It’s here, it’s here!
As announced last week, today is the official start of the Makers Series- a biweekly series that will feature some inspiring and talented women makers! So beginning today, that makes every other Monday, Makers Monday :)
I am so inspired by creators- especially when I can learn more about the processes behind their work, so it was really important to me to bring this series to life because the work just doesn’t magically appear. Often we see the the final product someone has created, but not necessarily what went into the creation process, so I’m really happy to have the opportunity to share this with you.
To kick things off, I would like to introduce you to the woman responsible for my smell goods- Maya Johnson of Herpothecary!
I happened to stumble upon Maya’s beautiful soaps last year when I saw her pop-up at the Spice Suite. Let me tell you… this is one of the rare times I wish the internet had a scratch and sniff option lol. I was already super drawn to her products by the gorgeous designs, but after experiencing them for myself- not only did they smell great, but I couldn’t get over how nourishing everything was! The cherry on top? Her soaps, butters, powders, and scrubs are all created with natural ingredients you can pronounce and that are good for you! I became an instant fan and told everyone I could about her! So now it’s my turn to share her with you :)
Your products are absolutely beautiful! What guides your decision-making when it comes to what you will offer and how the final product will look?
Thank you! The soap designs are definitely driven by the seasons as well as by things I see around me and in nature. Oh and lot of Pinterest color palettes! LOL
Walk us through the creation process. What does it look like from idea to final product for one of your soaps?
While it's usually ideal for me to draw a sketch of what I'd like the final soap to look like, lately I've been diving into the making process blindly and letting the colors and scents lead the process. So once I've prepared my lye solution along with my melted oils, butters and additives, I combine them with my stick blender until emulsified. I separate them into different containers and color each one with a different mica or skin-safe colorant. I fragrance each color and further combine them until smooth and cohesive. From there I start to pour them into my soap mold. Depending on the design, I'll either do a hanger swirl where I drag my swirling tool throughout the soap in random directions, or I'll leave it as is. I love gold on tops of my soaps and will usually finish everything off with a gold mica drizzle swirl. The next day, I'll cut the large slab into loafs, cut the loafs into individual bars, stamp, bevel and cure them for at least 4 weeks.
What is the soundtrack to Herpothecary (what's playing in the background when you're creating)?
99% of the time, some type of lo fi hip hop is playing as I soap. It's super soothing and really allows me to focus.
As a small business owner, sometimes motivation can ebb and flow. What slows you down and how do you overcome it?
Some of my soap designs can make me feel a bit stagnant at times. It can feel like there are only so many drop swirls one can do before all the soaps start to look alike. I like to keep it fresh by watching the trends in the soaping and handmade world and put my own spin on them to keep me inspired.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of running Herpothecary?
I love getting the testimonials and reviews of customers who at one time were loyal Dove or Lush junkies tell me that they've "made the switch" to making me their Soap Pusha lol. I never thought this would be a "thing" and it really inspires me to keep going to hear that something as small as a bar of soap really brightened someone's outlook on their self-care routine.
What's been your favorite entrepreneurial highlight so far?
Hands down, having the experience and chance to build and grow with The Spice Suite and the Spice Girls. Those women are SUCH a rock of inspiration and I doubt that Herpothecary would be such a "thing" without my tribe.
What's the most important thing you've learned so far about yourself as a maker?
I've learned that I'm pretty resilient, even as a die hard introvert. As this entrepreneur trend seems to tick up and I find myself surrounded by people from all walks of life who look like me, support me, or folks who would even be considered "competimates", its forced me to change the lens of which I view those interactions. I've had to pivot with more precision and intention. There are bumps and bruises but I've found those moments to be teachable ones that I've been able to grow from.
It was such a joy photographing Maya and getting to learn more about her creative process. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Maya a little better! And if you’re interested in experiencing her smell goods for yourself (which I do highly recommend), please visit her website, and follow her on facebook and instagram- she’s @herpothecary everywhere!
Let me know what you think of the new series! Also: stay tuned for our next Makers Monday feature on May 20 :)