We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandy Searcy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandy, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I have ever read. Mantel paints the story of England during the reign of King Henry VIII and tells that story centered around one of King Henry’s closest advisor’s, Thomas Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell was a self made man, and according to Mantel’s account, he was a runaway from an abusive father lifted off the streets of Florence by a banker who recognized his shrewdness. By a unique series of events, he found his way into Henry VIII’s inner circle becoming one of King Henry’s most trusted advisors. Mantel weaves in the state of England at the time – a nation on the precipice of the Protestant Reform – and how Cromwell used law and religion to achieve the marriage annulment from Catherine of Aragon that King Henry so desperately desired. The story is subtle, rich, and inexplicably captivating. Mantel writes poetry with prose. The sweating sickness, which to this day remains undefined in its etiology, makes appearances frequently throughout the book and touches Cromwell personally, plucking loved ones from this world in the span of a day. Reading this tome made me wonder why we don’t use historical fiction more in K-12 education and even college level courses. Yes, I drudged through world history text on Henry VIII and the Protestant Reform, but Wolf Hall sparked my curiosity, compelling me to research this time frame in English history. Whereas I’d long since forgotten my world history, what I learned nearly a decade ago during a Wolf Hall inspired research session stuck. Wolf Hall is far from the only work of historical fiction that’s brought history to life for me, but it is the one that has impacted my view on life most. I pull from it often in daily life thinking of how Cromwell, or at least Mantel’s version of Cromwell, handled events in his life. Cromwell, a decided underdog, is someone I identify with. My upbringing wasn’t quite as humble as Cromwell’s, but it was humble all the same, and Cromwell didn’t let that or anything else stop him from achieving the impossible. What’s more, he created his own community under one roof taking a young ward under his wing to teach law, sheltering his wife’s sister’s family, and providing a home to his mother-in-law. An unlikely yet harmonious household indeed. As a solopreneur, you’re probably wondering why Wolf Hall rather than a business book has been most influential for me. Behind every small business is a person. I’m far from hiring my first employee, but the prospect of being an employer terrifies me. I wasn’t sure what a leader worth following looked like before reading Wolf Hall. I know it wasn’t Hilary Mantel’s intention, but in Wolf Hall, she offers an ideal of what things could be like in a small tightly woven business (Cromwell actually shared a roof with some of his apprentices), and she provides an example of a leader to emulate in the version of Thomas Cromwell portrayed in these pages.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’ve been dabbling in skincare for 12 years now making my own skincare products since 2008. Rain Organica is my official attempt to create a viable business using everything I’ve learned over the past decade plus. There’s no debate the skincare market is saturated. There’s also no debate that skincare is completely overwhelming for most women. That’s where Rain Organica steps in. Rather than creating a plethora of products where one thing does this and one does that, I’ve attempted to pack just as many active ingredients as will possibly work together nicely in a single product to help cut down on the number of products a girl needs to keep her skin looking great. And, I’ve made those products just as portable as possible because there are SO many of us out there who want to simplify our lives so we can spend more time doing the things we love. I’m an outdoor lover – you’ll find me gardening, hiking, biking, fishing, walking, or just sitting outside during daylight hours when I’m not working. Many of my friends also love to backpack or travel, and one of the things they’re always looking for is a great pack friendly skincare routine. I decided developing skincare that travels with you was how I should set Rain Organica apart from all the other brands out there. It wasn’t easy arriving at that decision. I’m a scientist not a business woman. I spent 2016-2018 developing amazing products for sale but hadn’t the first clue how to go about marketing my products online and the word ‘branding’ meant nothing to me. I spent nearly a year frustrated before seeking outside help finally realizing I needed guidance if there was any way I could create a viable business. I’ve spent nearly a year learning about brand development and really thinking about the products I should offer. If I had it to do over again, I would have sought a branding mentor back in the early days of development. Time spent thinking about the brand led me to a complete overhaul of the product line, and here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find once the brand launches in August 2020. Rain Organica offers a no rinse facial cleanser for backpacking women, a pocket size anti-oxidant spray that you can reapply with ease even when your hands are dirty, and a multi-functional facial lotion you can use day or night. All Rain Organica facial products are fragrance free – no synthetic fragrances, no essential oils, and no absolutes – just the smell of the ingredients themselves, and you can stick with the basics or choose an add-on product to customize your routine. If you’re looking for body care, Rain Organica offers two different bath soaks and a traditional fast absorbing body oil along with a roll-on oil that you can swipe across the backs of your hands or spread on elbows or knees without greasing up your palms – perfect for skiers and trekkers alike to combat chapped hands. Though essential oils are absent from the facial care products, these natural scents shine in the body care products. Rain Organica celebrates local regions with the use of essential oils to capture the energy of a place – like citrus and orange blossom to conjure the fragrance of the valleys near Ojai, California and a nearly indescribable blend of warm and bright essential oils to capture Ouray, Colorado in a bottle. There’s even a blend of lavender, chamomile, & cardamom. This blend is named Halcyon less so after Halcyon, California and more so because the fragrance evokes memories of halcyon days blissfully spent in your favorite places on earth. All Rain Organica products are vegan and all except one are nut oil free.