Q and A with Annie A., South Carolina
“Vulnerability is beautiful.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am interested in people. I love intense connections and people who overshare. I’ve also always been drawn towards the spiritual—and I’ve always been an artist. All of those things seemed to funnel me into launching Sweetgrass & Sage.
This year, as violent as it has been for all of us, has been a major catalyst for change for me. I found myself going through an amicable divorce with two sweet babies who I needed to be able to keep at home (both because I am high risk and because my son has special needs), a cross country move, and a 10 year gap in my work history. It was a make it work moment, absolutely. More than that, though, I am a helper, and I realized that I had the opportunity to help other women who are also trying to make it work. We rise by lifting others, and right now so many can use a lift. I believe that the work of women’s hands is it’s own kind of magic, and it is valuable.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and grew up in and around Orangeburg. I went to both public and private schools, my dad was a Methodist minister, my mom was an attorney. They’re both full-time grandparents now.
I was adopted at a day and a half old. I always knew it—my birth mother was a phenomenal woman and force of nature; I met her when I was 16. She was also a pagan, something which kind of spurred on my own quest for understanding, for lack of a better way to put it. I was an anxious child and have always found peace in nature and through working with my hands. I love the smell of sawdust; I think it takes me back to working on projects with my dad as a child.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: Don’t try to fit a mold that wasn’t made for you. Authenticity is contagious. Vulnerability is beautiful. Give yourself permission to be you, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Just be as kind as you can along the way.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: I come from a long line of feminists. My grandmother was quite an athlete. She had mostly brothers and thought that she could do anything they could do and refused to be told differently. My mother, her daughter, was the first female sports editor of a daily newspaper in South Carolina. She was the first woman in the Clemson Press Box and in Clemson basketball locker room, and remembers the then coach, Frank Howard, as saying, “They’ll let anybody up here now!” She went on to become an attorney. My aunt, Kate Salley Palmer, was one of only three syndicated political cartoonists in the nation—she worked for the Greenville News. Feminism, to me, means the freedom to follow your happy, however you find it. It means the ability to follow your authentic self, whoever you are. You love traditional gender roles? Excellent! You’re a woman welder? Rock on! My focus was on woodworking in college. Want to mix it up? You do you. Women are strong and capable. The badass in me recognizes the badass in you. Feminism means being able to do your thing and supporting other women doing theirs.
Q: What would you like others to know about Sweetgrass & Sage?
A: Sweetgrass & Sage Box has different business model from others because I find the traditional subscription box model to be a little predatory. Integrity is super important for me. I believe, whole heartedly, in the value of artisan quality work, and whereas most of the big name subscription boxes make the businesses pay to be in the box AND provide their product for free, I pay for the product, and my promotion of the woman-owned small businesses I work for is free. They get a little stimulus from box sales, and new people to try their product. The box recipients get a great deal on things they actually want, and each piece is intended to be something they can have as a tangible reminder of their own inner strength. I’m focused on people over profit, and the quality of each piece is top-notch. You’re not going to wind up with 400 jars of moisturizer you’ll never use.
Spring boxes will be fully customizable and tailored to you so that you only get what you want.
Thank you for reading!
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