Katie Vance, of Wise Wife Soaps, graciously agreed to be interviewed for today's post. For all of you moms out there who have babies and little ones at home, you'll especially enjoy Katie's story of being a wife, mommy, and small business owner.
Katie donated a basket of her products to the huge blogiversary giveaway. The basket includes: bar soaps, a lavender roll on perfume, spicy bay rum roll on perfume, and some lavender beeswax lotion.
Click here to read a review I did of some of her products. You can follow Katie on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Green Grandma Interview Series: Katie Vance of Wise Wife Soaps
GG: What motivated you to start Wise Wife Soaps?
Katie: When my husband and I were first married, his skin was continually irritated from commercial soaps. This led us to start buying all natural and organic soaps. However, we were both in college and couldn't really afford those expensive soaps, so I started researching cold process soap-making and made my first batch in 2011.
GG: So when did you make the move from making soap for personal use to actually starting a business selling it?
Katie: 2013 was the "official" launch, however from 2011 to 2013, I perfected my soaps and made products for friends and family.
GG: What were you doing before you decided to do this?
Katie: Before I started Wise Wife Soaps (WWS), I did a variety of things. I was a substitute teacher, an administrative assistant at a hospice, and a preschool teacher... I hold a degree in English Literature and certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Aromatherapy. I guess you could say that I'm just a jack of all trades.
GG: That's quite a resume, Katie. So what is your favorite part of this job?
Katie: I love making products that are good for people, but that don't break the bank! When I see customers smell my soaps and try my lotions, the look on their faces says it all. I am happy to provide products that help others maintain a happy and healthy family without forcing them to spend a fortune.
GG: I know that's important to the folks here in the Green Grandma community. Most of us are looking for ways to cut costs while still paying attention to safe ingredients for our families. What makes your company stand out from its competitors?
Katie: So many soap-makers use fragrance oils in their products. At WWS, we never do that. We only use pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. Fragrance oils often irritate skin since they have an undisclosed ingredient list. When you think about "fragrance oils," think along the lines of "natural or artificial flavors in food, which can have numerous undisclosed ingredients as well. In my opinion, fragrance oils make even the best soaps not worth using.
We also craft castile soap from scratch. That means our soaps have a high percentage of, and most are completely made of, olive oil. Many soap-makers will use less expensive oils or unnatural fillers to make more profit.
GG: But surely, you're looking to make a profit, too.
Katie: Of course, but our philosophy is less about making money and more about making a product we can be proud of. That's why our slogan is: "Simple Ingredients, Better Beauty."
GG: You had a baby this past year. How do you manage to juggle being a wife, mommy, and business owner?
Katie: Each day, I try to set one goal. That may be for the business, for my home, or for my family. I achieve the goal, and then I move on. It makes me freel good about my time management and it also ensures that things still get done (even if it does take me a while!).
GG: I love that! I don't have any little ones at home, but I certainly have a lot of different coals in the fire and constantly struggle with juggling them. Setting a goal for different things every day could really help me focus. Thank you!
Katie: You're welcome. I also try to prioritize, which means, faith first, then family, then business.
GG: Ahh... we're now starting to understand the name of your business -- Wise Wife. You certainly have a lot of wisdom for your age.
Katie: Thank you. I'm very blessed to have an extremely supportive husband and family. My mother-in-law is our dedicated babysitter when I have craft shows and markets to attend. I make soap and products on the days when my husband is not working and I pack and ship orders in the evenings after my son goes to bed. Some days are tough, but it is always worth it!
GG: Do you hope to have more children?
Katie: Definitely! We are enjoying this season with our son so much and would welcome another addition, all in God's timing.
GG: How does your husband support you in your business?
Katie: Oh my, it would have been much easier if you asked me how does he "not" support my business! He tests soap for me, helps me at every farmer's market (he even arranges his schedule so he can attend each one!), watches the baby while I make soap, helps me think of blog posts, and the list continues.
GG: You're certainly blessed to have a partner like that! You mentioned your blog. What is the link so others in the community can follow you?
Katie: It's just wisewifesoaps.com. That's my website where I feature DIY articles, natural living tips, and recipes. There's also a shopping section where you can order the products I make.
GG: Obviously, you have a terrific husband. But who else inspires you?
Katie: I am inspired by "the wise wife" of Proverbs 31. While my business is called "Wise Wife Soaps," I am a wise wife in progress. This proverb teaches about a wife who is hard working, slow to speech, wise in words, and who fears the Lord.
GG: It sounds like you're definitely on the right path, Katie. Part of wisdom as a wife and mother involves keeping your family safe from things that could harm them. Does your commitment to safe personal care products carry over to other parts of your life, such as food choices, etc.?
Katie: Absolutely. In our home, we buy non-GMO foods, local produce, and local grassfed meats. We also use all natural cleaners (like vinegar), cloth diapers, and glass bottles. We believe that what goes in our bodies is just as important as what goes on our skin.
GG: You're continuing to imprint that "wise wife" impression on us. So, what are three ingredients you definitely avoid at all costs?
Katie: In my personal care products -- sulfates/sulfites, triclosan, and PEG. In my foods -- high fructose corn syrup, MSG (in all forms), and hydrogenated oils.
GG: Good choices. I think we could all learn a lot from you. But how about telling us something about yourself which may surprise us?
Katie: I was prom queen! Which was a big surprise for m, since I was a size 11 throughout high school and never the most popular girl. It just goes to show that being beautiful on the inside is much more important!
GG: This has been a fun interview. I really appreciate your taking the time to share a bit of your story with us. I have one final question: How long have you been a follower of Green Grandma and a member of the GG community?
Katie: Since 2011, when my mother-in-law gave me a copy of VINEGAR FRIDAYS. It was love at first read!
Don't forget to check out the 5th Blogiversary Giveaway for a chance to win some Wise Wife Soaps products and a whole bunch more prizes valued at $500+.