When Hillary Peterson was in her early thirties, she gave birth to twins. As if that wasn’t enough of a life-changing event, a short while after Hillary was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, an event she describes as a major wake up call. This led to Hillary’s quest to research and understand exactly how toxins in the everyday products we use—like skincare—can affect our health. Ironically, doing the research was a lot easier than finding products without toxins, and so Hillary decided to make her own, founding True Botanicals in 2014.
A Californian-born and raised entrepreneur who was truly ahead of the curve, Hillary worked with anti-ageing specialists and green chemists to formulate a cruelty-free range for the face and body, harnessing ‘the vibrant intelligence of nature.’ True Botanicals sources organic and wild-harvested ingredients, and uses botanical extracts that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. These products have been proven to outperform many leading mainstream brands.
Hillary’s philosophies on life, business, health and family (she and husband Blair are parents to three adult children) as well as True Botanicals’ planet-friendly ethos means she’s been an incredible support and inspiration to Koala Eco in terms of her example and her advice. So we were thrilled to catch up with her at her home near San Francisco, to ask her about her connection to nature:
What’s your favourite thing to do in nature?
Being in nature with my family and friends is one of my greatest joys, and something that I try to do every day. Hiking, running, swimming in the ocean and cycling are my favourite ways to spend time in nature.
Describe your connection to nature: what positives does it bring to your life?
I recently saw an amazing quote from [British sculptor and environmentalist] Andy Goldsworthy, who said: ‘we often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.’ I couldn't agree more, and one of the greatest things I take away from my time in nature is a reinforcement of my connection to myself.
What are your fondest memories of spending time in nature?
When I was young, I discovered that time near the water was so energising and grounding for me. I loved to take my dog for walks on the beach and I could spend hours swimming in the ocean. One time, I was riding the waves in a raft with my sister and before long, we realised that dolphins had joined in and were riding the waves with us. It was so exhilarating!
I had a similar experience as an adult when I was stand-up paddle-boarding with my youngest daughter and a mama and baby humpback whale got SO close to us. We both felt such an amazing connection to them, and it was without a doubt one of the most special experiences that I have ever had.
Many of us are time-poor and might not get out into nature as much as we’d like. Any suggestions for a quick nature-based pick-me up? Something sensory, experiential…?
When I travel for work, I always pack my running shoes so I can get out for a walk or a run. It is amazing what even 20 minutes can do for my state of mind: even in the middle of a city! Hearing the birds, feeling a breeze, there is always a bit of nature to connect with wherever we are, and I find that to be so nourishing.