High Country: Meet Harmony Bowman, Aspen’s budding CBD beauty entrepreneur
As cannabidiol continues to take over every aspect of our personal wellness routines, our entire town — from infused coffee at Gorsuch to the soda case at Carl’s Pharmacy to a CBD massage at the spa — has embraced the trending cannabis compound, too.
And while mainstream luxury brands like Lord Jones are on the shelves at Cos Bar and fashion houses like Alice + Olivia are creating products of their own, the Roaring Fork Valley has yet to see a locally made line that, soon, will rival them all.
Introducing Blue Willow, which Aspenite Harmony Bowman launched earlier this year, but is only recently open for business online. The beautifully branded and bottled trio features a Body Balm ($68), Body Oil ($65) and Bath Soak ($48) — each infused with 150 milligrams of CBD oil derived from whole plant hemp that’s sourced from and processed at a sustainable farm outside of Denver. And unlike the majority of CBD companies currently on the market, Blue Willow conducts third-party lab-testing to ensure quality, potency and consistency.
All-natural beauty and activism are in Bowman’s blood — inherited from her herbalist mother and cannabis advocate father, both sources of inspiration for every batch she makes by hand.
“I’m the flower child daughter of liberal, hippie parents from Portland (Oregon). My mom, who we joking call ‘Mother Earth,’ makes legendary salves and lotions. My dad has been involved with NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) for decades,” shares Bowman. “I was never a huge (cannabis) smoker because I grew up as a competitive runner and still try to go on trail runs every day. Over time, I started learning about the real benefit of this plant for medical use through other applications and that’s where my passion began.”
After graduating from Tufts University, Bowman spent a year working for L’Oréal in Manhattan, but felt an unavoidable pull from the place she grew up skiing to take a belated gap year. While woking at The Little Nell, she met her now-husband, Dylan Bowman, who’s a professional ultrarunner and credits his wife’s new venture in helping him heal from a recent string of injuries.
They relocated together to Marin County, where she worked as a brand manager for the next six years for alcohol behemoth Constellation Brands, which notably invested $4 billion for a 38% stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth in 2018.
“I could have spent my entire career there,” Bowman says. “I got unbelievable experience in launching brands and love wine (Kim Crawford Wines was in her portfolio), but it just wasn’t my lifelong passion.”
In 2017, she was faced with a serious illness and was bedridden for months. While Bowman had been using cannabis topicals pre- and post-run for nearly a decade at that point, it was during her recovery that she found a new focus for treatment.
“Obviously I had always been open to alternative healing, but I was in so much pain the last thing I wanted to be doing was taking opiates, which is what the doctors kept pushing,” Bowman adds. “I wanted to detox my body and heal holistically, so started using CBD-rich salves everyday. It was the one thing that helped with my pain and to relax at night. The silver lining of getting sick was that it helped me put everything in perspective and realize, ‘OK, maybe this isn’t what you should do for the rest of your life. Why don’t you follow your passion and take a chance?’”
The Bowmans moved back to the mountains last summer and, a few months later, Blue Willow was born. Bowman started out by trying “almost every product out there” and was disheartened to learn that worlds like “natural” and “clean” often have no legal basis. She also found traces of chemicals and preservatives in the CBD products she was researching. So she took a page from her mother’s extensive plant diary (along with plenty of pro tips) and began making balms, oils and bath soaks of her own.
Now with her personal and professional backgrounds working together officially and harmoniously, Blue Willow is poised to make its way behind beauty counters in Aspen and beyond.
Bowman searched meticulously for the best non-toxic ingredients for Blue Willow, which combine pure botanicals known for healing properties with hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD oil. She handcrafts batches for her three products, all of which contain a heavenly signature scent from floral and woodsy notes, using:
Apricot Kernel Oil
Fine Sea Salt
Green Tea Oil
Himalayan Pink Salt
Hemp-Derived Full Spectrum CBD
Macadamia Nut Butter
Katie Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.