Tell me a little bit about yourself.
We are a rural small business located outside of Arcanum, Ohio. We are a husband and wife team who specializes in homemade soaps, beeswax-based balms, and handcrafted leather and waxed canvas bags/totes. Since we are an actual farm we grow about an acre of seasonal produce that we sell at our local farmers market in Arcanum. We have 3 beautiful children who help us out in the garden and sometimes help sell our products at the markets and festivals.
How did you start your company?
One summer after having a bountiful harvest of our vegetables we decided to set up a stand at the Arcanum Farmers Market. The first weekend we paid for all the seeds and starts so we kept going. We had been making all natural beeswax lip balm for over 7 years and giving it away to family, friends, and co-workers as gifts. Our lip balm was such a hit that we decided to sell it at the farmers market as well. We felt that making lip balm wasn't enough so we decided to do make hand balms, vapor balm and multi-balm which worked wonders on our son who suffered from eczema. Customers would inquire about making soap, so we then decided to make homemade lye soap. Our product line was growing so we knew it was time to make our company official. The following year we wanted to sell some type of reusable produce bag for our customers to carry their fresh vegetables around the market. We wanted it to be a bag that will last a lifetime! The waxed canvas wood bottom market tote was created. Just like the lip balm, it wasn't enough, so we traded an old skid loader for an industrial sewing machine, which allowed us to work with heavier canvas and leather, creating backpacks and duffel bags.
What inspired you?
Just simply growing something, creating something, crafting something and selling it locally. Our produce is grown the way our grandparents and their grandparents had grown produce, of course with the exception of a tractor/tiller. What inspired us to make our balms and soaps is just being able to create a product using natural ingredients, no artificial colors/flavors/fragrance, knowing that it is much safer on the skin than the mass produced products found on the shelf that contain ingredients that we cannot pronounce. Our inspiration for designing the bags was to create a product that with proper care could last a lifetime.
What is the mission of your business?
To persuade people from all over that buying local is important. We actually trademarked our logo, "be a localvore" hoping that it would get more people to hop on the bandwagon and consume locally. We want our customers to get MORE than what they pay for, a product that will last a very long time.
What are your plans for the future of your business?
We would like to expand our bag and tote lines into luggage. We love experimenting with different essential oils, creating new scents for our balms and soaps. Eventually, we would like to open a store front.
What is your favorite aspect of your business?
Interacting with our wonderful customers and meeting new ones during the farmers market and artisan events. We enjoy creating something for a customer that he/she requested and knowing that they have a unique, one-of-kind product that no other person has. It's an awesome feeling when customers come back and tell us that they love our products and want more!
Any advice for aspiring designers?
Design what YOU like. Odds are very good that there are other folks out there that like what you like and will buy your product.
Who inspires you?
All varieties of craftsmen and artisans. Leather workers, machinists, welders, blacksmiths, farmers, painters, etc.
Was designing always your passion: what ignited it?
No, not really. Creating something with our hands has always been our passion. The designing part of it all comes with trial and error.
Where can we find your work?
We have an online store at www.burningmaplefarm.com. Our growler totes and hops lip balm are sold at Moeller Brew Barn and our wine totes and lip balms are sold at Kennedy Vineyard. Our lip balms and other balms are also sold at a local pharmacy and consignment store.
What is your favorite piece?
That's a moving target. It changes every time we create something new. Right now we are in love with our messenger bag that converts into a backpack.
How would you describe your style?
Our style relates heavily to a rural lifestyle, outdoorsy. We also like to incorporate aspects of old world designs into our products.
Is there anything else you'd like our viewers to know?
Eat Local, Shop Local, Create Local, Be a Localvore.
What do you hope to gain from your membership with OCC?
More exposure to other areas that we haven't reached. We hope to get our products in a few more hands, on a few more lips, or on a few more backs! And may we inspire more people to be a localvore.