My goal is to provide natural, safe and environmentally-friendly body care products that support outdoor recreation throughout the seasons.
“Sustainability” is one of those words, used in so many different ways that its definition may seem obscure. It is, in fact, multi-faceted: touching upon our environment, people whom my practice directly or indirectly impacts, and longevity of my business. This is known as a Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet AND Profit) and influences every decision I make from the source of ingredients in my products and their packaging, to when and where I perform my business. These values are interwoven within every fiber of my practice, because believe meaningful work contributes to sustainability.
Here are some ways that I work towards my goals:
- Local: I harvest or purchase many of the herbs I use in my products locally, growing my own whenever possible. This keeps the product line seasonal, supporting a role in permaculture and small business development for the community.
- Ecosystem: I use biodegradable ink and labels, and the paper for the soap label wrapper is embedded with wildflower seeds. The handmade lotka paper is made in the highlands of Nepal by rural craftspeople in an environmentally friendly process. An important factor in my material selection includes Fair Trade.
- Biodegradable/Recycleable/Reusable: The deodorant, sunstick and lip balm come in biodegradable paperboard tubes with push-up bottoms so you can apply the product directly and compost the empty container with your kitchen scraps or toss in the recycle bin. A few of the salves will be in leak-proof, reusable tins or glass jars with metal lids, which can be repurposed to store seeds, buttons and other things once you’ve finished the product. Single-use plastics are entirely avoided in my product line.
- Transparency: I believe what you put onto your body is as important as what you put into it. I research the source of my ingredients to also ensure that they do not contribute to a cycle detrimental to the environment. I seek out distributors who share my values and I maintain detailed batch records with Material Safety Data Sheets, include full ingredient listing on the product labels with their Latin/International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names so that the consumer can make the most informed purchasing decision. I even share some of my recipes and materials processing in my blog posts, because I believe much of the product’s benefit comes from their ingredients. With a bit of formal training and insurance, I follow FDA guidelines and good manufacturing practices with the support of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild. I use natural plant or mineral-based ingredients that have no detergents, animal products or fragrance oils and I do not test on animals. Each formulation has the percentage of Organic Ingredients listed.
- Public Sales: It is important for me to share my product because it fills a need in the community and to support my own business model so that I can continue to press forward. I sell wholesale to local businesses, direct to consumers at local farmers’ markets, craft shows and outdoor recreation events, in addition to my online Etsy shop. I enjoy meeting new people and making collaborations. In addition to cultivating wholesale opportunities between my own outdoor excursions, I’d like to grow the business into a shared retail location, stabilizing sales and providing meaningful work to one or two staff in the near future.
- Donations: To support environmental awareness, I regularly contribute to various volunteer or non-profit organizations that support animal rights and outdoor advocacy with meaningful donations. I often promote their cause on my facebook page and am extremely grateful to be able to do this!
I’m an artist, music-lover, foodie, adventurer and philosopher – I love to engage my senses! The first time I made soap was sometime around 1999. The aroma of high-quality essential oils suspended in air like freshly baked bread instantly floored me. Yet, it was nothing compared to the smell of cold-process soap that would continue to develop as it cured over several weeks. This curing process represents to me to the many years I continued honing my art. What started out as a hobby to the satisfaction of my friends and family, quickly became the soundtrack to many other facets in my life, often overlapping with my outdoor adventures and urban homesteading. As my own needs changed with new adventures and regional climates, so I continued to adjust my products to suit these needs. Through persistence and a bit of formal training, my quality and style continued to refine and it wasn’t long before I was called to meet the demands of friends’ friends. Finally, I launched my Etsy shop on November 29, 2013, started selling at craft fairs and wholesale to local businesses in summer of 2014. I am inspired by nature, forever its student, and it is my muse. I guess you could say I’m “curing”, too.
Eryn Hughes, Owner