Back in the spring of 2004 I was a happy little cloth diaper maker who was buying this great wool wash from another WAHM sewing along on my merry way and giving out samples with all my wool covers. Then one day in 2005 I got an email that she was closing shop but selling her business. Well in 2005 there weren’t many WAHM wool washes out there and I loved this one so it was only natural or so I thought that I should buy it. I casually mentioned it to an online friend and we decided to try together. Long story short she sold it to someone else.
Then the other friend mentions why don’t we make out own so together in 2 states hundreds of miles apart we decide to do just that. It was in my kitchen that the liquid wool wash and spray lanolin for Sheepish Grins was born. Unfortunately I was also getting ready to move with 2 small children and one Coast Guard Hubby from Cape Cod, MA to Charleston, SC. My partner wanted to grow Sheepish Grins big and fast and I wanted slow and small so I could move then get adjusted. In the end we parted ways (she later went on to sell Sheepish Grins) so we could remain friends.
A few months pass I’m settled in our new home somewhat and lonely and nearly out of all the wool care products I made before the move. I need to make more for myself but I also want to stock my store but what do I call them they have no identity anymore. I pose the question to my little online group of mommy friends. One of the suggestions is LANA BELLA loosely translated to beautiful wool in Italian (which I am partly) interestingly so wool was also used as currency during the Renaissance period. Its perfect!
So you see it all started with wool washes. The per Pelle idea came to fruition a few months later when I needed to figure out gifts for relatives 1000 miles away on a very tight budget so I pulled the lanolin tweaked the recipe some and the very first of the skin care bars were on their way to CT. During the same time I was involved with a wonderful produce co-op and someone was mentioning some skin issues and I mentioned my soaps which had been working so wonderfully on my own daughters eczema that one bar gift of soap opened the door to a whole new market for me a market not online but in the real world. A similar situation happened a few months down the line in early 2006 at my chiropractors office and thus my first brick and mortar location. although it was farmers market style with a basket of my soap and an envelope it got more of my soap out in the local area.
I began playing with more herbs and teas and natural pigments more and more and by 2008 I was growing all of the herbs used in my soaps. Along came early 2009 and the salves really were launched other than just the diaper balm and others here and there as people needed them. Spring 2009 came the herbal teas and pink lip balms.
Currently far away from that local market I fell in love with and residing in Baltimore, MD I’m feeling a bit misplaced but have stumbled across once again hopefully at the right time a group who could help me really turn this overrated hobby shop into a real business. I will always look fondly of those days where I feel I really got my start sitting on the grass in the sun surrounded by great friends and sounds of laughing, playing children with a basket of soap being passed around and ideas of things to come.