Editors Note - Starting March 1st 2018 Molly Muriel will be known as Milwaukie Mercantile: Home of Molly Muriel Wholesale. The name change is an attempt to separate the retail and wholesale portions of the business.
During the summer I harvest Calendula flowers from my garden. Known for it's skin healing properties and warming qualities of the sun it's one of my favorite herbs to use in creams and salves. When my supply is low I make a special trip to Molly Muriel. Located in charming downtown Milwaukie (7 miles south of Portland, OR), Molly Muriel has been owned and operated by Branda Tiffany since 2002. What began as a production facility for her Molly Muriel product line has developed into a valubal resource for herbalists, product makers and the local community. Her dried Calendula is wildcrafted when possible and is some of the highest quality around.
Making products is how it all began for Branda. A candle making class she attended in 1994 was the catalyst for her to learn how to create handmade goods. Inspired, she taught herself how to make soap. Through trial and error, she learned the best oils and ratios of lye to produce a soap to her liking. As her interests grew and senses matured, she realized that many of the popular fragrance oils used in commercial candle and soap making are synthetic and laced with chemicals. "Smelling the difference between natural and synthetic scents was the turning point", said Branda. Encouraged to find a natural way to scent her candles and soaps, she made the switch to pure essential oils and learned the art of aromatherapy.
Upon entering the shop your senses are taken over by the calming fragrance of dried herbs and handmade products. Tidy and well lit, the shop has a distinctly warm and welcoming atmosphere making it easy to spend quality time there. Not only is Branda the woman who creates the entire Molly Muriel product line, she will also be there to greet you when you visit. Small batch soaps, body oils, and candles are just a few of the items she skillfully makes from scratch.
Therapeutic base oils such as olive, sunflower, jojoba, and rose hip seed along with rose water and witch hazel can be acquired in small to large quantities. Items such as clays, powdered herbs, shea butter, beeswax, carnauba wax, salts and seaweed powders can be purchased by the ounce. Also readily available are candle making supplies along with empty glass bottles, lip balm tubes and tins. One of the shops more popular offerings is an extensive line of pure essential oils. From easy to find scents like lavender, rosemary, and peppermint to the more rare helichrysum, hyssop and coffee bean, chances are you will find the ones you need. If you are interested in learning a new skill, monthly candle making classes are offered at the apothecary and are open to the public. Each class includes guidance from Branda and all the needed supplies to make and take home two candles.
A large selection of organic, dried medicinal and culinary herbs can be obtained by the ounce. When asked what her favorite herb to work with is and why, she quickly responded, "Tulsi", also known as Holy Basil. "It is an important plant ally for me. Its nervine properties help to keep me calm and stay grounded. It is so diverse and has many anti-microbial properties which makes it a great herb to have on hand". Branda has completed a handful of herbal courses including Rosemary Gladstar's Correspondence class and The Immersion Program with the Arctos School of Herbal and Botanical Studies. Her dedication to herbal inquiry carries over into her business as well. "Herbalism and business force you to use both sides of your brain, I find their differences can actually help to balance one another." said Branda.
The shop is adorned with beautiful and healthy house plants throughout. The open design and wood dressed interior of the apothecary helps to showcase the plants and their positive energy. All of the plants are for sale and are showered with light thanks to the shops pleasantly large windows. There is an array of succulents, air plants, and terrarium supplies along with house plant starts and a DIY planting station, stocked with dirt and ceramic pots.
Throughout history medicinal plants have been used to heal and provide nourishment to communities near and far. With plant based medicine falling out of favor in the modern world we should cherish the businesses that allow herbalists to continue practicing their craft. Molly Muriel supports our niche community with the fine offerings they have available year round. It's one of my preferred herb shops located in the Portland area which I encourage anyone reading to visit. For a full listing of products, supplies, herbs, recipes and classes head on over to www.mollymuriel.com.
Molly Muriel soon to be Milwaukie Mercantile: Home of Molly Muriel Wholesale
Located in Downtown Milwaukie
11049 SE 21st Ave
Milwaukie, OR 97222
Current Hours: Wed-Sat 12p-6p; Sun-Tue CLOSED
Milwaukie Mercantile Hours *effective March 1st*: Thursday, Friday, & Saturday 12p-6p
Retail Phone: 503.305.7549
Wholesale Phone: 503.888.1567
Website (effective March 1st): www.milwaukiemercantile.com
By Public Transportation:
MAX Light Rail - Orange Line
Bus Line - 33
www.trimet.org for schedules and stop locations
Main ways By Bike:
Waterfront Bike Path
Tilikum Crossing Pedestrian Bridge
www.traillink.com for trail maps and descriptions