Earlier this morning I introduced you to some new products from one of my favorite natural body goods and products line, Fig and Honey. Because I love their products, I wanted to kick off a new monthly Meet the Makers series: The People Behind The Goods with their founder Courtney Robinson Feider. Similar to The Good Life Snapshot interview series, I ask makers a series of questions about why they got started making and what advice they'd give to aspiring makers.
Why people make and how they get into starting their own business fascinates me. My mother was a mixed-media fiber artist so I grew up in an environment ripe for creativity: paper, yarn, brushes, looms, easels, and more were never more than a foot or two away from us. And, I've tried to replicate the same environment in our flat for Gates, encouraging her exploration with color and texture.
I'm always curious if other makers grew up in an environment similar to the one I thrived in, hence this new series. I hope you like it!
How We Met
I met Courtney Robinson Feider at Alt Summit Summer, a three day conference for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers held in Salt Lake City, at lunch on opening day back in June. She noticed I had irritated skin (the result of constant hand washing when cooking) and said she had just the thing! I'd tried a couple of lotions that hadn't worked, so I was curious. She introduced me to her product called The One. It tucked easily into my purse. Because it absorbs quickly, I was able to reapply it to the dry skin areas every time I washed my hands. I've been using this product as well Healing Mineral Makeup (solid foundation) since then.
Meet the Maker: Courtney Robinson Feider of Fig and Honey
What do you make?
Natural body care goods from food grade ingredients, essential oils, and upcycled by products from the beer and winemaking process.
When did you first start making?
Age 3 or 4. Honestly, it started that early. I was always mixing and inventing. Pre-cursor to this line was really my love with baking--looking at a simple recipe and remodeling it to be my own.
What challenges do you face (or did you face)?
It's tough to start a retail line on a start up budget. I have been utilizing income from my other business to pay for start up costs. But since I am focused on sustainable living and upcycled ingredients, it made sense for me to use income from another business to start this one with zero debt. It's a daily challenge, and my product is best in small batches at this point, so it will be interesting to see what options I have to grow the line with quality control.
How is what you make today different from what you first made?
I have used my own very sensitive and combination skin as a testing ground for all of it. If I can use it, just about anyone can. I have some confidence with tried and true recipes and can master a new one on the first try instead of the third or fourth try. I have mastered the basics and balance of aroma and texture. Small batch work is trial and error if you edit even one ingredient.
Why do you make?
It's my passion, connection, and it feels like my soul purpose. At a minimum, I am making great stuff for myself, family, and friends. The general public is responding with a lot of positive and wonderful feedback and business is growing swiftly.
Who inspired and encouraged you make?
My husband, my kids, my close friends who were the recipients of the first recipes. I stepped out and tried the very initial products at a small holiday market a couple of years ago and sold out every day all weekend. There is a need for natural body care made with love, for goods that are gentle, and use nutrient rich upcycled ingredients. It's timely.
What advice would you have given yourself when you were first starting?
Be gentle with yourself. You have to learn to fail successfully. Recipes bomb, people think they can make something like you just because they read about something on Pinterest. But you find your audience, you master complicated combinations that require education, and ultimately you help someone who felt they couldn't be helped. Then, it's all worth it.
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. Photo of Courtney Robinson Feider taken by Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit and used with permission.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products from the Fall Fig & Honey line for testing and for purposes of this review. All opinions presented are my own. I am not a Fig & Honey affiliate; I do not receive compensation for recommendations made in reference to the products mentioned. I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I received samples of Healing Mineral Makeup, "Fancy" Lip Shimmer, and The One at Alt Summit Summer from Courtney, and subsequently purchased The One and Healing Mineral Makeup (the two round tins shown in the photos above).