Antidote is growing up with grace! There is a plan.
Unbridled capitalism? Selling out? Truth? Authenticity? Exploitation? These questions led to the following introspection and produced the manifesto style oaths I present to you in the end.
Here I am conflicted. Sitting and fretting over the look of the new information packed labels for Antidote products, working on a press release with assets from a bonified photo shoot my friend, artist Masha Gvozdov, put together for me with a real photographer, Tal Schpantzer, and model, Olga M, it's super branding time, eek!
I’m faced, as I always am when onto something good professionally, with the fear of losing integrity, truth, greed and the potential for doing bad things under the arc of good. And maybe not a little scared that it’s just some fickle fear of success or some other psychological first world problem.
My personal mythology is western, 1990s raised, and still alive. Back then we cobbled our fledgling psyches together from the untouchable sanctity of Ian MacKaye of Fugazi (first Minor Threat, but my love is for Fugazi), the lessons of Kurt Cobain’s fame, the chaotic romanticism of Tarantino, the right to choose, isolationism, endangered everything, world hunger, disgust for Reaganomics & the first Bush, and the knowledge that the few civil rights citizens had won in recent decades would be a fleeting thing if the blasted conservatives reigned.
We had a lot of room. And anyone worth anything, obsessed about capitalism, selling out, and truth. I imagine our concerns back then grew out of the effects of MTV rather than the Internet.
By college time I fleshed out a Humphrey Bogart style approach to life. One where I could guiltlessly maintain the nobility in hedonism, rack up some big experience, wreak a little havoc, keep the infractions aimed at myself, and let it all be held up by an almost fanatical code of ethics.
The major tenets of this code were: the underdog is always the hero; don’t kill anything; war is always bad; organized religion is dangerous when organized; no racism or gross generalizations; socialism looks good on me; don’t eat meat; don’t talk shit; respect the earth; rules are more like guidelines for other people; weird is good; eff the man; and DON’T SELL OUT.
Well now I have to be sure that Antidote, this lovely thing I’m doing, stays the course and is aligned in no small way with the ethos that I formed long ago as a teenager and cultivated into my twenties. An ethos I vow to continue to agonize over and test until the day I die.
Antidote for me is a long arm view of what I want to be. I’m a writer in my mind, first and foremost. But I’m also a healer. Antidote is the answer to that healing instinct and how I want to contribute.
And here’s where it gets a little sticky.
My high hopes of rock n roll-hippy-witch doctorhood became a little more practical. Herbalism is the basis on which I stand, but to gain independence from working for others, I needed to apply that to skincare. Still about health. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies. My skin and that of my family is wracked with odd little ailments, many of which are exacerbated by chemical commercial gunk that we were using. That's how I got here.
If I cruelly and brutally strip it down, Antidote is a cosmetic company. Ethical, amazing, wonderful, healing, natural, handmade, PMA filled cosmetics, but cosmetics all the same. Ah, the frivolity of it all. And, I’ve named them after records and songs made by people that I like. (Crap, is using a Phil Collins album already tantamount to selling out? Or the Rollings Stones?) Is that exploitation? It definitely falls under the grand and always suspicious paradigm of marketing and the ever-present BRAND.
Well I still stand behind the fact that all the stuff that I make products from, and the inspiration I gain from my friends & family, and the music that I make it to, are really friggin cool. I think the talented artist, Ryder Robison, who drew my logo is amazing and so is the logo. The Antidote brand. And I’m cool with jumping on the natural handmade in Brooklyn trend, because that’s what it is. And if that’s a trend, whatever, I support it. All of these things that go into this project of mine are reflections of me and the stuff that I think is cool and it goes into the pride I take when making stuff for you. Sure, it’s pricier than I’d like for it to be, but that’s how much it costs man.
Yeah, I do want some super rad hotel to carry my stuff. And I want to get paid. Does that make me a sell out? Eff no. But it will put me and my lovely company under threat of softening the ethos that EVERY SINGLE THING WITH AN ANTIDOTE LABEL ON IT IS MADE BY HAND, NO CHEMICALS, NATURAL, AND NO HARM TO ANIMALS OR THE EARTH. Very soon I will have the help of someone else' hands making these lotions and potions, but from hands that I will hire at a fair wage and trust. As Antidote grows, I want to be sure that we maintain. Maintain it all.
Of course I want everyone to spend money on these products that I make and that are worth it. You’re worth it. I want everyone to be able to treat their bodies with respect, and use natural products on them. And I know that it can be prohibitively expensive.
So here’s my plan to keep it real. And to do the right thing.
1. My labels will never lie about the ingredients and they will always be organic when possible (some countries don’t have those regs in place, but I source from people practicing sustainable farming), there will NEVER be chemicals or unnatural preservatives, and everything will be made by hand.
2. I will never try to convince you to buy something from me that I don’t believe will make you feel better.
3. If you can’t afford my stuff, I will give you advice about how to make your own. You can do it. Things are super transparent here, and I will share with you.
4. Also, as I continue to learn about the magic of herbs, I will share that information with you. Via this blog.
5. And, I will help in any way that I can with research regarding possible use of healing herbs to make your life better and keep you healthy.
These are things I want to put into the Universe, along with my Antidote products and intentions.
I ain’t no sell out man! This is all real. And I love music, so it’s fitting that it goes into my process of making and naming these beautiful things for you.
That’s all I got for now.