We are beyond excited and honored to have Amy Smith, founder of 407 Botanicals joining us Westsiders this weekend. Amy is very meticulous and takes such pride in her skin care line and it shows. Her products are not just one of my personal long-time favorites, but loved by thousands. Stop by her booth this weekend and learn why.
Come meet Amy, and many other local crafters, inventors and bakers this Saturday, August 4th from 10-4PM at the WestSide Market.
Business: 407 Botanicals
Owner: Amy Smith
Tell us about your business, how did you get started?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been creating things – everything from charcoal drawings and short stories to textiles and home décor. My creativity stems from curiosity (how is something made- what is the process), necessity (I need something and can’t find exactly what I’m looking for), and the impending challenge and joy of learning how to create something brand new. That’s really how 407 Botanicals was born. By chance, I stepped into a handcrafted soap shop about eight years ago. It smelled so fresh and beautiful. I bought a few bars to enjoy. This was also about the time that LUSH came out in our area, and as an avid beauty product junkie, I had purchased several LUSH products and became intrigued by the thought of creating my own, customized self-care products. But when I compared the LUSH products with the natural soap bar, I was amazed at the difference. The natural soap was gentle on my skin and the essential oils smelled so clean and fresh, unlike any other product I had used.
That led me to wonder why the natural bar was so superior. Do plant based products just feel better on our skin, or are they actually more beneficial to us on a deeper level? I began studying formulary and the amazing properties of plants – how they can improve the look and health of our skin and transform our state of mind through aromatherapy. I began caring for my skin exclusively with plant based ingredients and almost immediately noticed a change in the texture, feel and look of my skin, so of course it was an easy decision very early on to only work with natural and naturally derived ingredients. For several years, after everyone was in bed, I’d retreat for hours to my “studio” – literally our kitchen pantry (!) - to formulate and test new products. I began with cold processed soap and once I felt I had the perfect shea butter soap formulation, I moved on to more complicated skincare and lotion formulas. (I spent four years developing and perfecting what is now our line of shea butter lotions…every time people would tell me it was the best it could be, I would tweak it even more. That is the process for all of our products – many months are spent refining and testing each formula to insure it is highly effective and a joy to use)!
After enjoying a 15+ year career in the media industry in Indianapolis, the last couple of years had been brutal with a corporate buy out of our locally owned media group. After a particularly grueling and soul sucking week, in a series of rough weeks, my husband suggested that I quit my job and move to Madison, Indiana where we had purchased a weekend home the year before. I had not imagined that I would be launching a business at that time, but instantly I knew it was the right decision. I resigned my day job the very next day (which is very un-Amy like as I like to give every decision overly careful consideration) and within two weeks was headed two hours south in a loaded down car to this tiny but mighty, active and beautiful little town of 12,000 people along the Ohio River in the southern-most tip of Indiana. After careful preparations, 407 Botanicals was “officially” launched about nine months later.
How long have you been in business?
I began formulating our products five years before we “opened our doors” in late 2015.
What is your favorite part of running your own business?
I really love just about all of it – even the all-nighters, most of the time, as I am a night owl. I enjoy the freedom to chart your own course, tap into your creativity and imagination, and make your own decisions (and a few mistakes along the way too as that is part of it). I have always loved a great challenge, so learning how to run all aspects of the business – from developing a website, photography, packaging, product development, social media, etc. – although it can be overwhelming, it also makes for an interesting day just about every single day!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Many, many things!
- The beauty and quiet power of Nature, of course. We have a 125 acre weekend farm a few miles from the studio where we organically grow and harvest many of the botanicals we use in our products, so watching a tiny seed bloom into an amazing flower or herb that we can incorporate into our products is gratifying and gives me a sense of connection to the earth. It constantly amazes me the power that plants hold to improve the look and health of our skin and also our state of mind, which is why all of our products are plant based and almost every product we offer contains an aromatherapy component. We just launched five new Aromatherapy Lifestyle Blends that people can enjoy as part of their self care rituals or diffuse at home or at the office to help elevate their surroundings and invoke a peaceful, centered, balanced, or energized state of mind, depending on their needs). Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils for self care can be life changing and I get so excited to see others benefit from discovering this for the first time.
- My customers – I love meeting them face to face to hear how they use our products and what they’d like to see from 407 in the future. I have received so much great feedback and ideas – our customers are the best! It can be exhausting, humbling, and even lonely running your own business so when your customers tell you how much they love your products or how something helped them, it is a great feeling and makes all of the long hours worth it.
- The desire to improve someone’s day and knowing that we have helped someone slow down enough to take the time to really care for themselves. I love the thought that we can put a smile on someone’s face whether it’s from giving them fresh and healthy skin, uplifting or energizing them with the aromatherapy properties of our products, increasing their sense of peace when they reach for one of our beautiful glass vessels to take a relaxing soak or the enjoyment they receive as they gently apply one of our serums or creams before bed.
What are some of your favorite local businesses?
Some current favorites: Sloane Jewelry Design creates beautiful, modern works of art; JKM Soy Candles has come out with some beautiful new aromas and containers; The Paper Peony; B.Happy Peanut Butter, Grey Theory Mill, and Haven Paperie, Frittle (amazing traditional candy with a modern twist).
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I’m always looking for ways to improve our existing lines and create new products that provide new benefits. I’m currently working on a line of products for the home…i.e. think aromatherapy candles in beautiful handcrafted containers along with other products that beautify your home using natural materials. We have such an amazing, historic Main Street in Madison and a vibrant arts community. We also see lots of tourists from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville and the region for the many art and music festivals, home tours and other events that we host so I’m constantly keeping my eyes open for the perfect little historic building on Main Street to set up shop featuring not only my products but other indie artists from the region as well. Shop in the front and studio in the back – sounds like a perfect combination to me!
Where can readers find out more about your work?
Follow us on Instagram (@407botanicals), peruse our website where we feature info on the ingredients we use and our process, and sign up for our newsletter when you visit our online shop (http://www.407botanicals.com). I’d love to talk with anyone that has a question about our products, process, or ingredients or would like more information on caring for their skin naturally. Thanks!
Come meet Amy and learn how natural plants can make your beautiful for years to come, this Saturday at the WestSide Market.