First Curve Apothecary is a small local business in Chicago, Illinois that creates herbal products from our Earth. They create and sell herbal tinctures, mushroom extracts, and teas to promote well-being for our mind and body as well as the local ecosystems. First Curve acts as stewards of the Earth while also providing products for society to consume and better themselves by following the UN Sustainable Development Goals of (3) Good Health and Well-being, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, and (15) Protecting, Promoting, and Restoring Life on Land.
Loyola University Chicago
First Curve Apothecary focuses on working with the natural environment because that is when humans can feel connected with the world below our feet. Business owners and partners, Alex and Stef, handmake herbal tinctures, bitters, and teas from local and seasonal ingredients. Alex, the co-owner, is well versed in herbalism and currently training to become a certified clinical herbalist. With his knowledge, he creates herbal products that promote better health and well-being for consumers looking for natural remedies. One of his favorite products is Lion’s Mane extract, which is derived from the edible and medical mushroom Hericium Erinaceus. This extract promotes mental clarity, focus, and memory while also supporting immune function. The Lion’s Mane mushroom is from a local mushroom farmer. Staying local is of utmost importance to First Curve Apothecary because when you consume plants and fungi that live in the same environment as you, they support your body more deeply because of the shared environment. Consumers love this product and one review states, “Been using Lion’s Mane every morning and I can feel the difference in my ability to feel awake and productive”. By utilizing the resources that Earth provides, First Curve Apothecary is promoting better health and well-being to those seeking natural remedies.
The making of First Curve Apothecary didn’t just come out of the blue. Alex stated that early on in his college years, he had a very strong interest in sustainability, food systems, and organic products. Not only that, but Alex wondered how our food systems related to capitalism and consumption and the way we treat the earth and our severed connection to it. But it was not until after college that Alex started to study herbalism on his own. Alex has been a bartender for the past ten years and in those years he realized the huge overlap between alcohol and herbal medicine. Learning about the history of herbalism and alcohol piqued his interest and he delved into studying bioregional herbalism on his own. Last year, Alex and his partner Stef started First Curve Apothecary. Since then, they have been providing natural ingredients at the local level to support communities.
First Curve Apothecary is dedicated to being stewards of the Earth. This means that they support the plants and fungi that thrive in Chicago’s local ecosystems. In making First Curve’s natural products, they never deplete the Earth of its natural resources through acts of consumption and production. First Curve Apothecary is a very small business and they take only what they need from the land. Being responsible consumers means not degrading the land of the resources it provides us to maintain the overall health and biodiversity of local ecosystems.
First Curve Apothecary set its own definition for what it means to source locally. The company only sources ingredients within 300 miles and if there are other ingredients it desires for products, it sources from two small eco-conscious farms in Michigan. Sourcing one’s ingredients locally have a positive impact on the environment because it contributes less to greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, it requires less packaging, and it keeps money circulating in the community. First Curve already sources 75%-80% of its herbs within 300 miles and it has a goal to increase partnerships with farms in the Chicago area to stay local.
Harvesting seasonally is also a sustainable way in which First Curve runs its business. Alex and Stef harvest their desired ingredients when they are abundant and in season. Their herbal tinctures have a long shelf-life of up to 5 years or even longer. It is because of this that one can consume these ingredients year-round. Selling products that have a long shelf life contributes to running a sustainable business because little to no waste is produced.
Alex and Stef didn’t start First Curve Apothecary to make a huge profit because that was never their mission. They understand that herbs are not a necessary product for everyone. For people who want to feel a deeper connection to our Earth while also befitting from medical remedies, First Curve Apothecary is their shop. Alex was adamant in saying that he wants his products to be accessible to everyone interested. This means making the prices affordable for people who want to support local businesses and also consume ingredients that you can’t always find in a grocery store.
Once you are an activist for the environment you become a social activist as well. First Curve realizes just how interconnected our planet is and that means running a business that highlights ethical consumption and treatment of our most vulnerable communities, plants, and people alike. While running First Curve Apothecary for the past year, Alex and Stef do so in a completely ethical way while also promoting equity for all. Alex and Stef are equals and own the company together. “We want to leverage the systems in place and run the business equally, Alex stated in our interview. When running a sustainable business, it is important to advocate for all life forms that inhabit this Earth and First Curve has the heart, passion, and knowledge to do so.
Alex Williams, Co-Owner
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Chicago, IL, US
Business Website: https://firstcurveapothecary.com/
Year Founded: 2019
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
First Curve Apothecary is a small local business in Chicago, Illinois that creates herbal products from our Earth. They create and sell herbal tinctures, mushroom extracts, and teas to promote well-being for our mind and body as well as the local ecosystems. First Curve acts as stewards of the Earth while also providing products for society to consume and better themselves by contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals of (3) Good Health and Well-being, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, and (15) Protecting, Promoting, and Restoring Life on Land.