By Katarina Hybenova
If herbs and flowers in gritty industrial Bushwick are a contradiction, then finding an herbal apothecary off Morgan L stop may feel like a little miracle. Gentle herbalist Anit Hora founded Mullein and Sparrow from her apartment, and since then has created a beautiful line of handmade herbal products. She sells them on her website, in an Etsy shop and in several shops in Brooklyn (in Bushwick it’s Loom Yoga and Better Than Jam).
I gladly accepted the invitation to Anit’s apartment where all the magic happens. She transformed one room of her quiet and tidy apartment on Flushing Avenue into an herbology studio. As simple as it sounds, there is a solid wooden table in the middle of the room, a window that offers the cheap luxury of a royal view over typical Brooklyn water towers and roofs of warehouses; the walls are covered with shelves that carry neatly organized empty bottles and cans waiting to be filled and labeled. One section of shelving is dedicated only to herbs that Anit needs at hand. “But there are way more herbs in the storage,” she smiles.
While serving lovely ice cold chamomile tea, Anit patiently poured an herbal mixture into empty cans and revealed her story. “I used to work in fashion design,” Anit began. “It was so corporate that after some time I felt like my soul was slowly dying.” Anit founded Mullein and Sparrow in spring 2012, but the journey began much earlier. Five years ago she quit her fashion job and simply left. “I travelled in South America for a year and half,” Anit smiles. It was around the time of her travels that she became interested in natural medicine and herbs. She didn’t want to rely on traditional artificial medicine, so she began to search for ways of making simple cures from herbs. She points to the flasks filled with natural coughing syrup labeled Mullein and Sparrow and she smiles. After she returned to New York, she felt her calling strongly then ever. She would become an herbalist. “How does one become an herbalist?” I asked her. “I signed up for a course, but they don’t really teach you how to make stuff. They teach you how to work in a spa, which is nice, but I needed to know how to make this…” Driven by pure passion (and you can call it an obsession if you’d like) she began to study everything she found online or offline. Herbology, mixtures, tinctures, herbs, flowers, roots, simply everything. “But above all I like it really girly,” says Anit about her lip glosses, dry shampoos and herbal water in a spray. Anit uses her skills from fashion design to create beautiful labels and to generally make her products look really pretty. “We get most of the herbs from a supplier from West Coast, ” says Anit; she also adds that she loves to collect them Upstate whenever she can, although that’s more for her own pleasure as the amounts are not sufficient.
While Anit sells her products online and supplies to several Brooklyn shops, her dream is to open an herbal shop in Bushwick. “For the moment it’s not possible,” says Anit, but you can feel the energy around her and the desire of her heart, and so one has to believe that what’s not possible today, can easily be reality tomorrow.