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Isabella's Garden

Grown and foraged in upstate New York by Cari Shiel, designer for and co-founder of Hooked Productions. Named after her daughter, Isabella, each jar contains a delicious mix of flavors to brighten your day. Cari developed these blends while music festival life was on pause, finding solace in building her garden and creating these blends to get her through the pandemic.





Why we chose Isabella's Garden

I've known Cari and her husband, Brenden, as fellow festival vendors for over twenty years. When all of that went on pause abruptly in 2020, I knew Cari was someone I could turn to who would understand what it meant to lose that part of our lives and ourselves in the process.

Unlike me, Cari was surrounded by nature where she lives in rural upstate New York. From my isolation in Brooklyn, I lived vicariously through her daily hikes, soaking up every picture she shared of trees and water running through woods as she and Brenden tackled seemingly every trail in the Finger Lakes region.

When I noticed she'd started to post pictures of herbal tea blends she was creating, and the plants she was cultivating to do so, I was intrigued. I've always been drawn to the medicinal properties of plants too, and I especially love to share a pot of tea with a friend.

After I opened our shop the following year, I wanted to showcase products made by other independent female creators alongside my own, and Cari was one of the first people to whom I turned. Her little glass jars of fresh fragrant herbs and flowers have been popular with our neighborhood customers in Brooklyn, and I'm sure you'll love them too!

-Taylor Swope, founder Little Hippie

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Created by Cari Shiel

Q&A with Cari

Did you ever want to be anything other than an entrepreneur?

I went to college for interior design and then changed my major to photography. When I graduated I literally had no idea what to do so I went on the road. I had no idea I was about to design clothes for a career.
Did you have any jobs early in life that led you to starting your own business or work experience that helped you once you did?

I actually worked at a silkscreen shop during my summers in high school and college.
What led you to start a side project revolving around plants?

I grew up in the woods. I was raised in the Adirondacks and have an intense love of the outdoors. Herbal studies was always something that I dabbled in and during the shutdown I really had time to delve into it. Being in the woods, foraging and working with plants brought me a lot of joy and comfort when there was such uncertainty in the world. The forest is good like that.

How did you feel going back on the road last summer and losing the time you had during the shutdowns to work on your garden?

Well, I have always loved being on the road. Again, living outdoors with music and friends... the best. As much as we were out this summer, we still managed to expand the gardens to twice the size, and it was just a little more effort when we were home.

What are the challenges you encounter as a small business owner in partnership with your husband?

We actually work together really well. We have worked together for 23 years and have been married for 20 years this past December. We each have our own things we focus on in the business and then we collaborate on others. The one big challenge is to remember to actually be a couple and not just business partners, but we also enjoy a lot of the same things; our kids,music, hiking, travel so its not that hard. Of course some days its not perfect, but in the big picture, its all about the love.

What do you hope your children take away from growing up around your business?

Oh my kids. <3 . They both have a great love of live music and such a diverse playlist. Music has always surrounded them. They get the concept of work hard, play hard. They see us doing what we love and working REALLY hard to do it, so I hope that rubs off on them.

What inspired you to name your teas after your daughter?

I come up with a new business idea about every other day. When the kids were little I had names for business names for both of them. I figured I would get to it one day. I always thought it would end up being be a greenhouse.

Where to find more of Cari

Hooked Productions (Shop site)
Hooked Productions (Instagram)

Next summer, at the following festivals (among others): Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo, Peach Fest, Grassroots Fingerlakes Festival, Sacred Rose, Beach Road Weekend