Training in Prague, From Portland to Prague.
By Ulises Gonzalez
Picture it: I’m walking through the Pearl District on a beautiful summer day in 2013. Suddenly, I see a shop I never noticed before, the sign reads: Botanicus. Upon walking inside I find an interesting combination of soaps, lotions and essential oils. The scent, the flowers, the rustic cabinets and glass bottles all sparked my interest and curiosity.
Now, let’s jump to one year later. I started as a Botanicus customer and now I am a Botanicus employee. I love the products, the traditional and ecological values of the company as well as all the people involved. After much work, the chairman awarded me a Botanicus Scholarship to train in Prague for two weeks. Crazy. There is really no other word to describe it. It was a crazy, weird and dreamy feeling.
Prague is a spectacular city, filled with towers, bridges and historic churches. You become quite overwhelmed if you’re a photographer like me. I simply didn’t know where to start.
Both of our flagship stores are located in old town square, which lies in the center of Prague 1. They are both beautifully decorated with distinct styles, yet still maintain a botanical theme. I worked with the Prague staff and they taught me many things about the products and their uses. It was great being so close because I could get all my questions answered right then and there.
One of the most significant places in the Czech Republic is the little village of Ostra. Ostra is the location of our botanical and vegetable garden, as well as the arboretum sponsored by his royal highness Prince of Wales. It is also the birthplace of the first Botanicus shop. Now you can find Botanicus stores in more than 14 countries.
Before you enter the garden you are taken back in time to 14th century Europe by first exploring the Historic Village of Arts & Crafts. The medieval village and garden complex are open to the public and believe me, if you find yourself in Prague, you don’t want to miss this. In this village you use “Botanicus Money” to do all sorts of creative things. That ranges from making candles and soap to eating in their organic restaurant.
Walking through the garden and arboretum is a peaceful experience. The complex is organic and we use the ingredients we grow ourselves to create our wide range of products. The facility where they process these fresh plants and herbs is directly next to the garden complex. Everything is processed immediately, resulting in a unique and high quality product.
The amount of time I spent training has lead me to understand that this company is based on truly sound principles. I am confident and proud to know Botanicus creates products that are naturally good and pure.
Focusing on the present moment, I am grateful that I was able to bring all this knowledge back to Portland. I invite you to step into the only Botanicus storefront in the United States, thus far, so that you can have a chance at experiencing the World of Botanicus, that is, the World of Plants.
All photos taken by ©Ulises Gonzalez