Leah Ainley of Lone got the chance to sit down with Erica and interview her in person... here is the full interview on how our favorite soap is made and why this beauty doesn't wear makeup anymore.
So what inspired you to create Herbane?
I was just tired of using soaps with chemicals in them. I had thought about it for a long time and I had already started using many other natural products and then Matt’s brother gave us some equipment left over from a soap making venture awhile back. So I bought a bottle of essential oil and made the first batch at home, and that’s how it began!
That’s so awesome! So it was yours and Matts idea?
Yeah! He is the numbers and science person behind the idea and I am the creative.
Who would you say is one of the most inspiring people to you as far as a company or who you look up to?
Hmm, really just business owners that are doing really cool things, and just in general working to better themselves and anyone else.
Haha thats awesome. So tell me about your decision to completely stop wearing makeup!
Yeah I actually haven’t worn makeup in a really long time. And that’s not…well I know that you can buy natural makeup and its really cool to see how it’s made, out of beets and stuff like that but mine was more of a self-love movement. If you want to wear makeup, that’s great cause thats just what you do but I don’t. A previous boss said something like 5 times in a meeting, telling me to wear makeup and I was like, “No, I can’t. I believe it should be your choice.” They never really pressed it after that.
That’s really awesome. I mean, you don’t need it, you’re beautiful!
It’s not that I think I’m like breathtakingly gorgeous, mostly I’m just really lazy hahaha. But no seriously, its really so much better for your skin. I haven’t really even broken out in months! Like every once in a blue moon, but that’s really nice.
No I know what you mean! When I was younger I used to break out quite a bit because of wearing a lot of makeup but I have transitioned into taking several days off a week and my skin is so much happier because of it.
I just wear glitter and mascara when I go out, like to a concert or something. I did that for New Years, like I wore mascara and was like “I feel so fancy!”
As far as your beauty routine goes, what do you use on your face?
Well, I started transitioning products out at about the same time, because some of the products just felt like I was using plastic on my skin. But as far as a beauty routine, there really isn’t one. I made a cinnamon frankincense soap and both of those are good for your skin, so when I wash my face I use that and it helps tighten, in a good way, and really makes it feel great and normal.
I’ve also used frankincence on my skin! I love that.
I made a rollerball for a girl recently and she uses it religiously. She had really bad breakouts and it really helped with them. It was just frankincence and grapeseed oil which is non comedogenic and doesn’t leave your pores feeling greasy. I hate that, it makes me feel so gross when my skin is greasy. I tried a bunch of combinations before giving it to her to figure out what wouldn’t do that.
That’s so cool that you can work one on one with the people who live close to you and figure out what works for them!
Yeah, I research everything. Every bar of soap we make has hours of research into it. Guaranteed.
Very cool. What is the inspiration for a lot of the bars of soap that you make?
I try to think of an issue and then find an oil to combat the issue. Or sometimes someone will request a bar, like with the Citrus bar, my mom wanted that one so I made it. And then a lot of the local places around town I wanted to have a specific soap for every place, using things we eat every day that really appeal to your senses. If something tastes good, sometimes you want to smell like it cause it smells awesome. And the tea bars just feel great and they’re really pretty so thats a big one.
I just think that it’s so awesome that you started this business and it’s doing so well so quickly!
I feel like I’m always behind, so that’s nice to hear! I don’t have the outside looking in perspective so I feel like I’m always in a constant panic feeling.
As far as things you think that all of us can be doing to improve our planet and our environment, what do you think about that?
Well recently I was reading about, even things that are in your body products, they are going down the drain and I never even thought that far into it but even just like a super, super simple switch makes a literal world of difference. For your body and the lasting effects. Recycling is another way! All of our packaging is made out of cardboard so I’m definitely looking into ordering recycled stuff. I recently found some material you can plant - its kind of thin and papery, and I wish it was a little bit thicker but when your finished with the product you plant it and it’s full of seeds and then you can grow flowers out of your soap packaging, which is crazy. So I mean, that’s what I want. That would be really cool.
Yeah thats really amazing. It would be cool to figure out how to make it!
I’m not much of a gardener, but I’ve been growing some herbs for the soap. Sage, lavender and rosemary. So I make a crystal bar with sage and then rosemary is just my favorite overall.
Well all of your soaps smell amazing!
Well thanks. That rosemary lip balm that ya’ll sent is THE BOMB. I put cayenne in my coffee actually so when I saw my favorite essential oil in a lip balm with pepper - it was literally made for me. I like them all but I like the minty one and the pepper one the best.
Oh I love that one too! So, I know its always evolving when you’re a small business, but where do you see yourself going, or what is your purpose you want to accomplish or a place you want to be?
I want to be everywhere in a sense. I want to do custom things for companies, like tea soaps for the tea shops, coffee scrub soap for the coffee shop, places where you sell local art would only carry local bars, selling wholesale for bigger companies, matching scents for candle companies even. We are a completely all natural company though and I absolutely refuse to compromise on that, or put cheap oils in them. Really, when talking to people about the soaps, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t buy an all natural product - you’re spending the same amount of money and it’s way better for you.
I also think it’s important to have a strong local presence especially in Paducah which is registered in the Art City Unesco. The Lowertown district is full of art and I think that soap making is an art in itself. But then with the wholesale program, that can put our soap absolutely anywhere on a larger scale. We have the means to make a lot of soap, so we can and are doing that. We are at the local farmers market every weekend, but it would be my dream to pack up and go to all the art and music festivals and sell soap.
Um, count us in. You can find Herbane on their instagram - @herbane.naturals and Facebook, and if you want to try some of the prettiest and most amazing smelling soap ever, you can order through their online shop - herbanenaturals.com. Be sure and try a few of our personal favorites: the Lavenmarymint & the Provencal Earl G.
And finally, if you’re ever in the Paducah area, swing by the inspiration for many of the local soaps - Pipers for a delicious Early Grey latte, Etcetera for freshly ground & brewed coffee or Paducah Beer Werks for a seasonally brewed beer. You can’t forget the soap itself of course, it’s carried at The Golden Carrot, The Healing House, Terrapin Station, Troutt General Store and Bricolage Art Collective. Happy soaping!