ARTIST INTERVIEW: Jessie Kimmell & Rachael Sheridan of Solstice Canyon
Solstice Canyon specializes in crafting small-batch almond butters made with only the highest quality organic ingredients. The Los Angeles-based company is the creation of Rachael Sheridan and Jessie Kimmell, friends who spent years experimenting in their own kitchens to create healthy and irresistible recipes that delight from the inside out. Former food industry co-workers, Rachael and Jessie founded Solstice Canyon after realizing there was a void in the market when it came to the type of snack that they both favored day to day: deliciously flavored nut butters made with organic and truly raw ingredients. We spoke to Jessie about their creative journey.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
Rachael and I went from working together in a corporate food environment where I was a PR director and she was a gourmet buyer to making the decision to start our own company over the course of a few years. We both knew we wanted something very different for our lives that felt more authentically “us”, but it wasn’t a decision made in haste–it had to be the right product, at the right time. Once we committed to creating a line of organic raw almond butters, we went from concept to launch in less than one year. It was a 10 month process and there were weeks where I didn’t sleep because the workload was so crazy. We felt in our gut that the response would be strong, but we put everything on the line – our savings, job security and income stability – to make the brand an actualization of our dream.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
People think we are in the kitchen all day, but a great deal of our jobs is administrative. We spend so much time running our business from behind computers that travel is really our most vital source of creative inspiration. Rachael is obsessed with the Riviera Maya in Mexico, and the flavors of Mexico really played a part in our Aztec Chocolate almond butter development. I just came back from a life-changing trip to Kauai, which really reinvigorated me and sparked fresh ideas for future products.
How are you inspired by the environment around you, how does home/city/nature you live in, affect your work?
Living in LA and spending time in Malibu really are the biggest reasons we conceptualized our brand. Solstice Canyon is actually named after one of our favorite hiking canyons in Malibu, and really represents the coastal lifestyle that we love so much — the beauty of nature; organic, delicious foods; clean, gorgeous and sustainable design — we are so lucky to have access to some of the best farmers’ markets in the world here, and they definitely inspired our ingredient choices.
What is so special about making art NOW, in our hectic digital age?
Art in so many ways represents craftsmanship that requires using one’s hands. Yes, we must use our computers to actually “run our business”, but our product was wholly created offline. I can’t tell you how many hours we spent in my little kitchen, pouring our hearts and souls into creating three flavors of almond butter that represented everything we love about food. We want our customers to enjoy our products so much that they eat them consciously, and with intention. They are crafted with love, and we hope they bring people together around the table in the pursuit of good health and good taste– those offline moments are too few and far between now, and are so important for our well-being as individuals and our relationships.