Mimosa Botanicals, Castlemaine

Interview by Catherine Atkinson
Photography by Tara Moore

Christian Jackson loved collecting soaps and enjoyed long baths as a young girl. After many years pursuing a career in the arts and treading the globe, she rekindled her passion for the healing and relaxing properties of essential oils and bathing and founded her flourishing Mimosa Botanicals business at the Mill in Castlemaine.

You grew up in Halls Gap in The Grampians. What is your happiest memory of that time in your life?

I have a lot of happy memories growing up there, so it’s hard to pick just one, but one of my favourite things was walking home from town after having a great day with my friends - we lived about one kilometre from the main street - at dusk, walking up the dirt road, entering our bush block from the street below and seeing the lights on in the house, knowing that I was just in time for dinner with my mum, dad, and my brothers. It is a very comforting memory!

Your love of bathing and soap collecting began early. What attracted you to bathing accoutrements?

I think it was having access to such cute soaps at the local newsagent/gift shop that sparked the collection. There wasn’t much else, except maybe Dolly magazine! [Laughs]

I do have memories as a kid having baths, in the bottom of the shower, and I think again they are associated with comfort.

You danced in the Australian Irish Dance Company for many years. Do you still Irish dance?

I did! And loved it! I miss my weekly catch up with my dancing mates from that time. I no longer do Irish but am doing tap with Miss Evie in Guildford, so still dancing, always dancing! I think hip hop might be next! (Laughs)

You have travelled extensively. How has it influenced your life?

I lived in Ireland and Scotland, tapping into my ancestral roots. Living overseas changed my life completely, as before then I was just going about my day to day routine, waiting for something exciting to happen! When I decided to make that change myself, my world opened up to a world of freedom, new experiences and profound change.

I was living in Edinburgh when I started to make balms and perfumes for friends, and it is where I decided that I would come home and study Aromatherapy.

Your first product was a French Lavender and Oat Milk bath soak. What is your process of finding the right combination of scents that work together?

Lots of playing around, having baths, trial and error, wearing a blend and having more baths!! (Laughs)

Are you always thinking of new combinations?

Yes, constantly! I get inspired by so many things, nature the most though. I am a bit of an outdoor person so you’ll find me in the bush smelling and foraging a fair bit!

Christiana Jackson working at Mimosa Botanticals, Castlemaine.
Mimosa Botanticals business card and small wooden serving spoons.
Product display at Mimosa Botanticals
alt="Bowl of bath salts at Mimosa Botanticals."

Have you always used organic products? Are your products vegan-friendly?

I try to use as many organic ingredients, or if not organic, then Australian ingredients as I can!

It’s important for me to use quality ingredients, and local too. I have been getting local roses, lavender flowers and elderberries to use in my soaks.

Mimosa Botanicals is not 100% vegan, no. My Australian Mandarin and Vanilla Bean contains coconut cream which has a milk protein added. All my other products are vegan though.

Sadly, I am not the best sleeper. What would be a great bath soak for someone suffering from insomnia?

The French Lavender and Oat Milk is a good place to start. I also make a little therapy roller oil called 'Slumber' that can be used at night to assist with a good night’s sleep. I first made it for my mum and she loved it so much that I thought I would share it with others. I’ve had some amazing feedback from customers who use it.

Who has been your biggest support so far on your journey with Mimosa Botanicals?

I am very fortunate to have a very supportive husband who backs me up 100%! My immediate family, friends and the peeps of Castlemaine have all been full-on amazing in supporting this venture of mine. I am totally blessed.

You have many stockists throughout Australia sharing your beautiful products. What do you have planned for the rest of 2019 for Mimosa Botanicals?

I am doing my first trade fair this August in Melbourne, "The Big Design Trade", so hopefully a few more stockists will come on board, including some in New Zealand. I am also heading interstate to do a couple of big design markets this year: Bower Bird in Adelaide and Handmade Canberra. I have also started creating signature bath blends for B 'n' B’s and day spas, so I would like to expand on that!

When I decided to make that change myself my world opened up to a world of freedom, new experiences and profound change.

