Sometimes, a farm grows more than food. Sometimes (many times), it grows indelible friendships. And sometimes (but not often enough), it grows self care. Here’s what happened on Springdale Road on Austin’s east side a few years back. Glen and Paul Foore bought a piece of property and put a farm on it. It is a pretty piece of land with big, shady trees and a little house up front where they sold vegetables twice a week. They built a big house in the back and it was warm and lively with a big kitchen and a fire pit out front. People came for dinner, to help out at the farm, for community events and weddings, and to arrange vegetables in dramatic displays on farm stand days. One of those people was local food activist Carla Crownover, and over those days on the farm and nights in the big house, Springdale Handmade, a line of farm-focused, seasonal natural care products, was born.
“We were making personal care products for ourselves and as gifts because we knew what you put on your skin is as important as what you put in your body. People were very interested to see what we were making and we started getting requests from folks who wanted to buy what we were making,” says Carla. These days, Paula and Carla can be found whipping up soaps, salves, and other natural personal-care products on a regular basis. Many of their products are seasonal, as are the homegrown herbs and flowers they use in them, and all of their products use all-natural fragrances and essential oils.
We met up with this dynamic duo recently in the soap kitchen with some questions about what inspires them and how the magic happens – read on for insight into the most local self-care products you can find!
Who are some of your business heroes – locally and/or nationally – and what do you admire about them?
Locally, we love the founders of Farmhouse Delivery. And over the years, the people we’ve met through our food community have inspired us with their passion for growing clean, organic food and making products that reflect those values.
What is your long-term vision for Springdale Handmade?
We want to continue making small-batch, high-quality products. We’ll keep doing it as long as we’re still enjoying it.
Which product is your bestseller & why do you think people love it?
The Calendula Salve is a bestseller. It’s kind of a magic trick for any skin issues. And of course, the all-natural soaps that we started with continue to be popular.
Which is your favorite product?
Carla: Goat milk soap! It’s so creamy and moisturizing!
Paula: You can’t go wrong with a soy candle! I love our Chai Spice scent for the fall.
Have you made any flops or products that didn’t make the cut?
We’d rather not talk about that time we did a spin on Irish Spring Soap. But cautionary words: basil essential oil is some powerful stuff.
What does a day-in-the-life of Springdale Handmade look like?
We check inventory around town, do a little social media, plant and harvest herbs and flowers, make the product, deliver the product, bookkeeping. But definitely the most fun we have is making products together.
How do you come up with the formulas and product recipes?
For soap, we have a tried and true base recipe that we developed over time. Any tweaks to the formula must be run through a lye calculator. For fragrance and additions, we look at what’s in season. Other products came about from things we wanted in our own households and created for ourselves.
What’s something new you’re looking forward to trying?
We are having fun playing with cardamom essential oil and have a goat milk soap scented like Chai curing right now. We are calling it our Chai Latte soap. We can’t wait to try it!
Contributed by Farmhouse Delivery co-founder, Elizabeth Winslow.
You can find Springdale Handmade products at Farmhouse Delivery HERE.
For more on Springdale Handmade, you can find them at www.springdalehandmade.com