Dandelion Botanical Company marks its one-year anniversary in Sequim this month, and its 25th year in existence.
Proprietor Kachi Cassinelli moved the business to 4681 Sequim-Dungeness Way during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 after growing weary of the commute between her Sequim home and the store in the Ballard district of Seattle as well as some of the economic complications of COVID.
Her inventory of dried herbs, herbal products, chocolate, books, art and other local products is arranged in the spacious interior of the former Nash’s Farm Store.
Dandelion Botanical Company was voted one of the top five herb stores in the nation in 2009 by Rodale’s Garden Magazine and has such a strong following that customers from Seattle and Tacoma make the trip to Sequim to acquire their herbs and other products.
The store carries about 500 different dried types of herbs, and Cassinelli said she tries to acquire as many of them as she can from Pacific Northwest suppliers. She said the quality is much better and that she values the community connection.
“Buying local is what saved me (during the pandemic),” Cassinelli said. “Because just about all the distributors were getting so bombarded that they weren’t able to fulfill orders. And so, as a small business, I just had to get really scrappy, and luckily I had already been buying from local farms, and they were able to support me … So it’s one of those situations where it’s important to have that supply chain be local.”
Cassinelli said she’s seeking more local suppliers, particularly in the Clallam County area.
She said she envisions Dandelion Botanical as a center of community in other ways, such as promoting local artists, community gatherings and classes and, in the future, open mic nights.
A fresh round of classes begins on Sept. 15.
Lauren Morgan of Sequim will teach a 12-week introduction to herbal medicine focusing on common ailments and seasonally relevant plants, open to all age groups.
“I’ve been teaching these kinds of classes for almost a decade,” Morgan said.
“As time goes on they become more relevant and important. Until recently, everyone carried the basic knowledge of herbalism. My mission is to help people reclaim this knowledge. Classes are a great way to nurture a community, and help support the store.”
Morgan has a degree in herbal sciences from Bastyr and taught classes at Dandelion’s Ballard location.
“Both of us, without knowing it, relocated to Sequim (and reconnected),” said Morgan, of herself and Cassinelli.
Dandelion’s manager, Britney Bakken, also knew Cassinelli via her store before moving to Sequim from Oregon. Bakken supplied Cassinelli with beautifully-colored calendula — “Sunshine in a box,” said Cassinelli.
The two women operate the storefront while Cassinelli’s husband, Brian Kern, works behind the scenes on the website.
The website generates about 40 percent of the store’s revenue. Cassinelli, however, prefers face-to-face work, noting that she loves “connecting and sharing information.”
After falling in love with plants and self-educating through books and observation, she completed a course at the California Institute of herbal studies, and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in botany at the University of Washington.
She said she found her true calling while working at an herb shop in Pike Street Market, sharing her knowledge and learning new information from customers and the herb-loving community.
Dandelion Botanical Company is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday through Monday. See dandelionbotanical.com.