The DIY game is a hustle. Any local creative will tell you that between having to muscle your way into markets previously reserved for well-established corporate types and juggling the creative process with the drudgery of everyday business operations, if you’re looking to make your mark in this burgeoning maker’s market, it takes more than just a cute Etsy site to land at the top of DIY heap.
The hustle is real—just ask Megan Taber, owner of the modern-day beauty apothecary, Midnight Kin, in Placerville and creator of Among the Flowers, an all-natural, locally sourced, organic skincare line, formerly Fig + Moss, whose meteoric rise to the top of the local makers food chain involved a golden opportunity to partner with the internet mega-site Urban Outfitters while juggling life as a young mother and newlywed.
“Among the Flowers basically started as a hobby when I was pregnant and wanted to do everything completely natural and organic,” she explains. “I cleared out all of the toxins from my house and started making natural products for me and my family.”
Taber’s creative philosophy is deeply rooted in her love for her family. As a young wife, just married and looking to settle near her hometown of Placerville, she and her husband stumbled upon a 3-acre plot of land nestled between Camino and Pleasant Valley, instantly fell in love with its wild charm and began working the land—a passion both Tabers have pursued since their college days. It didn’t take long for Taber to extract from her new home its inherent ability to provide the resources for her new enterprise.
“This space had a perfect place for a garden with a creek running through it,” she explains. “We’ve always gardened and there were a lot of plants here already, but we’ve been adding to it ever since we moved here. We have huge lavender bushes that have been here and are established, so we harvest a lot of lavender [as well as] sage, cedar and roses.”
It didn’t take long for her natural products to begin taking up residence in local medicine cabinets and vanities around her hometown—friends would be gifted with some of Taber’s creations and soon they began asking her to create gift sets for them to bestow upon their loved ones. From there, well, let’s just say that after her products found their way into boutiques on the shores of New Jersey and the mountains of Colorado, Urban Outfitters came calling in 2016.
“I had a few stores that I was selling my stuff out of; we [were selling in] a store in New Jersey and a few other places,” Taber explains.
“That was huge for me at the time—they were boutiques, so [they weren’t] massive [retailers], but for a one-person business it was a big deal,” Taber says. “Then in the summer, after I had my second son, we were contacted by Urban Outfitters and they wanted to do an order, like an initial order, then they loved everything and were ready to place their holiday order in September.”
At that moment, Taber’s company soared into the upper echelon of the DIY stratosphere. No small feat for the young mother, wife and entrepreneur whose scientifically curated and preservative-free products were being forged out of the garage of her home with the help of a few last-minute hires and her incredibly supportive husband.
“We weren’t familiar with how orders work—they were like, ‘How much can you manufacture?’ We had to make over 8,000 soaps,” Taber explains. “Actually, it all worked out and we’ve just continued to grow since then.”
Although Taber is focused on the growth of her own enterprise, she is quick to say that she is still closely tied to the small community that helped her land on the DIY map—notably the organizers of Sacramento’s Maker’s Mart, Beth Pellegrini and Trisha Rhomberg. As she and her her fellow makers gear up for the R Street Block Party and Maker’s Mart on June 24, Taber is excited for the continued evolution of the maker’s revolution.
“They are amazing, and it’s such a complementary relationship because I feel that [what] they’re adding to Sacramento is something that I totally believe in and stand behind,” she says. “I’m so excited to see its growth. The selection of people they put together is so cool. I love that market. I’ve participated in other ones and I will always support the Maker’s Mart—it’s just the way Beth and Trisha support the makers, there’s no other market that supports the makers quite like they do. I hope more people get involved and are more aware of it. And the people who come through, it’s such a cool crowd. We’re honored to be a part of that every year, we’ll always go. It is a movement, and it’s powerful.”
Like the wild flora and fauna that blossom unfettered on the Taber property—the land that also provides many of the ingredients that coalesce into Taber’s luscious products—growth is a key theme in the budding entrepreneur’s life. From moving operations out of the garage and into the new work and studio space that Midnight Kin moved into just this past April to her increasing exposure to the masses who are looking for products that are sustainably made and toxin-free, yet luxurious both in the bottle and on the skin, Taber is also looking to include other, carefully curated, makers’ product lines into her own brick and mortar establishment.
“Midnight Kin represents a collective—a collection of made things we find from other makers, so we’re trying to support that too,” she explains.
Taber’s product ethos is simple; it permeates every pore and petal that her products meet: Among the Flowers delivers nontoxic, luxurious yet simple products made from ingredients that are completely natural, sustainable and provide the body’s largest organ—that’s the skin, by the way—vital nutrients that are free of fillers and preservatives. This ethos is echoed when you peruse the displays at Midnight Kin or cruise through the pages of the Among the Flowers website.
“I kind of had an aesthetic in mind—I wanted to keep the styling of the logo and the label pretty simple because a lot of the products, like the flowers and ingredients are really beautiful themselves so I wanted to keep the labels minimal so that it would highlight the ingredients rather than being crazy and taking away from the natural beauty,” she says. “Simple, clean, natural—that’s the style.”
While Taber is focused on expanding her growing business, she remains true to the small, homegrown approach that inspired her all-natural operation in the first place. From the preserved lavender and rose buds that adorn their gift kits, to the sumptuous body butters, velvety body oils and refreshing facial mists imbued with aromatherapies that not only refresh the skin but the spirit as well, Taber’s product line is basic in a good way: simple and pure.
“We still do use a lot of things from our garden, but we obviously have to source other ingredients elsewhere, but we are small batch, so everything is made in our studio on Main Street,” she says. “It’s just a natural, small-batch, sustainable little operation that we have going.”
Check out Among the Flowers’ line of products at Amongtheflowers.com, or visit Megan Taber at her storefront, Midnight Kin, at 464 Main St. in Placerville.
**This article first appeared in print on pages 20 – 21 of issue #242 (June 19 – July 3, 2017)**