FLEAKIN' OUT WITH SPINSTER SISTERS
Over a decade ago, Spinster Sisters founder Kelly Perkins noticed a hole in the suds industry: myriad offerings chock-full of chemical cocktails, yet a distinctive lack of the handmade and natural variety. What started with soap has now swelled to a burgeoning family of healthy skincare concoctions, blended with the highest quality ingredients and dedicated to conserving the earth's resources.
What does your company mean to you?
I read an article—I guess it was in 1993—about commercial soaps and how bad they are for your body. I decided I would make soap that year for Christmas presents, and gave it out to all of my friends and family. All of the sudden, I had friends asking me to make custom flavors. Pretty soon, I had a stack of 20 bins. After my husband and I moved from Boulder to Golden, he said 'maybe you should try to sell this.' So I did a market, and couldn't believe how much I sold. It really evolved from there. I used to be a business analyst, and I told myself I'd just treat it as a hobby that I did on the weekends. When I started getting wholesale requests, it was more than I could handle. It's grown organically, but I love it—working markets you meet the neatest people, and I really enjoy developing new product. I just got really interested in natural products and how much better they are for you, and it means a lot to provide that knowledge to customers.
QUICK FACT #1
Healthy soaps, lotions, and potions made by hand in Golden, Colorado.
QUICK FACT #2
Fine ingredients, fair sourcing.
QUICK FACT #3
Smart, recyclable packaging solutions that help reduce waste and conserve resources.
What WAS THE STATE OF SOAP When you got started?
When I first started making soap, nobody made natural soap. I got a wild hair about it and did all of this research to try to find out the best methods of making it—I could only find about two books that detailed the process at the time.
What's Your Ingredient standard?
I only use natural ingredients that are easily recognizable. You know, most things you would have in your own kitchen, like coconut oil and olive oil. As far as healthy ingredients, I have a lot of favorites. In terms of sourcing, we use fair-trade shea butter through Global Mamas, we use sustainable palm oil, and we're introducing flax seed pillows—we worked with an organization that's part of the African Community Center called We Made This—it's a program where refugees are a taught a trade to make a living, and they'll be working on the sewing for the pillows.
Are There scents you find yourself drawn to?
I'm a Boulder girl, so I gravitate towards amber, patchouli, and things like that. I absolutely love the herbal, earthy scents of ours—like rosemary-mint, lemongrass-sage. We use herbs from my home, my sister-in-law's garden, she grows a lot of my rosemary. We're actually getting a grant from the city to plant two big beds out front. We have a large lot, and we're working on creating lots of tiered garden beds to grow even more of our botanicals. We're growing the lavender, the mint, the sage—there are things we can't grow, but whatever we can grow, we grow here.
WHAT IS SOME OF THE BEST FEEDBACK YOU'VE GOTTEN?
A lot of it comes from customers with skin sensitivity. I met a woman recently who told me about her daughter—she was three years old and had terrible eczema. She was telling me how awful it is to see her crying because she was so uncomfortable, so I just gave her some body butter and said 'try this—if it works you can buy more and if not, just throw it out.' She's been a loyal customer since then. I gave another customer, an older gentleman, a tin of shea butter, and every three months his daughter reaches out to get more. We don't produce those tins anymore, but I continue to make it for him because it's been so effective.