As we start to dive into chillier weather and the beauty of fall, we were super excited to meet tea maker and creator Lynn Park of Kanji Naturals!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and went to school at Brigham Young University where I received my Master’s Degree in Food Science with an emphasis in Nutrition. I spent the next 12 years working for Kraft, Kraft General Foods and Stella Foods and “retired” to homeschool my three children. I now also help tutor high school students a couple of days a week.
My passion is photography and I also garden, hike in the woods, research and be with my family.
What products do you sell under Kanji Naturals?
I’ve created 14 tea blends, flower essences, floral art with dried/pressed flowers and plaster relief floral art. Plans are to add herbal incense next year. All of the herbs and flowers used in these products are grown in my gardens. As my business grows, I do resource some of the herb volumes through an organic supplier.
Where is the name from?
Trees have always been very healing for me. As a child when I needed to feel safe, I climbed a tree; as an adult when I need to destress, I hike in the woods. I was reading an article about Shinrin Yoku one day and they referred to the Japanese writing of Chinese characters or Kanji.
In the article, they discussed the Kanji Character of 椋 as a tree and the character © as a person snuggling a tree which meant rest. It just resonated with me so I held onto that name.
Favorite tea blend you’ve created?
Probably a toss between Sunny Soul and Calm and Focus. Sunny Soul just helps me relax and feel loved. Calm and Focus helps to slow my spinning thoughts, get to task and stay focused on what I need to work on. They taste great, too.
Tell us about the illustrations on your packaging.
My husband is an artist and professor at MSUM. A former student of his (Creative Monke) helped create the look we wanted for our labels and my husband creates the illustrations. I choose a predominant herb for each blend that he uses. We do sell his original illustrations, too.
What is your most essential tool?
My dehydrator and my Ninja blender for drying and grinding herbs. It is a constant process for me all summer long.
How has your food science degree and work in the industry impacted your business?
This experience provides me with an understanding of labeling, working with inspectors and producing a quality product, which is very useful in producing my teas. I take great pride in producing the best and freshest herbal tea blends.
Favorite thing about working with tea?
I get to spend my days doing what brings me joy – getting my hands in the dirt, working with plants and healing. I have a philosophy of healing with what grows around you and I enjoy discovering what grows well here and their medicinal properties.
What has been the most challenging thing doing this business?
Being dependent on the weather and natural pests. I like to be in control and I cannot control that. The next challenge would be space. Storing all the herbs so I can keep making tea blends all winter long.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Look to your inner child, never forget your hopes and dreams and how to play. Believe in yourself, love yourself and take time to play and stick your hands and feet in the dirt. Don’t worry so much about what other people think; Forge your own happiness. This wisdom has come at a high price and great growth.
Where can people find you?
Currently, my products can be found at Unglued & Naturally Randi Kay’s Studio in downtown Fargo, at Grateful Cratefulls in West Fargo, and the Bluebird Coffeehouse and Cafe in South Fargo. I also have a booth at the Red River Market.