It’s Just a Name

You know, lots of folks approach me about the name of my business, Hemlock Springs Soaps and want to know if I put hemlock (the poison) in my products. ***OMG big eye roll inserted right here!!!***  Not sure I would have survived this long if I had been, but okay!

So, WHY? Where’d it come from?

Well, when I first started doing this on a part-time basis all those 17 (!) years ago, I lived on Hemlock Springs Road. It was my first house, first time living with another human being (eventually my other half!) and what a house it was!!! It was cheap, but the bones were good. Which was good cuz the previous owners were hoarders. I mean HOARDERS. That TV show could have learned something from these folks!!!   They left a van with no engine and stuffed full of cans of expired food for me to deal with (and that’s not all…..) Not to mention the filth. OMG I am cringing just recalling the work we did to clean that place up and turn it into a cute little home. It was perfect for the time, and launched us into the larger old New Englander we have called home for 11+ years. And while I feel like it was a hiccup in time, I never want to forget the importance (to me) of the name.

See, soap-making is more than just a process for me. It’s a soothing, cathartic feeling. Attending markets feels like a connection to old artisans and bakers who sold their wares to traveling folk and townspeople. Neighbors. Friends. So when I left the corporate world and thought “Why not give it a shot?” I struggled with the idea of changing the name of my little company. Originally, it was Hemlock Springs Cottage. I changed to “Soaps” to reflect more of what I actually do. Some days I wonder if I should have changed it to something more hip (a la “Soap & Olive Branch” – a naming trend I hope ends soon!) but it’s so not me – and it’s not where I made that first batch of soap.

But the idea of a cool bed of hemlock needles on a warm day, filtered sunshine streaming through the boughs, clean trickling streams with shallow pools…to me it’s the epitome of a wonderful feeling.

And I wouldn’t change that for the world.


~ Karen


More Getting to Know Me – Cat Edition!

Confession time. I am a crazy cat lady. And if not full-fledged, I am most definitely in the advanced stages of training.

We have a couple of working girls out in the barn, taking care of the little critters that like to try to come in during the cold months. They’re a semi-feral bonded mother-daughter team, and they are sloooooowly coming to realize we are pretty awesome pink monkeys (aka humans).

Inside the house is a mix of some of the hard-to-adopt kitties and handicats (kitties who have extra challenges). Over the years, we have had cats with kidney issues, diabetes, blindness, birth defects, three legs, bad cat-itudes, or just black cats that people think are evil (not our experience at all…our black cats are the goofiest and funniest cats).

Most of our cats have come from Kitty Angels, a no-kill shelter in Tyngsboro, MA. Every bar of Kitty Angels Soap I sell generates a $2 donation to Kitty Angels. It’s a beautiful blend of Rosemary and Peppermint Essential Oils. Rosemary signifies remembrance, while peppermint is a part of the family that includes catnip. Made with fresh goatmilk, it’s gentle and fragrant.


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Say hello to Steve Austin – one of our new Kitty Angels, helping me master social media.