Friday, December 5, 2008

Featured Diva Interview ~ with Nicole from Cottonwood Herbals

*A Note From DDIB: We love Cottonwood Herbals. The shop is amazing! It's hard to decide which product we want most. It's a toss up between the Peppermint Sugar Scrub and the Almond Soap. Being the spoiled gals that we are...we'll take both. LOL.

Nicole strives to create products that are top quality. She is to be admired for her work and for "Changing The World...One Lather At A Time!" Read the interview to learn more about her...(and be sure to take note of the name that belongs to her English Bulldog. So cute! LOL.)

Name: Nicole
Shop: Cottonwood Herbals
Shop url:

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a mother to two children ages 17 years old and 7 years old..oh, and to an English bulldog named Diva. After many years of working sometimes 2 jobs and being a single mother, I met the love of my life. I'm finally able to do something I love. I always had the belief that if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. And it's true!!

Give us a description of your business and the items that you offer:

My company offers handmade cold process soaps, herbal salves, lipbalms, luscious bath scrubs and more. I only use the best ingredients I can find, organic whenever possible. The whole idea of my shop is to offer products that are wonderful and not filled with chemicals. To offer a happy medium for a customer who is looking for a healthier alternative, who wants to learn about nature and herbs.

What are your bestsellers? Your specialty? Most popular items?

My best sellers are my Lavender Castile soap and my Calendula soap, which has organic calendula petals in it...yeah, it's beautiful and refreshing. The bath scrubs are incredibly popular as well. I offer these in many scents including letting the customer choose the scent. These are custom made for the customer. Fresh, moisturizing and gentle on the skin.

Are your items targeted toward a specific age group?

My items are for everyone! Gentle soaps and healing herbal salves that everyone can and should use. Skin is the largest organ in our bodies - we need to respect that and be careful what goes on it.

What inspired you to start your own indie business?

I had been making my soaps, cleaners and own laundry soap for years due to my daughter having severe eczema. I did not want to use steroid creams on her and decided I would try going back to nature first. Get rid of the chemicals and see what happens. It worked and after losing my job last year during the mortage melt down mess, my husband asked me what I wanted to do. That was easy - I said I wanted to help people stop bathing in chemicals. There had to be an alternative and one that wasn't all patchouli and hippies. I mean, hey, I like designer clothes and bags as much as the next girl - but that doesn't mean I have to harm my body for beauty. That's where I come in.

As an independent business woman, what keeps you motivated?

As a woman with children, I believe in living my life as a way for them to learn. It's a lot of hard work and being incredibly organized. We go on "weed walks" to learn about plants, we garden to learn how to grow our own food. I love learning...and helping others. Motivation? I love nature, the plants, the flowers and with every article that comes out saying how one of the products we all use that was previously thought safe is now deemed "possibly harmful" it makes me want to take the safety of my health into my own hands. Soap is a pretty simple yet incredibly important step to take on the journey to living a better and healthier lifestyle.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement thus far?

Starting a company with my own money. Taking the risk to believe in my own dreams.

What has been your biggest challenge as a business woman?

The hardest part has been learning the different software programs that are used for book keeping, inventory and more.

What do you believe makes a business successful?

I'm selling a product I use and believe in. No hype...just great products. I'm not some slick salesman. I'm just a woman who wants to make products you can feel safe about using.

Do you have any specific goals/plans for the future?

We will be expanding in a couple of weeks and really concentrating on our wholesale side of things. I'd like to be in grocery and health food stores. Affordable luxury so to speak. As I say...I'm out to Change the World...One Lather at a Time!

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for women out there who may be considering starting their own business on Etsy?

Test your products and know them inside and out! If you love the product you are selling - it's easy. Customers can tell!

Be organized from day 1!! Believe in yourself and success will come.

Tell us the best way to relax after a busy day of work..

Lock the bathroom door, throw on some music and take a nice, long bath - using Cottonwood Herbals products of course.

While growing up, who was your role model? Who impressed and inspired you most?

I've always liked women who did things on their own terms...Audrey Hepburn, Ani DiFranco...heck, even Cinderella went after her dream.

Give us three (3) words that best describe YOU:




Give us one (1) word that best describes your business:


What is your favorite quote, line or saying?

Amor Vincit Omnia (love conquers all)

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