cultures of the world. But as my friend, who’s a clinical herbalist, says— stress and anxiety are the biggest threats to our immune system, so I’m also taking an anxiety tincture for good measure. My husband is still out there working everyday, which we are grateful for, but it is also the source of my anxiety.
What are some ways you de-stress?
Going outside into nature, for one. We have lots of woods and trails around our house, and we have a stream about a ten minute walk away. We take walks and get our feet into the water/ earth for some nice grounding. Meditation when I can squeeze even ten minutes in. I really do notice a shift when I sit quietly and silence the mind. I’m less likely to snap from stress. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, not being silent and reaching out to people and talking is so lovely right now. I’ve been chatting with my friends and family on video chat and social media, and it fills me up. I also love natural wine and good movies. I may think differently than most on this, but I grew up with lots of t.v. and films in our house, because my dad was in that industry. He would have guests over to watch movies three nights a week. I remember watching a Soderbergh film when I was probably six. Some people believe in sheltering kids from screens, but I feel like my siblings and I were exposed to a lot of interesting culture and different perspectives early on, because of it. And I think that it’s incredibly important for kids to see outside their world. So we watch a lot of movies here… And especially right now, they offer the gift of swift transportation into another realm. And for kids, like I said… an education on a different perspective.
Everyone at Welwythn adores your products. Will you tell us how Dani Kenney the brand came about?
Thank you! That really means so much. I conceived of my brand when I was pregnant with my son, and launched it about three months after he was born. I noticed that there was a lack of organic, chic options for mamas-to-be in the natural skincare department. I have a background in the holistic culinary arts (I attended Bauman College for Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Santa Cruz, California) and so I knew how to make emulsions and what ingredients are naturally good for you. I, of course, did more research into the crafting of skincare, and my father-in-law is a dermatologist, so he’s been a great resource. But it felt like a natural progression to me. I’ve always been extremely passionate about eating real food from the earth and for showing people how to do so. I used to be a personal chef in Los Angeles, and I also used to run a meal delivery company. I would see clients’ lives and health transform from eating cleaner food. And I knew it didn’t stop there— I became ever more fascinated with what you put on your skin, your biggest organ, as well. I’ve never been someone who creates goals (I know that’s totally taboo in today’s world), but I’ve always been someone who follows my nose and my heart where it takes me. If I get disinterested in something or the business side of it rubs me the wrong way, I stop doing it. If something continues to excite me or takes a new direction, I follow that. I even have some ideas brewing of how I want to expand Dani Kenney in new directions too. I still want to keep making my current products but there are some other ways I think I can be of service that excite my heart as well, so stay tuned!
What is your current skin routine?
My current skincare routine is always very simple. I use an oil to wash my face (I like Everyday Oil or Nucifera for this.) I rub the oil into my skin, I run a natural bamboo cloth under hot water and wipe away the oil, while trying to give my face a little steamy facial and open up my pores at the same time. Then I like to massage my La Rose Rouge serum into my skin, followed by my New Moon cream. In winter, New Moon does wonders for dry or dull skin. If I get a breakout, I will wash my face with a bar of soap, followed by witch hazel. I rinse my bamboo cloth in a little Mountain Soap or Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap, before hanging it up to dry.
If you could eat anything for breakfast what would it be?
I’m not a huge breakfast person. I make a pot of French pressed organic coffee every morning and have that with some oat milk. Later, I either eat a piece of this locally made gf seed bread with peanut butter or maybe a green smoothie.
What are you currently reading?
A Swedish mystery novel called Blackwater that takes place on a commune in 1970s Sweden... as well as The Overstory, a book about trees and humanity’s relationship to nature. Sometimes I read a couple of books at once, depending on the mood I’m in.
Last movie you watched?
Stealing Beauty. It’s been one of my favorite movies since it came out in the 90s, and I used to own the soundtrack on CD.
Beverage of choice?
Natural wine. We have a great natural wine shop in Asheville. I also love one cup of coffee in the morning, local spring water throughout the day and a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon.
This might sound like a cop out, but my son. His use of color is really cool and his abstract painting is absolutely the kind I would pay for.
Where is the last place you traveled to?
My husband’s mom lives in the Naples area of Florida, so I took Lars down there to visit in the beginning of March, right before everything changed drastically. These days with a toddler, we mostly travel to either Los Angeles (where I’m from and where my mom and most of my family lives) or to Maine, where my husband’s family is from. They have a camp on the lake with no electricity or internet, just little cabins, and it becomes our little respite from the craziness of the world. That has turned into our vacation. My husband and I both love traveling but it’s so much harder to do that as parents of a toddler right now. So we just travel to our families for the time being, and I can’t complain about that because we love them all so much.
What’s something you cook every week?
Pasta. And tacos. I love my big salads and greens and I cook with mostly clean, high quality ingredients. But I just love food so much and think its one of life’s great pleasures, so I indulge here and there as well. I’m about 90% plant based, but the other 10% includes things like burrata pizza or a local source of meat every so often.
Favorite way to exercise?
Brisk walking or dancing— though neither ends up being the one I do the most. Before this pandemic, I would run a couple of times a week and do yoga a couple times a week at the local YMCA. We also go on hikes a lot on the weekends. Currently I’m doing livestreams of The Class by Taryn Toomey and I’ve also been a member of Guru Jagat’s kundalini classes on Rama Tv for a couple of years now, I love her. Kundalini yoga has always been like magic for me since I first tried it almost fifteen years ago. I try to keep my son involved by letting him do workouts with me, but most of the time he ends up snacking on the mat next to me. :)
Dani’s Community Resources for Asheville and Black Mountain
- Mother Earth Food- farm box produce for pick up or delivery
- Halfmoon Market- natural foods and organic delivery
- Red Moon Herbs- local herbalist
- Milk Moon Herbs- local herbalist focusing on postpartum
- BAD Craft- locally made art, baked goods and craft beer.
- The Trailhead Cafe- Organic, local amazing food at great prices
- Crocodile Wine- lovely, all natural wine shop
- Cucina 24- our favorite restaurant (Italian!)- doing take out right now
- Playdate- conscious kids store
- Eastfork Pottery- a pottery store with a good back bone and good mission
- Everyday Oil- beautiful local body oil
- Asheville Fine Arts Theatre- showing the best in independent and art film (they’re even streaming online right now!)
- Black Mountain Montessori School- a lovely local conscious school