Meet the Vendors Featured Blog Series
Ellington resident Marie Bedor, owner of Toes to Nose Soaps, is a true artisan –“one who produces something in limited quantity, often using traditional methods.” She blends ingredients like lye, herbs, oils and spices to create specialty soaps for holidays with names like angel, pumpkin spice and holly berry as well as bars of soap for everyday use that include china rain, raspberry patchouli and cranberry fig. Each bar is skillfully wrapped with a delightfully eye-catching label describing its scent to perfection. Many of the scents are so luscious that you forget you are sniffing soap and not a plate of scones, cookies, or a lovely sachet to place in your sock drawer. She also makes seasonally whimsical pieces like jack-o-lanterns or flip flops, and playful green dinosaurs that would make most children want to wash their hands as often as possible.
Each bar is skillfully wrapped with a delightfully eye-catching label describing it’s scent to perfection.
What made you want to make soap?
I work as a paralegal at a very small law firm and don’t have a lot of contact with people during my work day, so I combined my love of science – how things work and especially the chemistry of mixing things, with a desire for interaction with people. As my two children left home and I had more time for myself I found that I was drawn, every time I visited a specialty store, to the handmade soaps and wondered how they were made. Once I researched and tried it, I was hooked! I really enjoy trying different combinations and seeing the results. It took a lot of trial and error to perfect the process and I now know what mixes well and how to create what I want much more efficiently than when I first started.
Marie in the process of creating Toes to Nose Soaps.
Where do you get your ideas for a new product or scent?
Many of my ideas come from my customers. They will suggest different scents, or I visit other vendors and smell different fragrances and combinations of ingredients to see if I think they will work together. I do a lot of smelling!
Marie often gets ideas for scents from her customers.
What are the challenges you face in selling your products?
The biggest challenge I face is people who visit my booth and love the product, but don’t think they should spend the money on soap…I try to convince them that it is a luxurious but fairly inexpensive way to treat yourself…a guilty pleasure that combines aromatherapy with a creamy, handmade product that contains all natural, beneficial ingredients.
Marie also makes seasonally whimsical pieces like these flip flops.
Are there any other products you make and sell other than your soaps?
I also make my own lip balms, which are a natural offshoot of making soap, because many of the ingredients that can be used to make soap also can be used in lip balm, only in much smaller quantities, with a flavor oil added rather than a scent. I prefer to use unsweetened oils and I also leave some balms unflavored.
I make and sell Foot Fizzies, which came about when a friend who (didn’t even have a bathtub) purchased bath bombs and soaked her feet in them. I started making a smaller version of a bath bomb with essential oils that are especially good for foot health. Bath bombs are usually lavender scented for a relaxing soak in a warm tub. Foot fizzies, bath bombs and lip balm are all made with all natural ingredients.
Marie also makes Foot Fizzies and Lip Balms
Where do you sell your products, and how can people learn more about what you make and sell?
I sell at Ellington Farmers’ Market on both the winter and summer schedule and I also attend a select number of craft fairs during the year. I also will create specialty soaps for bridal and/or baby showers or specialty parties upon request.
Do you have any vision or specific goal for your business moving forward? None other than to continue to create products that my customers love and to continue to meet new people through the experience of having my own business. I enjoy being an entrepreneur and enjoy the creative process.
You can learn more about Marie’s company, Toes to Nose Soaps, by visiting her on Facebook or stopping by her booth at Ellington Farmers’ Market. She can be reached for specialty orders of gift baskets, wedding, shower or birthday favors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and smell some soap…you will not be disappointed!
Written by Margaret Cavanagh, 2015