Strata: A Collaboration Story

It was night and we were ready to retire,

with something spiced (a hot toddy!) by the fire.

Alas, the air was getting colder, dryer,

and we were shriveled up, wilted, and tired…

tired since our energy had abated,

and our skin was dehydrated

…and then we got inspired!

Skin care should be fun (or at least we think so). We spend a lot of time at Jivi finding ways to amuse ourselves and (hopefully) you, from the little poems we write, to the Warhol-inspired soup cans on our give-a-meal cards, to the ‘You don’t have to be a…’ series on Instagram. In fact, we have a couple of white boards dedicated to ridiculous ideas (Lady MacBacne has been sitting there for a while, just waiting for her big break).

Even though we work in a serious space, providing safe, natural skin care in an unregulated market, and helping people who don’t have regular access to nutritious meals, we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously. And a lot of our whimsy is inspired by the arts…whether it’s Shakespeare or Disney. So when we decided to create a moisturizer for the winter, we knew that art was going to be an important part of the process.

We also work a lot better, and have a lot more fun, when we’re throwing around ideas (usually with a bunch of bouncy balls), and discussing them, than when we go it alone. So collaborating with an artist to design a limited edition run was the best of both worlds.

When Meghan, one of our oldest friends, called to tell us she was coming down to Asheville, NC to show her work to some studios, we knew we had to drive out to see her. After a 4-hour road trip in a ‘96 Corolla blasting Hamilton, Meghan agreed to work with us, and Strata (from the name of Meghan’s studio) was born. Together we sniffed through several essential oil blends we had been working on, and chose the ones we liked the most. We also walked through Asheville, checking out the street art and galleries (and some breweries), looking for inspiration.

Back in her studio, Meghan started thinking about art she felt would work well with Jivi and Strata. In our lab in Apex, we had to find the right mix of essential oils to blend with the natural scents of our ingredients. We took our favorite blends from Asheville, and iterated, getting closer and closer to ginger cookies and peppermint bark by the fire.

We went up to New Haven a couple of weeks later, for some delicious pizza (mashed potato pie!)…and to visit Meghan. She walked us through some of her recent work, and showed us the monotypes she had chosen for Strata, from a series about identity and memories.

We spent the next few weeks working with Meghan to refine the scent and art for the label, and getting the right level of hydration for the dry winter wind. We wanted everything to be perfect before we launched Strata…we were not throwing away our shot!

The Scent

Strata, Latin for “layers,” and the name of Meghan’s studio, is designed to embody the season. This moisturizer has a super hydrating formula to combat winter drying while providing our signature algae-based sun protection. The scent layers spices, sweet orange, peppermint and pine to place you in front of the fire with a steaming cup of tea. Snow optional.

The Artist

Meghan Shah is an Indian-American artist based out of New Haven, Connecticut. She works primarily in monotypes, textiles, and relief work on paper, allowing the medium to guide her process. The print on the label was created during Meghan’s residency at the Chaap Foundation in India, and is part of a series titled Inside the Road. We thought it appropriate, for our first artist collaboration, to choose a piece that was produced in the same place that inspired Jivi (both the grandma and the company).

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