When I think of Stomping Ground Herbals, the image I conjure in my head involves a lush garden, shelves of organized jars containing dried herbs, and someone entirely in their element. Nicole Mattingly, the Founder of Nashville’s Stomping Ground Herbals, fits that image almost perfectly. Her Nashville roots run deep, having been born and raised in East Nashville, where her childhood memories consisted of spending time with her great-grandmother in the family garden. In many ways, Nicole’s great-grandmother gave her all the knowledge she needed to fulfill her destiny as an herbalist and small business owner.
Intuitive, creative, and grounded in her values, Nicole has quite literally always had her hands in the soil, instilling a sense of stewardship that she’s carried forward into her business practices. After spending time away from Tennessee after high school graduation, Nicole returned to East Nashville and her family’s land. The garden became, and remains, the cornerstone of Nicole and her husband Nick’s small business. Named Double N Urban Farm, Nicole and Nick started growing vegetables offered to the community through a community-supported agriculture program. Families who participated received a box of fresh produce from the East Nashville plot each week during the growing season. Using fresh herbs they grew and drawing on the experience of making salves with her great-grandmother, Nicole started to create her skincare products, which she shared with her friends and family. Taking on a life of its own, Stomping Ground Herbals, a line of apothecary products, was formed. Since then, Nicole’s developed a botanical facial and body care product line. She formulates each one and makes them all by hand. While ending the CSA program wasn’t easy, it was a rewarding life decision.
Sitting outside at a neighborhood coffee shop, Nicole and I reminisce about the allure of Bonne Bell’s Lip Smackers and Lisa Frank stickers as kids. These products were designed to draw kids in with bright colors and recognizable flavors; however, the ingredients inside weren’t so good.. Inspired by memories and a love of color and creativity, Nicole set out on her next adventure, creating a line of non-toxic, ethical make-up products. Developing the line took time and painstaking research to find companies that could supply eco-friendly raw materials that met her standards. Now available on the website, head over to browse her carefully formulated eye shadows, lip and cheek tints, shimmering body oils, and nail polish. The results are stunning colors made to be mixed and blended while inspiring individuality without the worry of harmful ingredients, providing peace of mind for parents and make-up lovers alike.
Nicole and Nick endeavor to be good stewards of the environment and community. Their workshop is entirely off the grid, powered by a solar panel, and features a composting toilet. They minimize waste by offering reusable and recyclable packaging while composting garden waste on-site. To address other areas of the business that generate carbon emissions, they contribute 1% of their profits to an atmospheric carbon removal project. Standing with underrepresented groups in the community, Stomping Ground Herbals donates a portion of profits to pay reparations and donate to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) organizations. When you purchase the Violet Voices nail polish,100% of the profits will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality. They also donate healing salve to those undergoing genes affirming surgeries.
Life has a way of coming full circle and placing us exactly where we need to be. Fate brought Nicole back to the family garden, and it’s become an integral part of her journey in the most beautiful way. She continues to draw on knowledge from the precious moments spent with her great-grandmother while following her passion and curiosity as Stomping Ground Herbals grows and evolves. I can’t wait to see what she does next.