This is the third edition of our 'Meet the Maker' series, where we meet the people behind the amazing brands we stock at Temple+Co. Here we meet the wonderful Emily Rohr, the founder of Rohr Remedy, a company in Australia making beautiful products for your skin, body and home, using traditional bush medicine practices combined with the finest modern technology.
Welcome! Please introduce yourself.
I am Emily Rohr, the founder and director of Rohr Remedy.Tell me how your business came about.
I have spent 20 years working in the remote desert in Western Australia, running an art gallery and painting studio for the Yulparitja people from the Great Sandy Desert. These were the last people to come out of the bush in the Kimberley, having met white people for the first time in 1974. This group did amazing artwork, and we have represented them through a gallery we started in Broome. My husband grew up in Broome, and his father ran the first Chemist there (he was a third generation chemist, trained in apothecary also). We had the land rights movement - which saw many of our friends and family get land rights. The next generation of people did not paint, and many were looking for ways of generating income through the country – their main asset - so we combined my dermatologist father's extemporaneous scripts, with old family apothecary formulas and introduced the super foods and bush medicines that our fellow countrymen wild harvested straight from the country.
This has enabled many indigenous landowners to develop their own companies and businesses. We work on the marketing side, to try to educate people about the phenomenal benefits of the Australian plants, but are also primarily concerned about developing the best possible natural skin care products - they are tested and proven. It is really a merging of all my history, so somehow was inevitable.What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt since beginning your business?
You must believe in what you do, persevere and do not be motivated by money, but rather a drive that will tolerate working 7 days a week, often without pay. You cannot do something like this unless you are very driven. Also, I am a great believer in win-win business transactions. I do not believe you have to compromise on quality. I do think sometimes you have to make decisions based on reality and logistics, for example, we would love everything to be in glass but this is impossible with shipping around the world, it becomes cost prohibitive for our honey myrtle so we have settled for the smaller bottles in glass and the bigger ones in BPA-free plastics.I know it’s like asking someone to pick a favourite child, but what is your current favourite product from your range? Why?
The Gumbi Gumbi lip balm is the bomb, it is soooo good, it is based on a very classic old family formula, and it really works, but I can’t live without the serum and oil. I never go anywhere without these three, because they are unique and I am totally addicted to them, my skin cries out for them when I don’t have them, and I cannot replace them with other products in hotels, because they are not like anything else around.What are the key values behind your brand?
Great natural skincare that is ethically sourced, is effective, and has what it says in it.Who do you look up to - in business or just generally in life?
My mum and dad. I am also one of nine children, so my siblings all have qualities that I love and impress me, although we are all very different. I also must say that I was lucky enough to have met some amazing old bush people, many who are no longer here, Weaver Jack and Spiderman particularly totally influenced how I see the world, and have been incredible influences on my life. They were both so wise, and gracious, and had a great ability to navigate conflicting forces, with such clarity of thought. Every day I try to be more like them – I hope I live a long time so I can one day be one hundredth of the people they were…..What’s the most recent best dish/meal you’ve eaten?
My husband's freshly caught coral trout (straight from the Great Barrier Reef) with salad from the garden, nothing beats it, and hand cut homemade chips… the best.
Where would you go on holiday if you had an unlimited budget?
I like camping and fishing, and I love the wilderness, I have done a lot of that in Australia, so I guess maybe Canada, New Zealand, parts of PNG, or other countries where there is a pristine wilderness.
What is the best piece of advice (for business or just in life) anyone has ever given you?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, it is not personal, most people are too worried about their own stuff to care about you. I love being insignificant, it gives you great freedom, pick your battles, and I have to say do unto others as you would do unto yourself is pretty unbeatable as a general motto. When I have a dilemma I just apply this golden rule. And it often works, my mum always said be kind…. That is a good one too.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
At peace, and full of gratitude, for being healthy, and still alive, with amazing children, wonderful extended family and beautiful friends. Business-wise, I just hope I am still in business… and that people love our products.
And finally - why should our customers buy your products?
Because they love them, try them and and see, you are not sick, so why use lots of chemicals on your skin everyday? It's like leather - keep it clean and oil it and work with nature to maintain its optimal condition - that is what Rohr Remedy products are about.