In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s been ten years and in others it seems like I’ve been immersed heart-and-soul in Earth Mama for a lifetime. This business has been like a child. Its birth only happened after a long gestation period. In this case I studied, gardened, blended and formulated, learning how to extract the herbal goodness from plants and use them in every way possible. And, like a child, Earth Mama didn’t come into this world fully formed, knowing its way around. Instead it had to learn how to navigate each little landmark, figuring how to turn over before it could crawl, developing new skills and knowledge along the way.
Earth Mama started at my home. My acre+ garden became the preschool for my herbal education and the kitchen became the university where I developed all the original formulas that would eventually become the foundation for what it is today. Just like a baby quickly grows out of newborn onsies, Earth Mama quickly required my kitchen, garage, and dining room. My husband built shelving in the laundry room that became the production area (with the washer and dryer at convenient counter heights for labeling).
The garage was lined with shelves for pick & pack and shipping supplies, and when we were bursting at the seams, we enclosed the carport which then became our shiny new production facility. Herbs from the garden were harvested daily and dried for tea, or infused in organic oils to be strained and used to make soaps, Angel Baby Bottom Balm, Natural Nipple Butter and Natural Stretch Oil.
Before long, the whole house was a-buzz every day as we stirred salves, blended teas, filled jars and bottles, and labeled them by hand to be packed and shipped at the end of each day. It didn’t happen overnight – it happened slowly – so it’s hard to tell the exact day Earth Mama morphed from a passion to a company. I do know that the day my very patient husband and I had to walk sideways down the hall to avoid boxes of jars and lids to get to our bedroom, was the day we looked at each other and laughed and knew Earth Mama had outgrown our house.
So after three years at home, my brother-in-law, husband, and I packed up a U-Haul truck and moved to Earth Mama’s new home. The commute to and from work was longer, but worth it to be able to finally cook food in our kitchen again.
My messy little office at home was crowded, and this picture of our last day there brings back so many good memories, but it was time for this baby to take her first big step! The last day the business was in our home was a little sad – I’d operated from “Earth Mama Worldwide HQ, serving the world since 2002” but it was time for her to make her way to grade school.
When we first looked at our new warehouse, the space seemed massive. But by the time we built all the racks, painted the floor and put up a sign, it was like we grew to fit the building.
Over the next several years we went from gingerly hand pouring lip balms and salves to more automated production.
The teas and bath herbs that were originally blended by hand were put into tea bags, boxed and won awards at their first big show.
And then, months later, expanded into a third building.
We’ve come a long way, but we’re not done. From navigating our way through organic certification to figuring out export documents, we’ve learned so much, and there’s more to learn. Every advance makes us happier, from soothing a neighbor baby’s bottom to seeing Earth Mama safely soothing babies in hospitals.
Where do we go from here? Maybe to the organic product equivalents of graduate school and then on to get our herbal doctorate! Who knows, but we’re glad to have the trust of so many mamas, and the inspiration of so many safely soothed babies to keep us motivated.