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Thankful Sage Farm School

American Made Since 2011
2014 Crafts Finalist

Nichole Gerding

Newtown, Pennsylvania
Thankful Sage Farm School handcrafts organic small batch soaps, intentional beeswax candles, and limited run solid perfumes and lip balms.
Crafts, Nature Crafts
Finalist

Tell us about your business.

Thankful Sage Farm School was started out of necessity. I was a single mother working two jobs. My business was started at my kitchen table, in the middle of the night with thirty four dollars in the bank and soap supplies purchased by my mother. Today, my daughter and I have been solely supported by the hard work and devotion that has been put into Thankful Sage Farm School for over a year. It is my dream to be able to grow my business and preserve the simple, hardworking methods of how we used to live. This was the beginning of Thankful Sage Farm School. I now sell soap online and through several farm markets, and can confidently say that I have sold my products all over North America and Canada. It is the mission of Thankful Sage Farm School to handcraft organic and intentional products to be available to everyone, while raising awareness of simpler times.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

My studio is located in my home, a nineteenth century stone farm house. The details in my old home contribute to the creative process, mostly the agrarian feel I like to have in my products. Salvaged screen doors separate my work space from my home space, they have the responsibility of gently separating home and life from the shop. There is just enough blending. I directly sow most of the botanicals used in my products and borrow wax from my hives to use in my beeswax candles. There is a heavy kettle, used in the fall, brimming with my spoils from the generous bees. I will move this to front yard, hang over a tripod of savaged branch poles, and I will dip hundreds and hundreds of candles to sell over the holidays. A repurposed chicken nesting box separates cured and packaged soap bars, while shelves of curing bars in scents of dirt, wood smoke and pipe tobacco dry across the room. Over the fireplace, the sign over my first shop sits, a gentle reminder of the direction of my dreams.

What inspires you?

My interests are widespread and historically based. Having worked in domestic museum settings for most of my adult life, I grew to admire the hard work, the frugality, and the whole ingredients used in the past. The smell of the beeswax that was rendered from my hive, and the captured memories in scent also weigh heavy in my inspiration. Tattered china, broken flower pots and the smell of wood smoke in a wool sweater are some of the most inspiring things for me.

What makes your business stand out?

As a very young age, I collected piles of green acorns, gathered mint from the yard and made dye from walnuts. Later, I took a position in a museum, solely focused on the 18th century and I was smitten. I was hired to prepare and educate the public in Historic Foodways. This process touched every part of daily life, raising my consciousness about seasonality, sustainability, frugality and whole ingredients. I was taught about the garden, about bees and handcrafting soap. This lifestyle was not easy to integrate into modern day life. My little family returned to my childhood grounds, setting up home a mere mile from my acorn piles. Thankful Sage Farm School is special because it is not just soap and candles. It is an honest homage to how we used to live, and through scent, texture and whole ingredients, it is a reminder of simpler times. This company is a reflection of my insides, captured memories that I hold dear.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

If you an aspiring creative entrepreneur, don't be afraid to take the leap. It will be hard work, you will have questions. There is support.

What does American Made mean to you?

American Made means something wonderfully large to me. It means education: time is spent learning a craft, personalizing and making it fit in ones mind. Perseverance: torn hands, tired eyes and pushing the personal boundaries into difficult aspects of business ownership. Forward thinking: planning the next step, sowing the seeds of the next month and year. And bravery: taking the initiative to gather all of the other aspects of American Made, and showing it to someone, selling it and staying true to the original design and purpose. It is so important to preserve the American entrepreneurial spirit.

Comments (2)

  • Karef 19 Sep, 2014

    We should all buy American made for the holidays

  • thankfulsagefarmschool 28 Sep, 2014

    I agree. Supporting small and local businesses should always be the first step.

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