Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pretty Little Soaps...and So Much More! Breezy Quarters on the Blog Today!

It was the name Pretty Little Weeds that first caught my attention. Not that it hadn't visually and sensorily already been hijacked by the look and scent of the soap itself.

I mean, who could hold a bar of Breezy Quarters soaps in their hand and say to themselves, "Nah, I'd rather use Dial?" Certainly not me. I left the holiday fair with 6 bars, 5 of which I gave as Christmas gifts. I kept Pretty Little Weeds for myself and am pleased to say, as we come to February, it's only just about gone. That's a lot of staying power for one bar! And Breezy Quarters now offers so much more than just soap! It's inspiring to listen to the story of how it came to be, and how a mother of two busy youngsters manages to run an ever-growing company today!

Paige Bowser, the force behind Breezy Quarters, was raised in Union, SC and lived there until moving to Greenwood to finish her degree at Lander University. "The thing that I've been involved in that has impacted me the most and would explain the most about who I am," says Bowser, "was the Marching Band.  I was in the Colorguard 9th - 12th grade and then was hired to assist and choreograph at Union High School, Emerald High School, and Abbeville High School.  None of these were really real jobs but the experience as a whole - all 12 years that I was involved - gave me a strong sense of self discipline, work ethic, drive, competitive edge, and the ability to take criticism as a positive thing, using it to improve myself and later, my business." 

A former middle-school teacher turned entrepreneur, the course of Bowser's life changed when she visited the Abbeville Spring Festival in 2007. "It was raining that day, and I was in a place in my life where I needed to learn to do everything.  Knit, spin, shear sheep, raise chickens, garden.  I was young... I guess I still am, but I was younger then.  There was a soapmaker vending at the festival, and I had actually never even smelled handmade soap before.  I guess I lived under a rock... the smell of lavender and rosemary was just amazing and I mentioned, 'Oh it would be so neat to learn to make soap!' The vendor was so generous that she let me come to her house in Anderson where she taught me the basics."

"She didn't give me specifics - no recipes or papers - but she walked me through the process: Weigh the ingredients; don't measure by volume;add lye to the water, not water to lye;  etc.   From there I did my own research and have experience a whole evolution of skill with soapmaking!"

And there is more! Breezy Quarters now offers a variety of products, including candles, lip balms, dryer balls, and the one I am particularly excited about - bath fizzies! (Two of my favorite things in the world are hot baths and bath fizzies!)

I'm lusting for these bath fizzies as I write!
And you can trust Breezy Quarters to keep things simple and as natural as possible. "My mom is a pharmacist, so I was taught to read labels. I've known my whole life that junk food is bad, too much salt is bad, preservatives are bad.  Now we have this whole cultural divide and shifting perceptions about what we use and consume," says Bowser.

Dryer balls!
 "My concern is not totally with things being natural, however.  Natural is great but the term is used so much now that it has lost meaning.  For example, arsenic is natural, but we wouldn't want to consume that in any form.  I like to be careful with that term - natural.  Wholesome is a better word, and the thing that has inspired me to try to be more wholesome would be my children.  Before we even considered having children, I knew that I didn't want to eat meat with hormones in it.  The documentary Food Inc. did a lot to open my eyes to what we are doing, using, consuming.  I like the idea that I can eat vegetables from Penny's Farm, and I can get my meats, dairy and other items locally from people I know and trust.  With this in mind, I like knowing I can be the one who makes soaps, cosmetics and other items."

Breezy Quarters at Aromas Village Coffee
Still, it is a giant leap from learning to make soaps to turning a hobby into a profitable career. How did Bowser manage? "I come from an entrepreneurial family; my house is known as The Potato Chip House because my great-aunts made snacks here to sell during WWII.  Their items were labeled The Goodiest Product.  If it was better English I would have used the same name for my company! Another name for my little piece of the family farm was Breezy Quarters, so that is where my company name comes from."

 Still, creating and operating one's own business takes more than talent and vision - it also takes a lot of hard work! "I don't think I'm meant to work for other people, but I'm definitely meant to work!" says Bowser. "There is nothing I get more enjoyment out of than being productive. That I can make products that help people, products they enjoy can enjoy and have fun with, that makes me so happy!"

And guys, don't think Breezy Quarters products are just for the ladies! Says Thomas S., a loyal customer, "My dad never liked any soap other than Dove before I started using Mr. Henderson The Amen Man soap by Breezy Quarters. I left it in the shower and he started using it and said his skin has never felt better! Neither has mine, and my acne has almost cleared up after using this soap." 

Breezy Quarters products are available via mail order at . Locally,  Aroma's Village Coffee  carries a selection of Breezy Quarters items, and Bowser adds, "People are welcome to contact me and make an appointment to visit the house and shop in the studio!" You can also follow Breezy Quarters on Facebook, Twitter, and for true visual eye candy, @breezyquarters on Instagram.

Now, with some rainy weather on our horizon, I'm ready to relax with some Breezy Quarters bath fizzies and a good book! How about you? 


Paige Bowser said...

Thank you so much Amy, I appreciate all your kind words and support!

Natalie Davis-Mcfarland said...

Paige is such an amazing person she is warm and caring, not to mention talented and crafty!!! I met Page at a holiday fair we were vending at last year and she's been very sweet!
Thank you for all YOUR suuport and kind words. Keep up the amazing work!!!