Willow King — Co-founder of Ozuké
Willow King is an entrepreneur, leader in women's empowerment and lover of movement. As co-founder of a Boulder-Based fermentation company, Ozuké, Willow knows that creating space in her life is a choice, and one that keeps her filled with life force.
Moon Bath: We know you as a friend and the co-founder of Ozuké. Can you share with our community what Ozuké offers and the mission behind your company?
Willow King: Our mission is to make super delicious, probiotic foods and beverages for eaters across America. In addition to focus on flavor, texture and vibrancy the whole sourcing and production process is very important to us. We source produce from local, organic growers, we pay a living wage to all our employees, we run a zero waste facility and we package all our products in recyclable glass packaging. Food is a group effort and we believe every step of the process should be equally important and transparent.
Moon Bath: Can you share with us a bit about your former identities and the transformations you have experienced to become who you are today?
Willow: Well...my formal education is in literature and creative writing but I spent most of my 20’s traveling around the world, working for NGO’s doing women’s microfinance...mostly in Africa, which I loved. When I returned stateside, I worked for a stint in publishing, taught yoga, went back to grad school, met my husband, had my first son, moved to Asia, moved to California, had our second son, moved home, taught for a spell and then started a fermentation company. Common threads: women’s empowerment, words, body, movement, life force. Willy Nilly!
Moon Bath: Given your passion for food, why did you decide to pursue fermented foods specifically?
Willow: I have a cousin who is a cheese maker in Maine and she gifted me the book “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Katz (who is now a friend of ours!) and it really inspired me. Fermentation is a bit like harnessing nature’s magic. My business partner, who is an amazing chef, also had a background in Asian fermentation techniques, so the synergy was there.
Moon Bath: We are always looking for ways to ‘create space’ in our lives to ease towards a nourished and balanced state. What are the ways you do this in your life?
Willow: I practice yoga, I cook, I read, I hike, I swim... but the older I get the more I think that space is a choice that we make. In other words, there is always so much life pouring in, so many options, so much information that one really has to decide what to let in and when. Consciously leaving things unplanned, uncharted, open is a practice.
Moon Bath: Can you give us a glimpse at your bathing ritual, what do you do in the tub?
Willow: I remember being little and watching my mom take baths. I loved when she put her hair under the water and looked like a mermaid. Baths feel sort of old world and are part of the space clearing that I mentioned above. I love oils, fresh flowers and herbs. When we lived in Napa I used to always have rose petals on hand for baths. Here in Boulder, I favor Moon Bath's dried herbs, a book and sometimes candlelight if I can carve it out.
Moon Bath: You’re a mother of two amazing boys. How has being a mother changed the way you approach your career? Your self-care?
Willow: Being a mother changes everything. My children are my priority, my teachers, my home base.
My business was started both out of desire to make good, nourishing food for families like mine, but also because it allowed more flexibility than other careers. Self care, well, that changes too. When the boys were little it felt like just taking a shower by myself was a luxury. Now that they are older, I find to time to stretch, get body work, dance with friends... all part of health.
Moon Bath: We admire how much you work with and support other women in the realms of business and art. Will you share with us a few women who inspire you?
Willow: So many! My business partner Mara is a big source of inspiration for me, as a friend, mother, and maker of delicious things. I am very close to my mom, she makes my life with children, work and creativity possible in many ways with her support. Further afield: Louis Bourgeois, Nina Simone, Zadie Smith, Patti Smith, Tilda Swinton, Sappho, Virginia Woolfe, Isabel Marant.
Moon Bath: What’s currently your favorite meal to add Ozuké to?
Willow: Radish cakes with Kim chi! Recipe here
Moon Bath: Where can we get Ozuké?
Willow: Whole foods, Vitamin Cottage, Independent health and speciality stores across the US. Store locator on our website.