My Lil’ Bean Q&A: Karin from Homestead Herbals

Among the many benefits of working with small business owners, one of the great things is hearing their very personal stories of how they came to make the amazing products that you see in our baskets. As part of a series we’d like to share those stories with you. We’re thankful to have Karin as our first guest!

How did you begin making your own soap and massage oil?

I have been studying/practicing herbalism for more than 15 years, both through mentorships and more formal education routes. Herbalism is a passion that grew out of my love for organic farming, interest in working with healing plants, and desire to create healing herbal remedies for my own family. Soap making was a natural extension of herbalism for me – it combines both art and science, and I can incorporate botanicals from my gardens, and pure essential oils into each soap batch for added medicinal and aromatherapeutic value.
I am also trained as a post-partum doula and have been providing several local midwifery clinics with herbal healing products, like massage oils, baby salves and herbal bath blends, for their clients to use.


What makes your process unique?

The herbs used in my products are largely grown by my own hands, in my own garden here at Little City Farm. We use organic methods, practice permaculture and soil fertility building, and know our plants intimately so they can be harvested when at their peak. My herbal oils (which are used in the soaps) are made using the traditional solar infusion method using only the power of the sun, and steeped for a minimum of 6 weeks. Everything is made in small batches, by hand, with love and intention. There are no synthetic colours, fragrances, additives included – only pure organic oils, botanicals, clays and essential oils.
 What do you love about your soap and massage oil?
The Calendula soap is a favourite in our soap collection. Calendula is one of my absolutely prized herbs as it has so many benefits for us – it offers healing properties to all manner of skin conditions, including eczema, dry skin, rashes, burns, cuts and scrapes. The Calendula soap is not only healing, but beautiful in appearance, gentle, and safe for all skin types, even a young child’s skin.
The Joyful Mama massage oil is wonderful for soothing a mother’s nerves, easing headaches, aiding anxiety, and uplifting the spirits. It is one I like to give to all new mothers, and have used for myself after my two pregnancies.
 What inspires you to use natural ingredients in your products?
In our home we are very careful about what we eat (we grow most of our own food, and otherwise buy organic, local, seasonal, fair trade) and I feel the same way about what we put on our skin. I want my products and their process to have a low impact on the earth, as well being safe for our health.
Karin and Daughter

What is the most memorable gift that you’ve received?

There have been so many thoughtful memorable gifts over the years. I would have to say the handmade ones tend to stand out the most because they are so personal – ones where someone I love has spent their time writing, creating, crafting, or building something with me specifically in mind are very special. For example, one Valentine’s my husband filled up our entire kitchen with paper hearts dangling from the ceiling, each with a special message handwritten by him on it. And when my daughter was 5 years old she crafted a lovely imperfect beaded bracelet for me, and was so proud about giving her creation that she had it wrapped and ready 10 weeks before Christmas.  These thoughtful unique moments will always be remembered.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a unique baby gift?

I would suggest choosing something that is made locally, or if not locally then fair trade, in order to support small-scale artisans in their efforts to earn a living. Choose a gift made with natural materials like wood or wool or organic fibres (please avoid plastic!), that will last and become an heirloom – or that is made with organic ingredients so that the gifting you do does not have a negative impact on the earth or the home of the people you are gifting to. Also, consider giving gifts that are consumable or experiential since so many of our homes are already over-filled with well-intentioned gifts.
Thanks to Karin for taking the time to answer our questions! You can find her Calendula soap and Joyful Mama massage oil as a Gift Set or included in the Nature’s Baby Gift Basket.