More and more people are looking for natural alternatives to bath and body products which contain potentially harmful chemicals. Even some big name brand companies tout products which are “natural”. The Lowell community does not need to look far to find these earth friendly items and can support a local small business at the same time.
The Sudsy Background
Cindy Hanson is the woman behind Cindy’s Suds. She started making products for her family in 2003 as she spent time perfecting recipes before deciding to start her own business. In 2007 Hanson finalized a name and trademarked a logo. With products offered including bar soap, lip balm, bath bombs, sugar scrubs, laundry soap, body butter, deodorant and baby balm there’s something for everyone in the family.
The idea of making products for her family started when Hanson’s son was a toddler with eczema. Over-the-counter soap and lotion resulted in irritated skin. She says, “My background as a Physician Assistant helped me create safe and healthy recipes that really worked.” After seeing how her products worked she wanted to provide other parents with a natural option and was encouraged by friends and family to start a business.
Hanson is also earth conscious. “Our products are not only earth friendly, they’re body friendly as well! We only use 100% natural plant oils and butters to create our products, along with essential oils for scenting. We buy our raw ingredients in bulk to minimize packaging and shipping, and we sell our products with minimal packaging, all of which is recyclable. Every choice we make will either positively or negatively affect our bodies and the environment.” Her hope is to bring awareness regarding the amount of waste created once a product is used by showing excessive packaging is not needed.
Jo Salgat is the manufacturing mastermind for the business. Her time is spent mixing, molding, cutting, pouring, and whatever else is needed to get products ready for sale. Salgat’s says the Bergamot Citrus Sugar Scrub is a front-runner for her and sites Germ Guard right on it’s heels as another favorite. Jo also helps when Cindy’s Suds makes an appearance at events helping to set up and sell merchandise. “She has developed such wonderful products. I love to hear friends and customers rave about them.” boasts Salgat. Jo has worked five years with Cindy’s Suds.
Good Clean Fun
Each month approximately 25 orders are placed through Cindy’s Suds’ online store. Additionally, 3-5 wholesale account orders are received. Products can also be found west Michigan. Locally Bernard’s Ace Hardware and Mi Hometown Furnishings (upon opening) carry the brand. Other stores where these bath and body items can be found are listed on their website.
In 2016 Cindy’s Suds could also be found at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids once a month from spring until fall. May and November found goods being sold at West Elm in East Grand Rapids. November consisted of a show in Traverse City and the traveling set-up ended with Christmas Through Lowell. Each year bring different opportunities.
Keeping the experience with a brand positive usually results in loyal customers who recommend products to their friends and family. Cindy is always thinking about new products but is aware her customer base may or may not like something she’s thinking about adding to the lineup. “Just because I love something, doesn’t mean there’s enough of a demand for it to warrant the cost that goes into design production, packaging and marketing. We “test drive” new product prototypes on friends and family to get feedback and decide if a product has enough potential to go to market.” she says. But Lowell’s First Look was told a foaming hand soap is likely to be added sometime this year. Cindy’s Suds Facebook page is a great place to keep up to date.