ARTIST INTERVIEW: Meredith Baird of Nucifera
Company: Nucifera Body
Artist: Meredith Baird Figone
Plant based chef, author, and founder of the vegan line of minimalist skincare Nucifera Body, Meredith Baird has always believed that what we put in and on our bodies is essential to our well being. In our wellness obsessed culture, the advice around what we should be doing has never been more conflicting, nor have the options ever been more abundant. With an approach that emphasizes simplicity and relies on the power of plants, Meredith truly believes that less is more. Health and happiness doesn’t have to be complicated.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
I have always been inspired by the plant based world. For years I worked as a chef and creative in the culinary world where I authored and co-authored several books all in the vegan food space. It was writing my last book Coconut Kitchen that led me down a path to discovering more about coconut oil and I became inspired by the multiple uses of one simple ingredient.
Having simultaneously suffered from dry skin for years I was always seeking the best ingredients to soothe the skin. While coconut oil didn’t work for me solo, I experimented with all the other delicious plant oils and butters that I found. The Balm, our signature product, was formulated out of trial and error and what worked best for me. I really found that having one product that I loved and could use from head to toe was so liberating.
I find myself now being able to talk both about what we put on and in our bodies- and the way that we do it, through ritual and awareness- as being the greatest beauty tool.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
I love working with my hands. Although making the product myself at this time is not always the most logical, it is what I love the most and something that I’d like to hold on to for as long as possible.
How do you find a balance between practicality and beauty in your creations?
I feel that my product embodies practicality and beauty. As a culture we are so trained to think that beauty has to be complicated that it’s something that needs to be achieved- in food, clothing, art, writing. The beauty in simplicity is a bit of a lost art.
I wanted to challenge this notion in the beauty industry that we need something for everything to be beautiful.
Less is so often more.
How do you define success in your art or craft, or alternately, what does failure mean to you?
Success for me feels like inspiration and creative flow.
Failure to me is feeling bad about myself, or anxious because of comparing myself to others. We’re all guilty of falling into that trap from time to time, and it’s a really stagnant place to be.
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
That it brings others happiness! Testimonials are everything to me! Of course I am the original critic – along with my husband, sister, mom and friends who will definitely be honest with me, but once it gets out in the world it means a lot to get positive feedback.
Do you have a daily working routine? Can you describe it?
Always seeking a routine. Hard to come by these days.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
The beauty of ingredients found in nature and the sun are always inspiring to me. The scent is one of my favorite combinations but is also reflective of the time here and now in Los Angeles with plenty of palo santo, light citrus and minty freshness, combined with the earthy undertones. I think Nucifera will forever remind me of LA.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
Creative ideas can flow from anywhere if I’m in a good mood and feeling in alignment. Certainly travel helps- but I also just love any kind of exercise, a bath, a book, a day at the beach, or hanging out offline with my family… or all of the above on the same day!
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
I’m constantly influenced by the community of women who I would label as expanders here, and online- being mothers, creatives, entrepreneurs etc. is actually a lot, and takes nerve. Landing in LA really helped wake me up to my own creative power and I feel very grateful to the women (and man!) who have supported me in that growth.
Photos by Nicki Sebastian