Shop Local Spotlight: Sweet Home Bath & Body
When I first met Tina Ames, Owner and Maker of Sweet Home Bath and Body products, I learned very quickly how genuine, delightful, and passionate she is. She was standing by her table of mason jars and metal tin candles with scents like apple caramel crunch, pumpkin honey chai, and apple harvest. My debit card was out before I even took the lids off to smell them!
From the moment I lit my first candle to when she hand-delivered candles to my apartment, I knew I wanted
to support this local business. Her love of all things natural for not only your body, but for your home, is so very evident through her incredible products.
I was able to sit down with Tina and find out more about her journey from making soap as a hobby to quitting her corporate job of 15 years and dedicating herself full-time to Sweet Home Bath and Body.
Q: Tell me a little bit more about yourself.
A: Well, I was born in Dallas and actually lived in Michigan for less than a year when I was one (It still counts! Michiganders REPRESENT!). I met my husband when I was a 15 year old rocker chick; he was the lead singer of a band! Growing up, my father showed us love through hard work which is why I think I work so hard on what I am extremely passionate about.
Q: When did you start the company?
A: This all started in September of 2015. I had been making soap for 5 years and after so many friends and friends of friends wanted my soap, I decided to raise money for different charities and donate the profit to them.
Q: What was the motivation for this?
A: I wasn’t happy at my corporate job… I loved working with people but the job itself just wasn’t for me. I knew deep down I wanted to be home with my kids and I actually longed to homeschool and be my own boss. I kept asking myself, “What am I showing my kids?”, “What am I afraid of?” So, I decided to make a 3-year plan, and by the end of my daughter’s 5th grade year, I was going to start my own business and begin home schooling, and that is exactly what I did. I took as MANY free continuing education classes on small business at Collin College. I wanted to show my kids if it’s a dream and it’s for the good of things, nothing can be wrong going for it!
So, I went for it.
I have been doing Sweet Home for 1.5 years now, full-time, and I work harder than I ever have, but I love what I do.
Q: Why did you start this company?
A: Well, I was already making soaps but then I started looking at my products at home and realized how much unnecessary junk is in products for our bodies. I was about to light a candle once and thought, what am I lighting? Educating myself made me more and more aware that I want better for my family.
Q: Are you in any stores?
A: I am about to be at Painted Tree Vintage Market in North Richland Hills and I am in the Feathered nest in Downtown Plano as well as Soho McKinney. I keep myself busy with lots of shows like Boho Market, Flea Style, and the Pinners Conference & Expo in Atlanta as well as here in Arlington.
Q: Do you do this alone?
A: With the exception of AMAZING friends and sometimes my daughter if I need the help, I run this entire company by myself. From the website to all of the recipes, marketing, labeling and even packaging!
Q: Tell me who you think your target audience is?
A: I would say it’s the everyday person who wants something simple and healthy for their body and home without crazy, fancy, harmful ingredients. That goes for women AND men.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: My dream would be having a storefront in Downtown Historic Plano with a room that has windows so customers can see me making products, teaching classes, helping other small businesses and handmade goods sellers.
Q: I know this is a loaded and difficult question but, what is your favorite scent?
A: It has to be Egyptian Amber! It has a rich scent of vanilla, musk, and sandalwood, with a touch of jasmine, lavender and orange. It is elegant and sexy! (Trust me people, it’s amazing.)
Q: … your favorite thing to make?
A: SOAP! It’s something about how the chemicals happen together and it turns from just an oil-base to a soap to clean your body. Some places use the same base for all their soaps because it is easier/cheaper/more convenient. Not me. Each one of my soaps has a different recipe! For example, the Oatmeal Milk and Honey bar has real goat milk in it and the Farmhouse bar has lard that I hand-render and triple filter, sourced from a local butcher.
Q: … and your favorite packaging?
A: It has to be soap again. The packaging wasn’t always so cute. Now, it’s eco-friendly packaging from recycled cardboard!
Q: That brings me to fragrances… can you tell me more about that process?
A: I have some standard fragrances but I also like variety. When I first started, I would hand out scents to my friends to see which ones they liked. I had to learn the hard lesson that not everyone is gonna love everything and it’s not going to appeal to everybody.
But since day one, I have had Love Story, Oatmeal Milk and Honey, Egyptian Amber. Every quarter, I like to try to do new scents and I even try to do new scents for seasons. I should have new summer scents coming soon! I always try to bring back popular scents during certain times and also new scents as well.
Q: Tell me more about what ingredients you use to make your products
A: I use essential oils and fragrance oils from great suppliers and reputable companies. Each place I order from I have access to all the ingredient lists and I make sure things are sourced the way they’re supposed to be. Sometimes, I blend essential oils myself but some are already blended for me. All the ingredients are listed on the products on the website!
Q: What is something unique about your company?
A: Last year, for the Pinners Conference, I wanted to make something to stand out in a crowd full of DIYers. I created a DIY Bath Bomb Kit. I put my youngest daughter in a room with my test kit to see if she could make it with the directions I had made. She helped me tweak some instructions and it was a hit! Some people asked me, “Aren’t you afraid that people will take your instructions and start their own company?” No! I want the 12-year-old girl to try to make it, because she will see exactly what she’s putting on her body! I want to educate kids about this kind of stuff.
I was able to see first-hand what a working evening looks like for Tina, and I was impressed. I learned so much during our interview, especially the importance of knowing what goes onto our bodies. I highly recommend her products and am glad to have met such a great female Texan business owner!
Also – did you know that it takes 6 weeks to make soap?!?! MIND BLOWN. The longer it cures, the more gentle it becomes and the longer it will last. I guess it’s kind of like fine whiskey; it gets better with age.
My biggest takeaway from our interview: “Don’t let anything you think is too small, stop you!”