by Miranda Vega Rector of the CUJ
MISSION – When everything shut down in 2020, including day cares and schools, parents like Adrienne Berry and Christopher Sampson, parents of five, were put in a difficult situation – who watches the kids?
With not many options available, Berry chose to resign from her five year career as the Community Gardener of Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center to care for her children and juggle the duties of motherhood, hybrid school, summer camps and outdoor activities.
In a time where there were many unknowns and social distancing was in full effect, Berry needed a way to supplement their income. With the help of her long-time best friend Colleen Sanders, she took her years of gardening experience, passion for herbs and started Waterlilly Botanicals LLC. Sampson had also been a big support to her and encouraged her to follow her dreams.
By using a private garden, foraging herbs and plants based on the seasons, and also ordering high quality products in bulk, Waterlilly Botanicals LLC offers natural and safe skin care products, herbal preparations, holistic consultations, and workshops.
Berry, who is Navajo, lives on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and runs the majority of the business online through www.WaterlillyBotanicals.com, as well as through Facebook and Instagram. Sanders is more of a silent partner, who initially funded the business and contributes to creating and packaging the products which they both do in Dayton, Wash. in a certified kitchen every month.
“Through caring for young children to teenagers I have managed to get our business off the ground,” said Berry. “The kids are now supportive and love to help out where they can.”
Currently, Waterlilly Botanicals LLC offers anywhere from 10-14 different products, depending on the season, which includes moisturizers, body butters, lip balm, salve, ointments, tea blends, and elderberry syrup kits. They have products available in store at “A Piece of Pendleton” and “Temple Massage Therapy” and can also be found at the Pendleton Farmers Market through October.
“Sales had been going down so we decided to do our first farmers market and it was a success,” said Berry. “So we will continue doing that until October. Everything we make goes back into the business to help it grow bigger. Next year we are hoping to have our herbal farm so we don’t have to outsource as much.”
The herbal farm Berry is referring to is 2,352 square feet of land located outside of Gibbon, Ore. She is currently applying for a $5,000 grant in hopes to outfit the land with posts, fencing and compost. Waterlilly Botanicals is also in the running for an award through Pow Wow Pitch, an organization that provide platforms, programs and resources to support Indigenous entrepreneurs to start and grow thriving and sustainable businesses that make a difference, according to their website.
Pow Wow Pitch has an award for People’s Choice Voting where the community can show their support for Waterlilly Botanicals LLC by voting for them at https://forms.gle/WcGmYaPUFhvZnUCk9. Here she could win $500 and go straight to the finals competition where they would have the opportunity to win $25,0000.
“We are wanting to upscale our business and be more efficient at offering herbs to people,” said Berry. “The Pow Pitch will help with upscaling and the Mountain Rose Herbs grant will help us reach our goals faster.”