SWCreations Artist Spotlight – Body Divine This is the first in a series of interviews designed to spotlight women who run creative businesses from home while rearing their children. Michelle Hurd has agreed to visit with us for this interview. I think that you’ll agree that shehas a fascinating story.
This is the first in a series of interviews designed to spotlight women who run creative businesses from home while rearing their children. Body Divine’s Michelle Hurd has agreed to visit with us for this interview. I think that you’ll agree that she has a fascinating story.
Body Divine has specialized in soaps, moisturizers, and home spa products made with only natural ingredients and essential oils for over seven years.
As Michelle says, “Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It requires care just like our heart. To strengthen the heart we exercise it. Our skin’s health is directly related to its moisture content. It needs vitamins and minerals (food), and TLC! I have formulated my products with natural ingredients that provide this.
Here is Michelle’s story:
SWCreations: How long have you been selling natural skin care?
Michelle: I began to research the art of soapmaking in 2000 just for fun. Shortly after that one of my sons had several different rashes over the majority of his body. After many visits to doctors, who treated him with steroids, I took matters into my own hands. By changing his diet and using completely natural soap, lotions, and bath salts (that I made myself) his skin condition cleared up. Friends started requesting the soap!
I studied Chemical Engineering in college for several years, so I understand chemistry. Creating soaps, lotions, body scrubs, and masks that have beneficial properties and feed the skin cells was fascinating. I continued my education and experimentation and developed a line of products that are used by naturopaths and other health care providers. I began studying about healing the skin when my other son suffered third degree burns over 17% of his body. Certain oils and essential oils help the skin’s cells grow and affect both scar tissue and skin color.
SWCreations: What sparked your interest in essential oils?
Michelle: The natural healing properties of essential oils and the fact that they are soothing, both physically and mentally. I just take a whiff of lavender essential oil and my shoulders relax and pleasant thoughts can come to me. I use essential oils/aromatherapy for minor illnesses for my family such as colds, stomachaches, headaches, insect bites, and as insect repellent. I also use them for relaxation. I started learning about aromatherapy in the early 90s.
SWCreations: What makes your soaps and lotions unique?
Michelle: There are unique properties in each oil I use in formulating my products. I use aromatherapy principles in selecting scents and botanicals that are in the products. Some soaps are for fun and provide TLC, some soaps soothe the skin, others are formulated to help things like eczema and dry skin bumps or deter insects. The Bath salts provide minerals and relaxation . While the soaps sound functional, they are made beautifully with natural colorants. You will feel the difference on your skin. My soap bars last much longer than commercially made soap bars. The image and professionalism of the products differentiate them as well. My ability to communicate the benefits and educate the consumer is what sets Body Divine apart.
SWCreations: Do you have a favorite oil or soap, and why?
Michelle: I am indebted to Emu oil — it gave my older son added elasticity (reducing the amount of skin grafts) and softened the scar tissue. I have an Emu soap bar, which is lovely and healing! My favorite soap bar is the Massage bar. It is a timesaver — you get cleaned while you soothe your muscles with a massage. I love it on my feet. The best oil for your skin is Olive oil and I use it in all my soaps and scrubs. By itself it is too thick and can clog pores, but mixed with other ingredients it provides a breathable, protective layer for your skin.
SWCreations: What was your biggest challenge that you had in setting up your business?
Michelle: My biggest challenge has been juggling my craving for knowledge and product development with the need to educate people about my products and take care of the business. Those two aspects of business require different skills.
SWCreations: What is your day as a home business owner like?
Michelle: It was overly full until I established work hours to keep myself from checking emails one more time, and so on. I have a separate room at home for Body Divine HQ. I try to leave work at work!
SWCreations: What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
Michelle: Personally, my biggest accomplishment has been raising two sons (aged 10 and 12). Professionally, my biggest accomplishment is that I have developed Healthy Skin seminars in order to educate people about ingredients in commercial products, what to look for in natural products, what that means, and the top five chemicals to avoid in skin care today. It is, in a nutshell, education.
SWCreations: Do you have any exciting plans “in the works” that you’d care to share
with the readers?
Michelle: My lastest product is a lotion stick, a “solid” lotion. It looks like a giant lip balm. The heat from your body melts the oils into your skin so you have a protective layer on your skin and just the right amount of moisturizer. Ingredients include emu, jojoba, avocado, mango and shea. Look for November issue of Texas Monthly magazine. They will showcase several Body Divine products in their “Holiday Wish List” section.
SWCreations: Where do you see your business in five years? In ten years?
Michelle: In the next five years, I hope to continue to improve the effectiveness of my products and develop complementary products. In ten years the kids will be gone – expansion time!
SWCreations: Do you have any advice for others who might be interested in setting up their own business?
Michelle: There is a difference between crafting and owning a business. Make sure that you want to own a business. It can quickly own you! Start off slowly to test the water. Create an image for your business through consistency of a logo, business cards, written documents, the Internet. Join support groups such as the American Business Women Association, your local Chamber of Commerce, and groups in your area of interest. Think positive! Ask for help.