Perfume for the soul
Her grandmother would roast her own coffee, and make butter and ointments with beeswax and lard using lemon verbena, buchu, and other fynbos from the mountains, says Marcii Goosen, artist, creative director, curator, and owner of Wonderveld Apothecary.
“These smells, aromas and flavours, methods and ways influenced and inspired my creativity and form the foundation of all creative endeavors I embark on.”
She likes to work with raw materials - using her hands and feeling as if she is part of the process, explains Marcii.
“Surrounding myself with botany and staying close to the earth grounds my being and keeps me holistic in the way I think and operate."
This practice has stayed with her throughout her whole life - forming a basis for everything she does, transforming Marcii’s relationship with her body and health, as well as deepening her connection to nature.
“It is so true what they say - if you were exposed to nature and its ways at a very early age to explore for yourself, it changes you forever and influences your every decision onwards into adulthood and old age.”
Marcii has always dabbled in making her own scrubs and oils but only really got serious about formulating her homemade products when she fell pregnant with her first and only child. This was when she started questioning what she’ll be putting onto her baby’s skin.
“I have always known the harsh facts about the chemicals they put into almost all of these expensive skincare products and wanted to go all natural. However, I always found it hard to find completely 100% ethical and natural skincare products.”
Marcii decided to study to find out exactly “what is what and how to go about doing it” and completed a diploma in a natural skincare and herbalism course.
“It was absolutely fascinating and actually so obvious. I realised it possesses all the ingredients we need to be at our healthiest, our most balanced. This is my golden nugget.”
As an example and part of her course, Marcii says they learned that cleaning your face with pure raw honey, toning it with rose water, and moisturising with a good virgin olive oil is all your face actually needs.
“Isn’t that beautiful? No complicated, expensive, chemically pumped up routine - just all products from mother nature. Honey
from bees, rose water from roses, and olive oil from olives – that is actually all our skin, the largest organ, needs.”
Wonderveld Apothecary was born during the lockdown in 2020, says Marcii. She has always been making her own lotions, face oils, and concoctions, but after she was finally pregnant “with our first little miracle” at the age of 43, she seriously started looking at what she “puts in my body and on my skin”.
“I have always been inspired by Mother Nature, but once you pay very close attention and study some of the wonders of botany and the
powers locked within these raw organisms; you realize the magic.”
This is the driving force behind Wonderveld Apothecary, she explains.
Powder from dried beetroot to use as a lip and cheek rouge was one of the first products she made for herself and her friends when she was younger.
“I was very impressed by how beautiful and natural it was. The shades blended in with your natural tones and stayed on for so long! Once you start experimenting, the options and wonders are endless!”
While her baby daughter was growing in her belly, Marcii became incredibly aware that it makes sense that the way we care for our body - with simple nourishing - whole foods is exactly the way we should care for our skin as well.
“I wanted to take care of her skin, her cute, chubby cheeks, and her rolls the way I care for her naturally. And there is only one way I wanted to do that - naturally, healthy, and lovingly.”
After loads of reading, testing, and experimenting with DIY recipes and then doing several courses on formulating using only botanical ingredients, Wonderveld Apothecary was finally born. The desire of living a more conscious and authentic life has led to a very fulfilling journey of developing products and a brand that encompasses the values of permanency, quality, wholesomeness, and love, says Marcii.
“An overall sense of feeling wonderful because of the basic choices I have made - simple, natural, and ethical.”
The first product she made for Wonderveld Apothecary was the Antioxidant Rose Serum, which still is a best-seller with the formula unchanged. The serum is a two-phased formulation of vitamin and antioxidant-rich oils, essential oils, and rose water, so good “your face simply drinks it up”.
As a creative director by trade and having owned two creative design studios in Cape Town (one design orientated; the other concept, interior, and architecture-based), Marcii does all the designs relating to the products herself.
“My background gives me all the tools to design and build my own websites and design my own packaging. It is something I absolutely love.”
Her understanding and love for design runs deep in her veins and she can't imagine ever being able to distance herself from the design world.
Always busy with design projects, Marcci has just finished a cookbook and is starting on a new book for a friend.
For Wonderveld Apothecary, she loves to keep the design language very simple and pure. It must try too hard or be anything it is not, she explains.
“In this case, it (the products) are from an apothecary - it belongs with and in between a hundred other precious potions, destined by mother nature to do good.”
For her, the focus of the design is on getting the ingredients, routine, and message across clearly and simply.
The vessels used for the products are 100% reusable and she strives to keep the packaging as plastic-free as possible.
Sourcing ingredients was a “big thing” for her in the beginning, she admits.
“I was so afraid that I might not be able to get the raw materials locally, and it was obviously a massive deciding factor.”
Marcii was, however, pleasantly surprised - getting from the vessels to the raw beeswax to the essential oils locally or from bordering African countries. The fynbos she gets from her hometown Montagu, which has one of the most extensive local herb lore, and one of the biggest ancient remedies museums and libraries.
“I get my fynbos from the mission church and our farm in Montagu. All my other raw materials I source from Namibia and about 5% from bordering countries.”
She looks towards the seasons to lead the way in deciding on the range she wants to create. Then, from what nature provides, and what the body needs, Marcii starts designing.
“Some are staples, but the rest are mostly inspired by seasons and nature.”
An example is the Jacaranda range when the purple jacaranda blooms.
“I believe they are given to us because we need them at that time. We make hydrosol from the flowers and use them in jacaranda
flower toner and jacaranda hydrating cream.”
With her latest botanical range, Marcii wanted to “burn out the cobwebs of all the stuck and stagnation” - sharing some “good old muti from the mountains” so that people can celebrate wild botanicals and return to rituals. From the bath, massage, balm, and muti to the soak ritual.
Fynbos, the evergreen shrubland that clothes the heights and lowlands of the Montagu Mountains, is excellently adapted to fire, says Marcii. It burns rapidly and new growth rises from the ashes, shaped by fire.
She has been inspired by the primal essence of these herbal, spicy, smoldering ancient landscapes her entire life. Her love for nature and natural remedies of truth and existence is captured at the heart of this range, she explains.
“The mystical, medicinal, and often magical remedies come to life through our Botanica IV Fynbos Range. In Africa, we have a saying that if you find something good, you must pass it on. I wish to pass this wisdom and ritual on to you. May you find simple joy in caring for your body and returning to the ancient ways of enjoying the ritual of herbal and fynbos remedies!”
Nature possesses all the ingredients we need to be at our healthiest, our most balanced, natural, beautiful, and pure - forever her mantra.
Right now, her favourite product is the Botanica IV Bath & Body Oil with Lemon Verbana, taking her back to her childhood and the mountains. She’s a young, barefoot girl again, surrounded by "sewe-jaartjies”, a little stream, and, of course, her beloved Ouma Maria, helping her pick proteas.
“I love the bath ritual. It is just the most luxurious bath oil that transcends you into another world. This bath oil is like a perfume song for the soul - it takes me to my childhood.” - [email protected]; www.wonderveld.store