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."
"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.
"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."
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 www.BreezyQuarters.com . 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?