By: Rebecca LaPole
Violinist Liz Gaylor of Wasteland Hop took her love, inspiration, and education, and started a business while continuing to tour and record. “The balance between being a touring musician and business owner is made easier by the fact that none of it feels like work,” Liz said. “I absolutely love all of it. If you would have told me five years ago that all my time would be devoted to working with plants and playing music, well… it is a dream come true, to say the least.”
Liz is skilled in both her music and herbs. She is classically trained on viola, playing since she was eight years old, and studied in Southern Colorado to be a “certified clinical master herbalist” Liz said, “I actually finished my program and had my graduation ceremony the same week as my first practice with Wasteland Hop.”
Hip-hop with a violin inspires visions of the Flobots, who Wasteland Hop has opened for, but Liz’s style comes from a very different place. “My influences as a musician are definitely post-punk goth. I listened to Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie, Death in June, and the Pixies a lot as a younger person, and some current favorites are Sohn, iamamiwhoami, and Kishi Bashi. As a lover of electronic, synth-heavy sounds, I am amazed and greatly inspired by the sounds [Kishi Bashi] creates with his violin and a looping pedal.”
Quite inspiring herself, Liz explained how she began her journey to entrepreneurship after losing her job in late 2014: “I decided to pursue my love of working with plants and start my herbal business. I spent a few months in the summer of 2015 essentially homeless, living with friends, figuring out my product line and ‘beta-testing’ different products on very kind and generous friends and family. From September 2015 until February 2016, I was on the road with Wasteland Hop, which was where I first met and fell in love with the flower, the ‘Mountain Aven,’ that grows on the glacier fields in Alaska. I later learned it also grows here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado… It represents childlike joy, being free to be ourselves and releasing self-doubt and self-judgment, which really resonated with me and is why I named my business after it.”
As of March, Mountain Aven Herbal (not to be confused with Fort Collins’ Mountain Avenue) is a fully functioning self-care business. “I make herbal infused bath and body products to promote healing, relaxation and self-care,” Liz said, “including face oils, lotions, salves & balms, a dry shampoo, salt & sugar scrubs and bath bombs. I am fiercely Colorado proud in my business – almost all of my ingredients are organically grown and produced in Colorado, even including the sunflower seed carrier oil I use for my lotions and salves. Many of my products incorporate CBD’s derived from organically grown Colorado industrial hemp. Many of the other herbs and flowers I use come from friends’ farms and gardens, and many I gather and dry myself. The salt I use in my bath bombs are from ancient sea beds in Utah, so even the salt is as local as you can get!”
Support your local musician and business owner at the shows below, look for her bath bombs coming to Esscentuals soon, and a new store opening soon called Blue Flower will also carry her products.