What's in a bag?
This hip, hemp little bag tells quite the story.
This little Eco-friendly bag took over a year to be completed and has woven together multiple lovely and unique people in it's development.
The idea came along initially from our friend and SoulCare blog contributor Karen.
She had 4 of our body mists and suggested a carrying case for them. We listened. We also heard from so many in our community about the importance of the materials used in all forms of product development, not just our body care ingredients but the packaging as well.
The research began. We surveyed multiple kinds of materials. Recycled, up-cycled, cotton, canvas, linen, wool, you name it we looked into it.
We created a couple different demo bags from different materials and asked Tom at CrossRoads Branding+Design who did much of our website and packaging design work and the label designs to create a logo for them. Tom, who is also a member of the Local First Business Coalition here in Phoenix and Jes worked together during the initial new website design and he and his wife and two girls became unofficial product testers for SoulCare during the process! Tom has even used the body balm as a hair pomade with hopes we make one eventually (thanks, Tom for your outside the messy haired fray thinking).
Finally we found the material that we knew would be rugged enough to withstand all kinds of travel, that was very eco-friendly and discovered the perfect supplier for it out of Boulder, Colorado. We went with 100% organic hemp. The ladies of Envirotextiles and their story of where they source the materials and why they started their company had us feeling all the sustainable green fuzzies. They were so friendly, helpful and engaged in our little project throughout the whole process.
Once we got the material we had to find someone to actually make the bags. We asked for a referral from the craft shop we often visit and the first card she gave us was for a lady named Zoe.
We spoke with Zoe and it was decided we would meet at her home where she worked from to talk about the design. She had a thick Greek accent and sounded like a cross between a Grandma and a savvy and successful business lady. We couldn't wait to meet her.
It was definitely a sweet Grandma who answered the door, we spent 3 hours together, mostly in her kitchen as she served all different kinds of traditional Greek treats. Zoe is a Greek immigrant along with her husband who passed away almost a year prior to the date of our visit. She was preparing herself for the ceremony they were to have a couple days later for him at her Greek Orthodox Church. Zoe had begun writing a book after her husband passed about their lives. She also had many poems to share. I shared some of mine with her as we ate all her olives and shed a few tears. When it was time to talk business, she switched gears and we got a design done. I of course got a Grandma sized hug as I left her home.
A few weeks later the call came from Zoe that the bags were completed and ready for pick up. I went over to get them with an empty stomach this time knowing the process of doing business with her.
We then took them to our embroidery and screen printer Micheal who has been running a small business from his home here in Phoenix for since 2008 and said hello to all his little hounds.
Along the way we also met a very talented Mom and photographer named Heather from Agnes Art and Photo who took incredible photos of this little bag and the rest of our remedies.
Then finally, a year later, this little bag was all put together, woven with it all of the stories of the people along the way who helped it become the first textile we have ever designed.
Karen appropriately received the first one ever made as a gift from us, we know she will appreciate and travel it well, we can't wait to see where it goes!
This bag and the carefully made products in the kits are a total combined effort of 6+ years of trial and error. We are proud of every stitch, ingredient and collaboration we have procured along the way.
This is small business. This is what it takes to source the right materials, find the right people and honor the connections made along the way.
So, what's in a bag?
Well, that is a story we felt needed to be shared.
We hope you enjoyed hearing it.