Etsy is a website for artists and crafters to sell their creations. One aspect of Etsy are teams. I am the "captain" of the Smoky Mountain Team. Awhile back I offered to feature team members on my blog. The first features is Second Spring Soaps. She offers an appealing array of soaps, lip balms and crocheted washcloths. Check her shop out here.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, for starters, my name is Milly! I am a wife, a mom of a sweet two year old boy, a student at ETSU, and I run a soap shop called SecondSpringSoaps. I was born and raised in a small town called Rogersville, TN, and I am so proud to be from Appalachia!
2. How did you get started making your soaps and lip balms?
I have always known about lye-based soaps. They are a staple in Appalachia. In fact, I remember using lye soap on my face as a teenager. I became interested in making my own soap when I was pregnant with my son after learning more and more about how chemicals can effect a gestating baby. I read and read about soap making, and finally began making it about two years ago. I started making lip balm about a year ago, and my recipe came after loads of trial and error, but I love it!
3. Explain a little about your process.
Soap making is all about measurements. I start off by using this soap calculator (http://www.soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp) and double and triple checking my numbers before starting. I use the most high quality oils for my soaps, and if I use tallow, I render my own tallow from fresh suet. I make most of my soaps using the cold process method, which means that I combine my oils and lye/water and mix until they "trace", or become a consistency similar to pudding. The soap batter is then scented and dyed, and poured into a silicone mold. After two or three days in the mold, the soap will be a hard loaf that can be cut into bars. The bars then cure for 6 weeks before being photographed and wrapped in cellophane.
4. How is your product different from others who make soap and lip balms? What is special about your product?
Well, I love my soaps because I use lots of bright colors and fresh fragrances! I love color, and I love seeing all kinds of colors in soap. My soaps are scented with bright, fun fragrances, like Lumberjack or Green Irish Tweed, as well as classics like peppermint/tea tree or Lemongrass. As for my lip balms, the recipe makes all the difference.After much tweaking and trial and error, I have created a fantastic lip balm recipe that is the perfect combination of a hard balm, but a smooth glide on the lips. The balm is made from three ingredients: beeswax, deodorized cocoa butter, and coconut oil, so there are no artificial preservatives. I have two distinct lines of lip balm in my Etsy shop: the first is a line of lip balms which are flavored with edible essential oils, such as grapefruit, peppermint, and clove. The second line of lip balms are made from man-made flavor oils, like cherries and berries, or creme de menthe. The two different lines give my customers loads of choices. And, in the near future, I will be debuting a new line of lip balms made with infused plant matter, like green tea-infused lip balm!
5. Do you sell your product anywhere else?
I love craft shows! Most recently, I was at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, TN, showing off my soap and helping to raise money for the Farm and Home Building. I will also be at the Heritage Days Festival in Rogersville, TN on the weekend of October 13. I am looking to do more craft shows as time goes on.
6. What are your other hobbies?
My son, my Etsy shop, and my schoolwork tends to keep me pretty busy, but I do have a few hobbies that I manage to squeeze into my day. :o ) I actually love to play video games! I also love to cook! I knit and crochet as well, and I hope to start a knitting project for my sister sometime in the near future.
7. Do your have a special saying or motto?
"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." -Buddha
8. What is important to you?
My family is the most important thing to me in the entire world. I love my husband and son more than anything in this world. I love music, a good novel and a cup of hot coffee, and a long walk in the park. I love color and art. And I love a long, hot, bubbly bath.