Photograph: Tara's Grandfather
When I was young, I always dreamed of being a teacher. I loved knowing that I could help others learn and grow and I hoped my support and encouragement would influence those I taught to live a more positive, happy life. As a child, I also remember watching my grandfather in his large vegetable garden. He was a gentle and kind man who nurtured the plants that grew, and once I tasted his fresh produce, I knew that one day I would have a garden of my own.
Fast forward to 2008. My family and I had been searching for a property in the country for almost 14 years as we wanted our kids to experience a taste of the country life we had experienced when we were growing up. The 5-acre heritage farm on Pleasant Corners Road was perfect! There were extensive gardens which included a pond on which the kids could skate. I remember sitting outdoors one day sipping on a cup of coffee and I remarked to my husband, “I wish there was a way we could share this beauty”.
In 2010, I received a bar of homemade soap from a good friend. When I learned that she had made the soap, I became intrigued. Not only did my family love how the soap made our skin feel, but I thought it would make a great gift for my friends and family for Christmas! My friend lent me some equipment and sat by my side as I created my first two batches of soap (one was lavender and one was honey almond ~ ironically still two of our most popular scents!) The gifts were a hit and I began to sell some of the bars locally at craft shows. When I needed to create a logo for the business, I wondered what type of symbol I could use that would represent me, my passion, something memorable…and an image of a monarch butterfly popped into my head.
Summer brought life to our gardens and I began to realize that some of the herbs could be dried and added to natural bath products which would complement the soap. Customers who stopped by our home by appointment or chance could walk around our property and often times, I would bring them on a guided tour to explain what herbs were growing and how they were used. The heritage farm provided a perfect backdrop!
Photograph: Tara & her sister Brooke
|About one year after I started making soap, my sister showed me her hands. I was shocked! For years, Brooke had struggled with extreme eczema and had tried everything to keep the eczema under control. Her hands were clear – the eczema was gone! When I asked her what product she had discovered, she told me she had been using my soap. Why did it take a year? Like many people, she had stock piled soap (been given gifts etc) and once she was only using homemade soap, her condition cleared. Not all eczema is caused by chemical irritants, but in her case, switching to an all-natural soap bar did the trick. Years later, we continue to hear from customers who discover relief from some of their skin irritations. In fact, it still makes me smile when someone comments “I have sensitive skin – do you have anything for that?”. We all have skin; it’s not sensitive – it’s skin. The trouble is that many of the bath & body products found in stores today contain cheap, harsh chemicals which are not meant to go on our skin.|
There have been many changes to our business including a retail shoppe that was built on the property in 2013 and our latest renovation to our house in 2016 which allows all of our products to now be made in one room that is separate from our home. I feel as though pieces of a puzzle have slowly been falling into place and my business has become our business. A fantastic team now makes up Garden Path Homemade Soap and every year we grow and transform. But I won’t forget our humble beginnings and I am thankful for each person who continues to help make this journey so awesome! I’m sure my grandpa would be proud.
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