Descanso resident Katie Taylor is opening a storefront for her Taylor Made in Descanso natural healing product line, atop the Descanso Florist shop where her homemade salves and other care products are currently sold.
Originally, she said, she rented the shop solely as a second workspace.
“I get big orders through Sharp (Community Media Group)for salves that need to be temperature controlled. They give them out to employees because everyone’s hands are so dry right now with more hand washing and sanitizing happening than ever before with COVID going on. Sometimes, it’s hundreds ordered at once so I’d have to go home, make it, drive back again… it was a lot of back and forth and I realized investing in a workshop would be easier. Then, I realized I could sell out of the location as well and I wasn’t really risking losing anything,” Taylor said.
Taylor, 41, said she was raised in a household that respected all-natural products and is currently studying to become a certified herbalist.
“I’m studying to be an herbalist so everything I make is all natural, comes from the earth. My mom is an aromatherapist but I went in a slightly different direction. Still, even if something is intended for topical use, everything I make is safe enough to eat,” Taylor said.
Becoming an herbalist, she said, requires certification following completion of her B.A. and a requisite number of practical work hours.
She compares the field with pharmacy work in which a practitioner cannot diagnose a condition but can treat people based on symptoms and personal health history.
Although she says she keeps herself stocked with products anyone can use, her favorite part of her business is having people come to her with specific problems and then concocting something to help them.
Eventually, she hopes to spend most of her time constructing personalized products for people on a one-to-one basis.
“I get a lot of people who come in with arthritis, that’s a really common one. Right now I’m working on putting something together for women with endometriosis. When I make stuff, I don’t just get the info and quickly turn it around in a day— I research it, come up with a specific formulary. It can take a month to get it right,” Taylor said.
She sometimes consults with advisors at Everglades University if she is second-guessing her work. She regularly consults with professionals because she mistrusts information found online where “anyone can put anything on the internet” and prefers to rely on research textbooks over the world wide web.
Her interest in research goes back to 1997, when her family’s dog fell ill and had her spleen removed.
“It was terrible, she was partially paralyzed but it was also interesting. I learned that cabbage, when you iron it, it brings out emollients and helps with swelling,” Taylor said, and she suspects that the experience, coupled with growing up in a selfdescribed “all-natural lifestyle” contributed to her business today.
She sticks to treating humans these days, although she has considered putting together products for pets and said the first thing will probably be salves for dry paws, given the desert air in East County. Although she said she has been working toward this path for over ten years, she considered it a side job for many years.
“I’ve always done this type of stuff but I worked at Lions, Tigers and Bears for a long time as well as other places and… I’m actually quite proud that I’ve been sober from alcoholism for three years now and when I became sober, I decided to put my whole heart into this,” Taylor said.
The official Taylor Made in Descanso grand opening, to be held on Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the new shop at 25077 Viejas Boulevard will include light refreshments and a raffle.