The Natural Beauty Workshop is proud to present the next in our series of featured customer interviews. Vicki Garland is the owner and sole operator of Walk in Beauty, a home based company that creates and sells natural, and naturally inspired personal care products, such as soaps, lotions, and more.
Vicki’s first passion was dance. She became dedicated to the art at a young age, while living in St. Louis, Missouri. After majoring in Modern Dance during college, Vicki continued to follow her passion for dance until the unfortunate loss of her mother in 1971.
At that time, Vicki stepped away from dance and became interested in horticulture. Very soon, this interest became her life’s next great passion. She spent many years in career horticulture, working in design, teaching classes, and guest speaking. Her love of horticulture inspired her to study aromatherapy, herbalism, and flower essences, as well as becoming certified in the field of permaculture. Organic gardening also became a serious hobby of Vicki’s.
In 1981, Vicki Garland made her very first soap with the help of a friend. Throughout the years to follow, Vicki continued to make soap for her family, including her two children, Damon and Charity Rose. Vicki’s daughter told her recently that she couldn’t remember ever using any other soap growing up than what her mother had made.
When Vicki’s children began college in 2003, she began to make soaps and other bath and body products with a renewed fervor. Vicki described how the creation of her business soon followed, and how it helped to heal her emotionally after many personal hardships, including the passing of her husband in 2002.
“With the nest emptied, I was clearing out the studio and began to feel an impetus to create things… big batches of soap, lotions, herbal potions, and little by little, as though bringing itself to life, Walk in Beauty was born. And the parts of my heart that needed healing were growing into life. It’s been such a healing process for me. Every time I go “to work” I feel a sense of inspiration, well-being, and intuition that I use in all the formulas. I hope the healing I receive in making these products also comes through to everyone that uses them!”
Vicki was kind enough to share her story with us on The Natural Beauty Workshop. Her wonderful story was followed by some intriguing questions and answers.
What are some of the signature products and elements of Walk in Beauty?
The Harmony Elixir Sprays and the Blessings line may best represent the unique aspect that Walk in Beauty brings to the natural beauty industry. Not only do I go to great lengths to create pure, synthetic and chemical-free products for positive physical benefits, there is an uplifting psychological and spiritually energetic component in all of the products. These effects are brought about by the use of aroma-therapeutic essential oils, flower essences from several repertoires, specially energized water, and the infusion of Reiki and Qi healing. I have certification in healing Qigong (pronounced Chi Gung) and training as a Reiki Master. I use these energies in all the products.
Another aspect that’s special is our use of fresh plant material in our soaps. For example, organic Sugar Pie Pumpkin is steamed, pureed and added to the Spicy Pumpkin Walnut Soap. Fresh raspberries are mashed (complete with seeds that act as a natural exfoliant) into the Raspberry Peach Smoothie Bar. I love using plant material in the soaps. Three types of mint, all of which I grow, go into the Peppy Mint Wake-up Bar. Wild-gathered Sagebrush leaves go into the Taos Sage Smudge Soap, and wild-crafted wild rose petals are added to the Wild Rose Bar.
What are your immediate goals?
My most immediate need seems to be finding a good helper! I have a very personal relationship with all the products, and am invested in keeping the environment where they are made and packaged very clean, and clear of negativity. I wish I could clone myself. One of me could work in the office, the other one could formulate, and another could do the packaging and shipping. A right-hand person hasn’t shown up yet.
Where would you like to see your company go long term?
It’s tricky to see where I’d like to see my little business to go long term. It’s like trying to picture your newborn as an adult. At this point, I am just hoping I can keep up with all of it as people discover the products.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced while seeing your company to where it is today? How did you face this challenge?
Figuring out how to formulate products that would stay stable using minimum emulsifiers and no chemical preservatives has been very important to me, and has been a big challenge. Trial-and-error formulating has resulted in some losses, of course, but ultimately it has been a good way to learn. I’ve been very persistent in researching natural ways to emulsify and preserve with specific extracts and essential oils.
Since I do see the products as skin food, I try to educate customers to treat them as such, to refrigerate when possible and to use them fresh. I recommend that all the products be stirred or shaken regularly. Everything is made in small batches, and I stay on the small side of bottling so products will get used up when they are still very fresh.
Where are your products available?
Locals drop by my studio or shop by appointment. I’ve just recently gotten the Walk-In-Beauty.net website up and running. Some products are in a gallery/shop called Taos Homegrown in Taos, New Mexico. They are also available at Milagro Therapies Spa in Las Vegas, NM , and Body Evolution Spa in Bellevue, Washington.
Please tell us why you purchase through FromNatureWithLove.com.
FromNatureWithLove.com was my first supplier when I began. This company had (and still has) the best selection! Anything I need, I can find there. Plus, it was such fun to try the free Fragrance Oils with every order. The prices are fair and they are always adding new up-to-date products.
Does your company have a motto or philosophy that you would like to share with us?
"There is beauty above you,
there is beauty below you,
there is beauty all around you.
May you always walk in beauty."
To "Walk in Beauty" is to experience "heaven on earth." Create heaven in your experience of life and you will experience a heavenly existence, right here and now. May I touch myself, my life, and all others with beauty. May I walk this blessed beauty way. Great Spirit, may I walk in beauty.