Bodhi Leaf Designs

Queens crafter Kirsten Penaloza is the founder and owner of Bodhi Leaf Designs based out of Jackson Heights. Her include natural, vegan and eco-friendly products with messages that inspire strength, love and happiness, while promoting sustainability.

When Kirsten started making her soaps a year ago, she wanted to create a counter-balance to her regular 9 to 5 job. She wanted a creative activity where she could channel her own need for positive messaging – something that made her feel good and that she could share with others, essentially creating something that would bring happiness to other people’s days.

Always trying new products on the market and then reading what was actually in them she was shocked. Also, she found the majority of brands test on animals. From then on she started making her own soaps, and with encouragement from family and friends, she started to make more. Turning a hobby into a passion to make products for herself and family members became a small business, and Bodhi Leaf Designs has been a great success!

When asked how she came up with the name of her company, Bodhi Leaf Designs, Kirsten explains she is a Buddhist, and for her the symbol of the Bodhi tree or leaf means a lot. It represents positivity, enlightenment and perseverance. Positivity is what she wants to transmit and create with her products; perseverance is what it takes to be an entrepreneur and a visionary.

Bodhi Leaf Designs uses vegan, natural, responsibly sourced ingredients and components that will harm neither your health nor the environment. The all-natural ingredients, include dried flowers for color, and herbs and therapeutic essential oils. Her products are also packaged with recycled or recyclable materials to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet. Bodhi Leaf Designs’ vision is to make this world a clean, green and healthy one!

Among the many Bodhi Leaf Designs items she makes are soaps, shampoo bars, facial toners and serums, as well as soothing and moisturizing lip balms naturally made, using chamomile, lavender, lemon grass, sage, cinnamon, eucalyptus and many other natural scents. Some of her top sellers are her lavender soap and lip balms. All her soaps and other skincare products are very locally made – in her Jackson Heights home!

Kirsten has always had a passion for natural cosmetics and skincare so it is “natural” for her to make soaps, facial serums, toners and lip balms without any chemicals, toxic ingredients or animal products or testing.

Together with other Queensbased vendors Kirsten has teamed up to open an artist/maker collective called the Boutiqueloo, located at 35-35 32nd Street, where vendors run the store without any salary, except 100% of the sales of their products. Boutiqueloo is like an Etsy store, but you get to walk in and find cute handmade Queens items. Every month more vendors are joining in. The idea behind this is to continue the promotion of locally made items and ethical shopping, and to provide a different shopping experience to the Astoria/ Long Island City neighborhood. It’s a great alternative to shopping online and waiting to receive your items, paying shipping, and perhaps being disappointed in the products.

Bodhi Leaf Designs’ products are great all natural alternatives to try for yourself or as gifts this holiday season or any time. Try her products and see the results for yourself!

For more on Kirsten and Bodhi Leaf Designs, check out her website and follow her at @Bodhi_leaf_designs.

—Melissa Mennona

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2018-12-01 digital edition