Interview with Kate Jones, Owner of Om Shanti Handcrafts

1. Briefly describe yourself.

“I live in beautiful Longmont, Colorado, directly east of Long’s Peak.
Just moved out here about a year and a half ago from Pennsylvania but I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life. I love the mountains; they…complete me, if that’s not too weird.

I love playing with herbs and oils. I seem to have an instinct for what’ll go well together. I’ll be putting together, say, a tonic cleansing tea with dandelion and nettle leaves, and something way in the back of my head rears up and says, “THERE SHALL BE RASPBERRY AS WELL,” and I’ve reached for the raspberry leaves before the front of my mind has truly processed what’s going on.

And then, it works. The jewelry, on the other hand, I just mess with until it looks right.”

2. Tell me about the products you currently offer and new ideas you may be brainstorming.
“I’d always had chapped lips anyway, and then, well, I moved to the desert. So the lip balms were as much a matter of sheer survival as anything else. Then I got into playing with scents and the rest is history. I could produce a new lip balm flavor every day for probably the next year without repeating or going away from the essential oils I use. But I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them all.

As for baths…I never took baths. Who does? Who’s got the time? Who can fit in the damn tub? …until I was gifted a small jar of bath salts. It was heavenly. I was the happiest woman on the planet. And then there were no more bath salts. So I made some.

I’ve got a new bath salts blend coming out soon — pretty much at the request of a friend, though I think it’s a great idea myself. Mulling Spices — she likes citrus and ‘spicy’ scents, so I went with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It’s grand and lovely and should be dry enough to put into jars within the next couple of days.

Speaking of new products, the soaps should be ready to post soon. Yay soap! We love the soap.”

3. What is your best-selling product?
“The lip balms. Apparently I’m not the only one gets chapped.” 🙂

4. How long have you been creating lotions and potions, and how did you get your start?
“For probably three years now. I started with the aforementioned bath salts; then a friend of mine inherited a bunch of essential oils, herbs, and bottles, and started up her own little business. In the spirit of good friendship (and because it all smelled SO GOOD) I bought a bunch of stuff from her. And then had to, y’know, “do” something with it all.

It’s all kind of snowballed from there. Yes snowball is a good word.
So is avalanche.”

5. What materials do you use to create your products?
“All-natural stuff for the herbal end of things. I don’t like fragrance oils — they make me sneeze. So it’s all essentials and absolutes and hydrosols. More expensive, but you get what you may for, right?

Organic when I can manage it, which is more and more often. Local when I can manage it, which is, alas, not very often. I’d kill (well, maim) for a local essential oils wholesaler.

As for the beads, I go to the bead shows down in Denver (and spend far more money than I’d meant to). I also haunt thrift stores and buy old jewelry to pick apart for parts. I do like reusing things, and since I really can’t with the herbal end of things, that really comes out with the beads.”

6. Why would people benefit from buying your products?
“Just about everyone I know could use some down time, a half hour to relax, just stop running around and sorrying about everything. Just about everyone could use a bath. It’s my goal — to help people slow down, take a moment to take care of themselves.

Which isn’t to say that I’m very good at practicing what I preach. I do manage to take a bath…maybe once a month.”

7. Is running your shop a full-time business or part-time hobby?
“As of a little over a week ago (Tuesday, May 20) it’s a full-time business. And I’m having the time of my life with it.”

8. Is your shop strictly an online business, or are your products offered in any local stores?
“They’re currently offered at CocoMichelle, a beauty salon here in Longmont. I’m planning to go around to other local shops as well.

I probably went full-time with my business a little early, but at the time I was working at Walmart and I simply couldn’t stand it any more.
Call it motivation to make my business work! I love it, even the piddly annoying stuff like dealing with taxes and such. I love it.

There’s so much to do when you’re starting a business — between paperwork for town, county, state and federal governments, bank accounts and accepting credut cards, advertising and such, doing shows. I work ten to twelve hour days and I’m certainly not making near as much per hour as I was even working at Wallyworld. But it’s “my” thing and it’s what I want to do, and that makes it all okay.

I find myself proselytizing the entrepreneurship thing — ‘Do it! You can!’ — and people look at me like I’m nuts. But then, I used to look at people who did this the same way.

Yesterday, for example, was about ten hours of uploading photographs to various sites, then adding tags, links and descriptions. Not the most exciting thing I’ve done, but necessary. And still, I kinda enjoyed myself.”

Check out Om Shanti Handcrafts products!


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