Musings on Anniversary Eve

You may or may not know that April 1st, 2013 is what I consider to be Hemlock Springs Soaps birthday. I left my previous job on April 1, 2013, and I went into the office to collect my personal belongings and last check. I’d been making and selling soap at fairs and online since 1999, but this was a huge step to living out my dreams.

As a young professional, I devoured magazines that had sections devoted to these special women who left their glitzy corporate gigs to move to the country and turned flea market finds into big business, or raising honey bees and selling honey, or perfecting jam recipes from their great grandmothers into a great little business.

I wanted to be that woman. And never believed I could do it.

I’d bought into the rat race…flashy car, motorcycles, lots of money to spend on gardens, etc. and I thought I could NEVER afford myself.

Well, in 2013 I knew I’d never have the chance to do try it, and I haven’t looked back.

And for the most part, I have NOT looked back one second. On occasion I miss having a steady paycheck. I would LOVE to have air-conditioning throughout the house and barn and not have to endure the heat under the market tents.

If you’re actually reading this drivel, and you have dreams you’re afraid to take to the next step, just do it. I do recommend having some sort of business plan. I drained a retirement account to pay off a home equity loan and had some cash to invest in supplies and have as a tiny little back-up for bills, but just. do. it.  The stresses I have today are nowhere near the stress levels of yesterday, and charting one’s own course is the most rewarding aspect of success.

But I am so happy doing what I love. So stay tuned. April 2018 is my 5th Anniversary of making it, and I’ll be dropping some special offerings along the way to help celebrate. And thank  you to all who have trusted me to make soaps and skincare for you, your families, and friends. Here’s to April!

~ Karen

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Baby Steps

Growing an online presence is a series of baby steps that are sometimes overwhelmingly baffling to me. Does that happen to you? Sometimes I’m making decisions based on “I hope this is right” instead of really finding out the details and understanding the process. For example, I *think* I finally linked my website and my blog! 😀

Baby steps are also a great way to approach skin issyoos. I generally favor a more conservative approach to addressing things like acne, dry skin, eczema, and rashes. As a kid who broke out rolling around in the grass, hives, allergic reactions to the weirdest things, it’s the simple stuff that works.

I always kind of stutter when people ask me for advice. Why? I don’t want to EVER come off as a snake-oil maker/saleswoman. If you’ve asked me for advice, I’m gonna tell you precisely what worked for me. And here’s my normal process for evaluating these types of things:

Does it appear to be an internal reaction or external reaction?

If external – was the skin thoroughly and use something like our Whipped Shea Butter. That stuff is amazing! A few weeks ago I broke out under my FITBIT. Had a bunch of oozy gross bumps. Washed it, put on a good dose of Whipped Shea Butter and immediately the itchiness went away, and a day or two later all of my bumples were gone!

If internal – do what you need to do for an allergic reaction. Doctor. Anti-histamines. Whatever. Don’t mess with that!

As for acne solutions, I usually recommend our Activated Charcoal Complexion Soap. Seems to help remove excess dirt and gunk from the skin, and the lavender/lemongrass/tea tree essential oil combo PLUS goat milk make for a soothing bar of soap. The other recommendation is our Lavender Oats soap. Again, it’s gentle and mild, and finely ground whole oats gently exfoliate dead skin cells and soothes the skin.

If those tiny little baby steps work well, you’ve got your solution. If not, remember to keep it simple. Throwing everything at a break out or an allergic reaction might only further irritate the skin. Completely the opposite of what you want to have happen!

~ Karen

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