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Vista Vista is small, but this town has a lot to offer. The Yellow Deli is the best of everything – amazing atmosphere, some of the nicest people on earth, and yes their food is good (sweet potato pound cake is scrumptious) – their smoothies are some of the best I’ve ever had, and I’m pretty sure there’s an addictive substance in the green drink. Everything about The Yellow Deli is unique. Hand-hewn doors, a spiral staircase, beautiful woodwork indoors, but I’ll be dining outside on their patio under the passion fruit vine trellis and among the potted plants – a haven just a block from Main Street. The Yellow Deli is open 24 hours from 12 pm on Sunday until 3 pm on Friday with select closures on holidays the group celebrates throughout the year. You can walk to URBN Pizza from The Yellow Deli. Just mention the name URBN Pizza, and I’m hungry. Grab a white pie with chicken, roasted red peppers, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and extra garlic. Wait for it at the bar with a glass of wine in hand or call ahead – wait times can be pretty long ’cause you can’t keep pizza this good a secret. Curbside Cafe is one of the best spots for breakfast. I love sitting out on the patio and people watching. Their huevos rancheros are good – like, the best I’ve ever had good – and since I ordered that the very first time I visited, I haven’t order anything else, which is why I haven’t tried the cinnamon roll yet (they’re famous for it). Tolin’s Tacos. Hands down, the best breakfast burrito (get the one with bacon) and California burrito you will find in California. I haven’t tried every breakfast burrito in the state, but I know perfection when I taste it. Tolin’s is tiny – there are spaces to sit, but I almost always grab a burrito to go. The couple that own the store are quick to pick up on returning new customers, which is enough to make anybody feel welcome. You’ll need to sit down when you eat one of Danny’s Donuts’ Apple Bettys. Yes, they’re delicious. Danny’s also makes a great breakfast bagel (jalapeno and egg with bacon or sausage). Danny’s serves their breakfast bagels with mayo, so if you want them to hold the mayo ask to substitute with cream cheese instead. Right next to Danny’s Donuts, Pepper Tree Frosty serves up some great malts and milkshakes. The fresh strawberry milkshake is my go to order. While you’re at Danny’s or Pepper Tree, stop by the flower shop right next to Danny’s Donuts. There’s always a great selection of fresh flowers at great prices. You can definitely walk the streets of downtown Vista as you visit all the restaurants above. I like to head over to Thibodo Park and Buena Vista Park to work off some calories. Thibodo is great if you play tennis or want a short nature walk. Buena Vista is awesome because it offers a longer trail with some diversity – eucalyptus groves and shaded creeks and open views of meadows. You can stop at Skybound Coffee + Dessert Lounge to pick up a cool beverage after your hike (I love their iced LaVa, a vanilla & lavender drink that I always order half-sweet). One of the best garden centers resides in rural Vista. Pearson’s Gardens & Herbs Farm offers unique varieties of plants and specializes in plants for culinary uses. The staff is knowledgeable, and the setting is beautiful with bleating goats nearby. Oceanside Oceanside’s Strand Beach is great to walk or drive along. For biking, the San Luis Rey River Trail offers just over 7 miles one way of paved, 2-lane biking along the San Luis Rey River. After you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Johnny Manana’s for literally anything on the menu and a cold beer. Before some new construction, Hello Betty was a great place to watch the sun set from their rooftop bar. Hello Betty still has some of the best cocktails in Oceanside and is worth the trip even without the sunset views. Walk along Oceanside Harbor to catch sea lions sunbathing and bright orange Garibaldi playing in the shallows or try stand up paddle boarding in the gentle waters of the harbor. Pacific Beach PB is my favorite walking beach. It’s also my favorite place to play in the water. The water is generally calmer here than in Carlsbad and warmer than in Oceanside, so it’s the perfect spot for body boarding. Kono’s is quite possibly my favorite place on earth for breakfast. Kono’s potatoes and french toast are must orders, and be sure to pick up a mocha or chai tea latte from Kono’s Coffee next door to Kono’s Cafe. Say hi to Mordecai the large brindled mastiff that hangs out at Kono’s Coffee. Walk all the way to Mission Beach and stop at The Beach House for cornhole or Jenga (or just watch other people play while you enjoy a margarita). Palomar Mountain The Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain is worth the trip. The drive is quite nice although there aren’t many spots to pull over and explore the scenery until you get up to the parking area leading to the telescope. The pines are different at that elevation than in the lower country here and the evergreen scent is intoxicating. Julian You can buy a Julian apple pie at most grocery stores in this area, but if you’re in Julian, you have to stop in for a slice at Julian Pie Company. Jeremy’s on the Hill has exceptional salads and burgers. Julian has so many funky little shops that are fun to browse. The Warm Hearth is my must stop store in Julian and there are plenty of shops to keep you occupied for the day if you love to browse or pair shopping with a hike (Cedar Creek Falls is on my bucket list) and a walk through the historic Julian Cemetery. Escondido Safari Park It’s expensive, but the Caravan Safari is worth it. You get to feed giraffes and rhinos, and if you’re into photography, you’ll get a great opportunity for some amazing shots without cages in the photos. While you’re there, be sure to check out the bird exhibit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people deserve credit for who I am today and what I have accomplished. My grandmother deserves special recognition for instilling a love of nature within me and teaching me environmental responsibility – both of these things planted the seeds for this business venture. Lela Barker, owner of Lucky Break Consulting is definitely due a round of applause. Lela helped guide me through branding, enabling me to find my voice and my niche within the crowded skincare market. And, lastly, I want to credit Nicole Swartz, founder of Sprout Law and Celestine Social for helping me navigate the legal waters of small business (and for having such an amazing podcast).
Nominate someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.