Herb Garden Naturals is a woman-owned company located near the shoreline of Connecticut. We can see the water in the winter if we go to the top of the rocky hill behind our house and peer through the branches. It's about a mile off, as the seagull flies.
Did you notice I mentioned a hill? we're 65 feet above sea level, so when the waters rise, we'll still be here making soap - on our own little island, probably, but we will not be under water!
The creative energy behind Herb Garden Naturals is Stony Creek, CT resident Carole Barber. That would be me. This company is an infusion of all the paths I have walked in life: an herbalist, an historian, a scholar, a writer, a photographer, an artist, a pastry chef, a gardener, a beekeeper and an entrepreneur. It's as though I put everything I know - and everything I still want to know - into a blender and hit "frappe" - and ended up with a soap company!
Making soap is a chemistry project, much like making a proper beignet is - and you can just as surely get a cheap bar of soap as you can a simple doughnut. You don't see "chemist" as one of my skills - and I should add it - except that making basic soap is not much different than making a basic doughnut. However, there are doughnuts - and then there are my beignets - and there is soap and then there is Herb Garden Naturals!
When all of those parts of me mixed themselves altogether, my soap became much more than a chemistry project. Each bar is good for your skin, gentle and cleansing and pleasing to the eye and nose.
I add herbs that are known by herbalists (and chemists, by the way) to have particular properties so my soap is more than just a pretty face. I add salt from the Dead sea, and special clays, seeds, oats, pumice.
My scents are primarily from essential oils of real plants, and our creams are now using different hydrosols we distill from herbs grown here in Stony Creek: lavender, thyme, comfrey, French marigold, English marigold, oregano, peppermint, catnip. Of the 52 products I make, in only six recipes, do I use fragrance oils (which are phthalate free and listed on the label) either because the essential oil is crazy expensive, or the original scent was a fragrance oil and I haven't been able to recreate it with essential oils. By the way, this industry is only required to list the fragrances used as "fragrance" on the label. Herb Garden Naturals lets you know what we actually, specifically use.
"We" are also my husband, Doug Colter, who is the guy who does everything I ask him to do - for the business, for the gardens, for the dogs and cats!. From helping me make soap to planting the herbs, from going on cold calls with me to building my soap molds, I couldn't do this business without him. His presence makes it fun (and he has his own full time job to keep him busy)! and together we just keep on creating like the two creative people we are!
We also have friends who help out from time to time. One good friend, Robin, makes regular deliveries to one of the food co-ops that carries our products. Another friend, another Robin (truly!) takes samples to stores to do "demos" and talk about Herb Garden Naturals. She is adept at fielding all sorts of questions about the soaps, creams, bug spray and lip balms.
And I would be remiss not to mention the retail stores who carry our product and the fine salespeople who believe in our integrity, as well as all the customers who have supported us as we continue to grow. Connect to these great stores on Facebook to actively support your local small business! We have a page listing the places we currently sell our products outside of this website. (click here)
We've been making soaps and creams since 2008 and have been in retail stores around Connecticut and eastern New York state since 2011. In 2014, Herb Garden Naturals found several new homes in western Massachusetts, so we are coming to a town near you!
Please let us know if there is a store you'd like to see us in - and let your favorite store know you'd like them to bring us on board!.
Thank you for visiting our new webstore! We are always working out kinks and count on you to help us not be too kinky!
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