We had the good fortune of connecting with Apryl Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Apryl , what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The story of starting Plum Brilliance began as a child and evolved into what is has become today through a lifetime of experience. I found a way to connect with the natural world through daily ritual and self-care. Plum Brilliance was started with the desire to share that connection. Plum Brilliance is the story of a small girl. A feral child allowed to explore the idyllic rural setting of southern California. She was encouraged to climb through sage covered coyote trails. She became the queen of granite tables that filled with fairy pools in spring. She was transformed into a water sprite in creeks full of teeny tiny frogs and crawdads. Her loyal subjects were the faithful dogs that kept watch and her confidants, the plants. She would come home exhausted, dirty, scratched, scraped and drenched in the perfume of sagebrush but rarely “lonely”. Plum Brilliance is the story of a woman. A wife and the mother of three small children. A woman trying to keep up in a society that has no time for creeks, coyote trails and magic. Filled with an ache to return to the plants and earth that shaped her early years, she began crafting. She wove bits of pine with sweet wild rose into ethereal body oils. She layered juniper and sage into earthy, grounding soaps. She found when she anointed herself with these bits of alchemy she could connect back to the natural world regardless of where she was. Plum Brilliance is the story of you. Sage, juniper and pine speak. It is soft, it is subtle, but when you listen you can hear their voices. They speak of connection and belonging. We are drawn to nature and nature is drawn to us, the world is within us. Plum Brilliance is for you, wanting to connect with the coyote trails, the fairy pools and the creeks with teeny tiny frogs. Plum Brilliance is a state of being and a simple reminder of the deep wisdom you already possess.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Wildcrafting is defined as gathering (herbs, plants, and fungi) from the wild. It is the basis for my creativity and what I desire to communicate with the products that I craft. Wildcrafting for me, is more about connection than anything else, connection with the places I watch, and the stands I tend. Harvesting in an area that I have gratefully called home for all of my life has allowed me to deeply root and connect to the mountains filled with fir and cedar, foothills covered in aromatic sage and deserts brilliant with the shocking red blooms of ocotillo and bright yellow flowered chaparral. Familiarity with the cycles of the seasons, moons and plants offers a depth of appreciation for the uniqueness of each place I visit. The unique smells of each season provides the perfect guidance. Moving out of the intensity of summer into the shadowed subtleties of fall. The perfume of the last few rose petals wafting through the brisk morning air, signaling the rosehips arrival. The scent of the rotten apples, below the one feral tree indicating their peak has passed. One tiny wild strawberry, the very last, a delicate fragrant gift with a sweetness unlike any other. I am so grateful for these places, the spots where time doesn’t matter. Sitting on a granite slab under an ancient oak becomes the only priority. These moments are so healing and necessary on a deep, primal level. The chances to reconnect to my roots, my beginnings and to ultimately, my end. These are the places where my creativity flows, the ideas for new crafts to connect folks with these sacred plants and spaces.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Of course my favorite spots revolve around nature. I adore our wilderness areas and the bio-diversity that can be experienced in such close proximity. The desert floor of the Anza-Borrego, the alpine mountains of Cleveland National forest, and our glorious beaches! I love the integration of nature in urban settings, I never grow tired of wandering around Balboa Park. The San Diego Botanic Garden is another great spot that I would definitely take a visiting friend.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Perhaps it sounds a bit cliche but I have great love for my customers. They have influenced what my business has become with their support and enthusiasm. Prior to our current state of self-isolation I had the honor of meeting these good folks every week at the farmer’s market. It was always a weekend filled with hugs, laughter and genuine goodwill between humans. I have customers that have become dear friends, kind-hearted people that have humbled me with their generosity and compassion.