One bar of soap at a time – Part 1

wealthy@tri-statedefender.com | 9/13/2014, 12:15 p.m.

Carlee McCullough:  Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
Kimeli Wade: My name is Kimeli (pronounced K + Emily) Wade. My hobbies include reading, arts & crafts and gardening. I keep my family healthy with foods from local farms and medicine from plants. I was born in Knoxville and have lived in Memphis for most of my life. 
My business is called Gifts from Nature, which produces small batch handcrafted soaps made with natural ingredients that are known to nourish and moisturize the skin. Soaps retail for $5 - $6. Our soaps do not contain chemicals or detergents that rob the skin of its natural protective barrier and cause itching, irritation and dryness. We guarantee that our soaps contain ONLY the ingredients listed on the label.

CM: How did you begin making soap products?
KW: I ran across a soap making video on YouTube in 2010 and was surprised at how easy it seemed. Making my own soap, I thought, would be one way to cut household expenses. Before I knew it, I had TONS of soap, and was running out of storage space for it. I started giving it away to family and friends who fell in love with it and asked for more.

CM: When and how did you turn it into a business?
KW: After about a year of educating myself on the soap making process, and a few successful (and a few failed) experiments, I decided on a recipe that produced a great bar of soap. A few close friends made purchases and shared with their friends and family. I continued to read every book and watch every video on soap making I could find. Positive feedback and requests for more were coming in consistently. It was a slow process, as I could only buy supplies when I had a little extra money, which wasn't very often.  

CM: What are some of your products and what makes them unique?
KW:  Simplicity is what makes Gifts From Nature's products unique. Many soap makers use exotic (and expensive) ingredients, many of which most consumers have never heard of. Although these ingredients produce luxurious soaps, customers pay a hefty price for them. Gifts From Nature makes luxury affordable by using familiar ingredients that are not only known to clean and moisturize, but provide nourishment that results in beautiful healthy skin. 

One of our best sellers is CARROT soap, made with fresh carrot juice, which is rich in beta carotene, an anti-oxidant known to promote cell renewal, even skin tone and reduce acne. REHAB, another favorite, contains activated charcoal, which binds to and draws toxins, dirt and excess oil from the skin. The combination of moisturizing oils in all of our soaps leaves the skin feeling soft, unlike commercial soaps that leave that dry, tight feeling.

CM: When did you realize you had a product that people desired?
KW:  Carrot soap was the first soap I made for a specific purpose: to bring relief to acne prone skin. I gave samples to everyone I knew with acne, people with children with acne and even strangers I encountered in stores. The results were phenomenal, and interest and purchases reflected the same. People with sensitive skin and itchy conditions like eczema also reported that the soap brought them relief. This was definitely a sign that I was onto something great.

CM: How can customers obtain the product?
KW:  Gifts From Nature products can be found locally at Maggie's Pharm, 13 Florence Street in Overton Square, and downtown at K'PreSha Boutique, 323 South Main.  While our website is under construction, customers can learn about our products via Facebook, www.facebook.com/giftsfromnaturesoap; Twitter and Instagram, @gfnsoap.  Orders can be placed by emailing us at giftsfromnaturesoap@gmail.com. 

CM: Contact info:
KW:  I can be reached via email, giftsfromnaturesoap@gmail.com or by phone, (901) 691-0377.

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at jstce4all@aol.com.)