Cindy Smithson of Cindy’s Herbal Soaps, LLC has been a wonderful customer of ours for over two years. Cindy started her Pennsylvania based business in 2006. She specializes in home made soaps, but also carries a variety of bath and body products, natural candles, and a line of charming gift baskets. Cindy is simply a delight to do business with and we were thrilled when she agreed to give us an interview.
How did your business get started?
I began making soaps in the late winter of 2006. I was buying so many products to combat the winter dry and flaky skin both my husband and I suffered from. As I researched, I realized making my own soaps would go a long way in bringing moisture back into our skin. They did! After many trials and errors, and then the interest from my former coworkers who tested my products and showed their enthusiasm, Cindy’s Herbal Soaps, LLC came to be!
What has been your biggest challenge as a small business owner? How did you overcome this challenge?
My biggest challenge was getting into a market here when I didn’t know many people. My husband and I moved out of state last year. I applied for a Farmer’s Market in a town close by. There was already a soap maker there, in fact, there were two! One of the vendors at the market called me and asked if I’d like to be a vendor at a new Farmer’s Market. Since she already had a soap maker she asked if I could make more candles and still carry some soaps. I agreed and that was my start! Once I got into that market, I became friends with the other vendors. When the vendor next to me, who has become a wonderful friend, asked me if I would be interested in another Farmer’s Market, I agreed. Now both of the Farmer’s Markets have given me great feedback, repeat customers, and openings into other areas for my products. A friend has a shop in historic Gettysburg and she carries my products. I made samples of all the soaps I make. I take them with me where ever I go, as well as business cards. I can give them to B&B owners, or markets or shops as well as potentially new customers. I have gotten an account that way with a B& B in town as well.
What has been your most rewarding moment so far?
A doctor in Orlando Florida (Dr. Scott Levine) and I became friends on line when I ordered his great fiber drink. I told him I was making homemade soaps and coworkers were buying them. I told Scott that I wanted to start my own small business and asked if he would try my soap and tell me what he thinks. Within a few months I sent him my Milky Oatmeal Swirl soap. When he received it, his son had just begun the agony of chicken pox. Scott had one bar so he cut the bar in half and gave the other half to his son. His son took three showers that day and told his dad that he had felt some relief! Dr. Levine has endorsed my soap since then and I will always think of that story when I think of Dr. Scott Levine! He is a wonderful person and friend!
Do you have a philosophy or a company motto that you would like to share with us?
I believe we live in a high stress world. My goal is to help people to feel better about their skin while enjoying a scent from a favorite memory. Possibly allowing them to take a step back away from the stress! When someone smells one of my products and smiles, that is my reward! When I get repeat customers and their wonderful feedback, I know I am doing what is right for my path in life! I am trying to help people realize that they need to be pampered as well!
Do you have any advice for other soap makers or natural skin care enthusiasts that are just starting out?
Research, research, research! Take baby steps in establishing yourself. The more care you give the baby steps, the better foundation you build for the future. Carry samples and business cards at all times. Look at the shops and markets in your area and check out your competition.
We asked Cindy if she had a favorite recipe that she would like to share with our readers. She provided this wonderful formula that she calls Lavender Elbow Grease.
Lavender Elbow Grease
In a double boiler, melt the wax with the Castor Oil. Add the Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter and allow them to melt as well. As it cools add half of the Lavender Essential Oil. In a clean 2 oz. jar, add the other half of Lavender Essential Oil. Pour the Castor Oil mix into the jar and allow to cool. After it is fully cooled, place a lid on the jar. This formula is very rich, and great for cuticles and rough spots!
Cindy left us with some kind words regarding FromNatureWithLove.com. Can you tell why we’re so fond of her?
I love the selection I get at FromNatureWithLove.com. The bath and skin care ingredients, as well as the descriptions for use, give me great ideas. I can log onto your site and get creative with planning my next new item or start planning for the holidays. I love selecting the five sample Fragrance Oils! I can try new fragrances and see if my customers like them as well. The prices are great and I am always inspired to try something new from you!
If you are a small business owner or have a career in natural skin care and would like to be interviewed on The Natural Beauty Workshop please let us know. We would love to hear your story!