What are your favourite essential oils and why?

That’s a really hard question as I do love so many oils but, if I had to choose, maybe for my top three I’d say:

One - lavender: for its simplicity, calming scent and myriad of versatile therapeutic uses, from sleep to burns to skin itchiness and headaches, to name a few.

Two - sandalwood. This oil is so grounding. I love to wear sandalwood on its own as a perfume, it makes me feel level and feminine.

Three - rose. Pure gold in a bottle! The best oil, in my opinion, for any matters concerning the heart and a powerful one for women!

What inspired you to start your Mimosa Botanicals brand?

My friend Michelle from Sow 'n' Sow inspired me to use my knowledge and skills and apply them to a small brand. I was working for her at the time when I started formulating and coming up with ideas for Mimosa Botanicals. I learned a lot from her, like the day to day running of a business, particularly wholesale and branding. She was a great sounding board, and still is to this day.

Can you offer any words of advice to someone wanting to start their own business?

Just do it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and reach out to the people you admire, even if you haven’t met them in person. I’ve found that most people are happy to share their knowledge and be supportive.

How has moving your workspace from your home to The Mill changed or improved your working day?

It’s been great to have the separation from work and home life. I also feel that I am a lot more proactive in the workspace. It’s also great to have the physical space to expand.

What would your ideal creative space look like?

An old chemist with original wooden cabinetry, old bottles, beakers, mortar and pestles and lots of plants around me, and with plenty of sunshine streaming in.

Essential oils mix

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?

I love going on bush walks, reading and dancing of course! (Laughs)

When you are creating do you listen to music? What artists are on your playlist?

I do listen to music when working. I love singer-songwriters like SYML, Damien Rice, Fleurie, Dean Lewis, Matt Corby, Angus and Julia Stone. When I feel like something more energizing I put on Peking Duck or old school Faithless!

What inspired you to move to Castlemaine?

Fresh air, cheaper rent plus more scope to getting into the housing market. Also the number of great things happening, not only in Castlemaine, but this whole region, It’s a beautiful part of the world to live in!

What would you recommend people see and do while visiting Castlemaine?

Work your way around the amazing cafés for starters. First off, head to Saffs for a hearty breakfast, grab some morning pastries and coffee from Johnny Bakers and then head to the botanical gardens and sit in the sunshine. Then a delicious soup at The Dove for lunch, afternoon cake from Fig and dinner at the Red Hill Hotel in Chewton, then drinks at The Taproom.

Interspersed with all that eating, go for a walk in the Chewton bushlands. You’ll stumble across many a ruin from the gold mining era. My favorite is The Welsh Village. Then head to the nearby reserve and have a sit or a swim in warmer weather!

My family and I also love to walk the Goldfields track. My favorite section is from Specimen Gully Road, running up the side of Mt Alexander - the view from Lang’s Lookout is amazing! If you walk a bit further you come to Dog Rocks. It’s a great spot to climb among boulders.

Do you ever miss your city life or have you always been a country girl at heart?

I don’t miss it at all, no! I grew up in the bush so this is where I feel most comfortable. Saying that I do love some time in the city now and again but feel a big sigh of relief when I leave it again.

Flowers at Mimosa Botanicals, Castlemaine
Christiana with bath salts at Mimosa Botanicals, Castlemaine
Product display at Mimosa Botanicals, Castlemaine

Where would we find you on a Sunday morning?

I have a six-year-old so any kind of sleep in is a distant memory! He is quite happy though to watch a movie first up so back to bed I go with a book and a pot of tea for an hour or so!

Favourite country you have ever visited and why?

Another hard one to answer as every country I have visited has been wonderful in its way but I’ll pick Italy for the history, food and sense of freedom and contentment I felt whilst traveling around. Plus, the pizza!

Which destination do you hope to visit one day?

Provence in the South of France so I can walk amongst the lavender fields.

What should every home have?

People to share it with.

If you could invite three people to dinner, living or not, who would they be and why?

My husband, my friend Lisa and comedian Michael McIntyre. We could order takeaway, he could tell us stories and we could just sit there pissing ourselves laughing all night!