Interview + Photography: @punikasayshi

True Botanicals is a California-born organic skincare line that debuted its first flagship store in San Francisco this week. We created a space that is more than just a skincare clinic, but an experiential playground, drawing inspiration from the brand itself and the philosophy of self-care. Read more about how the #JBDworks team brought this project to life and what inspired me throughout the project in the interview below.

Visit the newly opened True Botanicals store in San Francisco now— 524 Washington Street, San Francisco. Store hours: 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 12 p.m.–6 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday |


Tell us about your most recent project with True Botanicals in San Francisco.

The True Botanicals brand wanted to create a space that felt elevated, approachable, and really embodied quintessential California. I really tried to create a space that will take that idea a step further. We wanted something that feels evolved, layered and drawn by the natural elements surrounding us. I wanted it to have a really sophisticated point of view. The brand itself is somewhere between sophisticated and playful, and that’s really what the space is about. I wanted people to walk in and remember being there.

Where did you draw inspiration from? Did you pull a lot of things from the vision of the True Botanical brand?

I was a huge fan of the product. Their skincare line will change your life. I drew a lot of inspiration from the brand, as well as from their founder, Hillary, who I found to be a deeply soulful person. She’s all about the ritual of self-practice.

I also went across the globe and pulled inspiration from the Viennese Succession, French countrysides and we drew a lot of inspiration from nature. With all that in mind, we filtered those inspiration and saw it through a California lens by keeping the palette simple and tight. We wanted the space to feel like you were a part of it when you walked in.


What’s the feeling you wanted people to have when they enter the space and how did you achieve that?

We wanted people to feel warm, and we wanted it to be experiential, because retail space always has to be experiential. You have to walk in and feel like you know the brand intrinsically, right at the moment you step through the door. The space is rich with texture and natural elements, from the marble to the reclaimed wooded beams, to the smell and ambiance within the store. Everything smells and feels welcoming… It’s all about the senses.


From what we know, you and your team mainly work on residential projects. How was working on a commercial retail space and what are the challenges? How did it differ from working on residential?

This is our first store ever. The challenge is always trying to find the marriage between function and form and beauty. For residential projects we ask ourselves: How do I create a space that functions appropriately for the family and how do I do it in a beautiful way?

The same thing with retail. It’s a little more complicated but we approached the retail space the same way we approached residential. We ask ourselves: What are the moments we want the customers to have in this space? Where are they sitting down and trying out the essential oils, where are they standing when they are checking out? Is it memorable? Are they gonna touch the countertop and think “This is so beautiful” and “I love this” and “What’s that cabinet and the mechanisms around it?”… We want to build around those memories.

Tell us about your favorite corner of the store.

There is an aromatherapy bar where you can go in and create an entire scent that’s unique to you. It’s amazing and I completely adore it. But the sink is definitely my favorite, it’s 17th century marble from France and we had it shipped over to the store in San Francisco. Then I had a custom-made backsplash to go with it. It just was a product of love and care that went into it and it looks like it’s been there forever. Like it truly belongs there.