Happy April, friends! Let us introduce you to another lovely, local Rooted artist, Carrie, of Second Spring Naturals. With Mother's Day coming up, and the overall feeling of spring, freshness and renewal, we wanted to highlight her wonderful natural bath and body products. Carrie has been a part of Rooted for years, and we have found that customers who try her items fall in love with them! From her thoughtful creation, quality ingredients, and amazing scents, there is something for everyone! Here is a little more about her, and her business, Second Spring Naturals...
Where are you currently located?
Lincoln University, PA.
How/why did you decide to start Second Spring Naturals?
Here is a link to my story:
I was a teacher for 20 years and busy raising three boys. Women have a lot of responsibilities to juggle, from work to childcare to all of the 'thinking jobs' like remembering who needs a doctor's appointment, when are parent conferences or what's for dinner. On top of that, I was always kind of an overachiever in that I wanted to not only be a great teacher to my University students, but I also wanted to present with my colleagues and write book chapters. Eventually, stress takes a toll. One summer, I turned 40 and decided I would finally take the time I needed to rediscover who I actually was under all of the running around ...which led to essential oils and making self-care products like soaps and creams in an effort to feel better and relax for a minute. From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to own my own business and unbeknownst to me, while I was busy trying not to be busy, a business was born. I never looked back and I love it every single day, even on the hard days ...because it fuels my soul and lets my creativity soar in a way it never could before. Life is good these days.
What were your first products?
My shea creams were some of the first products, and those babies took me over a year to formulate. I reverse engineered every cream I ever loved and came up with a combo of ingredients that I knew would work for me in a version that was new and checked all the boxes - meaning, they would sink right in and be rich and creamy, but not leave any grease behind. Products take time to manifest. I once had to throw out a five gallon bucket of cream I ruined while trying to scale up. I'll always remember standing on a chair with a drill whip in my hand, over a huge bucket of cream, fighting back tears and spraying cream all over my husband who had come into the studio to find out what in the heck was taking down the house. LOL.
How do you come up with new products and fragrances?
I find inspiration all around me. It could be a scent I'm trying to recapture from childhood or the colors around my favorite place -- a travel memory from Europe when I was a kid or during my studies in college. I love to write and have taught English for so long that words and quotes kind of circulate through me as a general rule, so the name might come before the scent. Take Baseline for example: it's what I wanted to represent as the starting point of a woman's day, her foundation from which she builds her empire, so to speak. To do something like that requires a strong core, a baseline. What would that smell like? Fresh, clean, nourishing and also healing and empowering, hence the tea tree and aloe with a touch of clover for luck. What does it look like? What I see in my head when I think about it of course -- a solid core of activated charcoal with a light, beautifully whipped top.
Do you have a favorite product that you make?
That's a tough one. I would have to say the shea creams. I love watching the water phase and the oil phase come together to form this beautiful, perfectly white cream with steam wafting from the pot. I always look forward to taking the lid off the next day and finding the finished product, all thick and ready to use. I'll always love making soap, of course, but there are days when you put in a ton of physical and mental effort and a soap just doesn't do what you want it to. It's a love hate relationship with those buggers.
What would you tell people are the main reasons that they should use body products with natural ingredients?
I like to say that natural soaps just make you feel better. It's a thing. I mean, once you have showered or bathed with that creamy goodness you just can't go back to that detergent stuff on the store shelves. It feels so good on your skin and you know what oils are in there, plus with custom fragrances and essential oils you can layer with natural creams to create a signature scent while also being a little crunchy granola, you know? Natural creams are paraban-free alternatives to those commercial brands with a million ingredients you can't pronounce and the balms are simply magical on your lips and skin. When you see your skin adapt and change you know something is working. If you can use something natural that your skin loves, why wouldn't you?
With Mother's Day coming up, is there a certain item you would recommend as the perfect Mother's Day gift?
I love Best Day and Gratitude for Mother's Day. Citrus just speaks to morning memories for me, particularly during the holidays. When you get an emotional connection like that it has to find its way into the soaps and creams like scent memory - at least that's what I believe, but I'm a little bit woo woo so take from that what you will. Hello Beautiful creams and soaps are another nice combo and have that light, soft scent so many women have come to love.
What are you looking forward to most this spring?
Starting my new tiny soapery in Chesapeake City! I watched that tiny house of my daydreams near the water and imagined myself there surrounded by bubbles and people walking dogs, so I kept in touch with the owners for years until it finally became mine. It is adorable and located smack in the center of my happy place.
What do you find is the greatest benefit of being an artisan?
The ability to craft my own day, my own schedule and constantly exercise my creativity. The other very best part is connecting with other artisans. I have met so many amazing people since I started this journey, many of whom have become friends.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone trying to start their own small business?
Just do it. Don't research your life away; just go to a place like Score and find out the basics and then read books by Tim Ferris, Jen Sincero and others who know what's what. Listen to podcasts on your walks or at the gym and get a mentor, someone who has been through it. Most of all though, just start and then tweak -- and then get back up when you fall because you will do that, too, from time to time. Which brings me to this last piece of advice: Don't choose to start a business around something you don't love because that love will be tested some days and it's tempting to quit, if you truly love it, you'll do it even during the days when money is flying out the window and it feels like no one wants to buy your things. An artist friend in NYC sent me a print to hang when I opened my studio in my home and she had written me this letter at the time about the hard days - urging me not to let them bring me down. I didn't get it then, but I soon found out what she was talking about. Her advice to keep going resonated and that letter, along with others from artisan gal pals around the country, hangs on the wall in my studio kitchen to remind me nothing great comes without effort and occasional heartache. In the end, and during the ride, it's worth it.