American Made Profile | June 10, 2015
Little Flower Soap Company
Holly Rutt and her husband, Justin, first became smitten with the idea of making soaps and body care products for themselves. American Link shares the story of how the young couple’s personal interest project became a blooming business.
“Originally it was more like a hobby, because we were interested in soap-making, and in all-natural, healing plant-based versions of everyday body care products.”
“We saw a lot of great handmade salves and things come and go from our local food co-op and farmers’ markets. So, we decided to try and make our own muscle balm and lip balm for personal use. Our first batch of soap was given as favors to guests at our wedding in 2010. After that, we were hooked, and started offering the soap at local craft markets where it was so well received. Before long there was a loyal following, and a business.”
Holly smiled, “Nothing makes me happier than when a craft market client buys five soaps because they just couldn't decide which one they liked best.”
The Rutt’s only make products that they themselves are excited to use daily. Holly told me that Justin, a medical school student, “uses his knowledge of healing plants to create recipes that are the real thing.” And she loves the process of coming up with a lip or massage balm recipe that goes beyond their customers’ expectations. The goal? “Products that become must have, can’t live without favorites.”
When it comes to being au naturel, “There are lots of products out there claiming to be all-natural and implying that they are nourishing.... if you read the ingredients it’s true; they are all-natural but they are overly simply made to keep costs low. We ignore the cost of healing ingredients and just go for the best mix of arnica, aloe, shea, calendula, or whatever is going to do you good.”
How do American-made ingredients play a role in your business?
“Using American-made materials is important; but tricky in this industry, since the best essential oils are often made from plants that only grow in tropical conditions. For example, good tea tree oil comes from China or Australia. Shea butter is made from the kernel of a fruit that only grows in West Africa...”
“We only buy from US companies. So for example, the essential oils are sourced from Mountain Rose Herbs in Oregon. The origins are still foreign … but the wholesale company that compiles collections of awesome essential oils and butters are domestic.”
“We source all of our packing and shipping materials from a company in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and our labels from a company in Sanford, Florida. The cosmetic pouches are from a maker in Portland, Oregon.”
Though many of their key ingredients originate from outside the United States; the two support and believe in the workmanship of American makers.
“The American-made movement produces the highest quality, most beautiful, useful creations, no matter what the cost; because American Makers take PRIDE in their work. Our generation prioritized filling homes with useful, beautiful everyday items, not cheap plastic substitutes. It is the renaissance of the skilled manual worker, or artisan who can finally find fulfilling work that also pays the bills.”
Holly’s advice for those looking to make and sell products here in the USA?
“Make something you feel proud to put your name on and write down on paper the story of what you make. Products that have depth (a good back-story with purpose and meaning) will be more successful than a product line with breadth (making tons of things just to put more and more on the market).”
Find products and information on Little Flower Soap Company.
Credits // Author: Wendi Wendt - Photos Provided By: Little Flower Soap Company