Chic Spotlight: Thorne Naturals

Chic Spotlight: Thorne Naturals

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We chat with a recent UC grad who launched a slow fashion initiative inspired by both self care and caring about the planet.

Photo: @onlyshooterleft

Cincy Chic: What is Thorne Naturals?
Rikkie Elyse, Founder of Thorne Naturals: Thorne is a slow fashion initiative that seeks to be sustainable at every step from the start. Through natural fibers, mostly silk, and dyes from flowers, roots, trees, and even food scraps, every part of our process is non-harming to both the buyer and the planet. 

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Elyse: Every item that Thorne sells is inspired by both self care and caring about the planet. Sometimes self care gets viewed as selfish, but I believe caring about yourself is actually the best way to participate in environmentalism. You should care about how micro plastics and synthetic dyes harm your body just as much as they harm our oceans. When you refuse to participate in fast fashion, it is a protest in its own right. You are saying that you care enough about yourself to not allow companies to hurt your home, be it your body or your planet. If I can start a small company this way, then there’s no reason big fashion houses can’t do the same. 

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the business?
Elyse: I’m the one woman show behind Thorne. I graduated from UC this past spring and started the company while in my final semester. I’ve always struggled with my skin and am constantly trying to find products to combat my acne and dryness. While I was learning about all the benefits of silk for your skin and hair, I stumbled upon the art of plant dyeing and was entranced. I knew the combination was something everyone needed to know about, but all the products I was finding were so expensive I couldn’t afford anything! So I decided to make my own and realized I could make these items more affordable and share all the knowledge I was gaining with my own community. I made a post on the Clifton Nextdoor app sharing what I was doing and asking for donations, and before I knew it 10 of my neighbors were collecting items like onion skins and avocado pits for me! So while it’s just me and my kitchen dyeing the items, Thorne is actually a community project that wouldn’t be possible without the donations and help from so many of my neighbors here in Cincinnati. 

Cincy Chic: What makes Thorne Naturals unique?
Elyse: Thorne really cares about issues and isn’t afraid to take a stance and make it part of the business model. I’ve refused to compromise any part of the process from sourcing to shipping when it comes to my values. Whether it’s making sure my silk is tested and certified for no harmful substances, using eco friendly packaging including plant based plastics, or only using USPS to ship in order to support the post office. It’s only a bit of extra work and pays for itself knowing that my customers are helping not just me to keep going but our global community as well. 

Cincy Chic: What types of products can customers shop?
Elyse: Customers can still shop our sleep and summer collections online and our winter collection will be dropping very soon! Silk face masks are the most recent listed project and they’ve been a hit so far. UC just published a study suggesting that silk masks are actually better at protecting us than cotton masks, and are of course better for the environment than the disposable ones. Add some botanical dyes in and they really are a treat for your face and a great defense against the dreaded maskne. You can also request a commissioned piece from me, there’s no limits to what we can create together! Whether you want your wedding bouquet turned into a silk robe, a plant dyed set of sheets, or maybe an entire photo backdrop, please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your ideas! 

Cincy Chic: Do you have a store location or are you online only?
Elyse: Right now we are just online at thornenaturals.com where you can shop current products or request a commission piece. You can also find some items downtown on the retail shelves at Spruce Nails and Lunar Beauty Bar! I’m in talks with some local parks to hopefully start offering workshops once we are able to do so safely and I’d also like to start doing some of the local markets like Second Sunday where I’ll have lots of one of a kind thrifted items that I’ve dyed that I don’t typically list online. So keep an eye out for pop up events soon! 

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Elyse: We’re gearing up for colder weather and I’m so excited to share that we’ll be adding some warm and cozy plant dyed items like bamboo socks to the site! And once again hopefully workshops will be coming very soon where you’ll be able to learn how to make food waste and flower dyes and take your own silk scarf home with you that you dyed yourself. I think it would be great for groups to book as well (girl scouts hit me up!)

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Elyse: Right now the only social media Thorne is on is Instagram where I do live dyes, share unique projects, and any news going on in the company. On the website you can sign up for our newsletter which plans on launching in January and will be full of project ideas to commission, insights into certain dyes and fibers, and specials you won’t want to miss.