Wandering Thistle Peacock Swirl
Hey Yall, once again I have had the opportunity to interview a very wonderfully creative entrepreneur. Please come along and get to know Theresa Mendez with Wandering Thistle.
TPS: Theresa, what is the name of your company and how did you come up with it?
Theresa: You know it is an interesting journey into my psyche. I absolutely love wildflowers, they just grow where they land, taking root in some of the craggiest places. I have always admired these tall, strong, resilient, but prickly purple thistles. It seems they could withstand anything. The flowering top is always welcoming to butterflies to be nourished or to sit a spell and rest. But if someone tries to destroy it through mishandling, grabbing, etc it has a built in protective barrier of tiny, prickly thorns that leaves the aggressor thinking better of those actions. The Scottish revere a Thistle as a sign of loyalty; having a wee bit in my ancestral pool made it more endearing to me. Tagging on the Wandering part is the heart of who I am. I have an insatiable desire to learn, to create, to explore. It just seemed appropriate to me to put those together.
TPS: Is this a family owned company?
Theresa: Yes, I am the CEO and my family puts in a lot of hours helping me when they can or when there is a large wholesale order that needs to get delivered.
TPS: How long have you been making soap and or soap products? And how long in business?
Theresa: Hmmm…many years ago a good friend of mine & I decided we wanted to make soap. I bought a wood mould, a book and a kit with a few supplies. It was seriously a Lucy & Ethel moment! Many more years past and on a weekend getaway to Fredericksburg, I encountered Goat Milk Soap. That was 5 years ago, I haven’t looked back. I taught myself how to make GM soap, made a lot of mistakes along the way, but the desire to conquer soap making was a driving force for me.
TPS: What attracted you to this field?
Theresa: I am driven by challenges, the desire to learn and create. I saw many individuals in my Home Health career as an Occupational Therapist that were suffering from skin issues and applying massive amounts of topical ointments for relief. After discussing their bathing rituals many of them just needed a good handcrafted soap without all of the detergents that were stripping their skin of their natural oils. I saw a need beyond myself.
TPS: Do you have a favorite technique?
Theresa: Very good question, I enjoy a hanger swirl. But I really love a Peacock Swirl!
TPS: Do you have a favorite type of soap to make?
Texas Thistle Beer Soap
Theresa: I make all kinds of soap, from my Texas Beer Soap Co. line to fancy swirls.
TPS: What prompted you to open a studio?
Theresa: I retired from Occupational Therapy February 2014. We were growing with added wholesale accounts and just needed the space. I found I could not work as productive as I needed to at home, even though I had a designated studio space. I always felt distracted.
TPS: What all do you offer at your studio? Classes and products?
Theresa: We have a variety of Spa Bath & Body products, salts, scrubs, souffles, etc as well as our GM Soap line, and Texas Beer Soap & Beard Balms for the guys. We will be offering all types of classes; there are a lot people out there that want to be creative, but are fearful of trying something new by themselves and need a fun place to explore. For example, we have classes scheduled for making kombucha, terrariums, and other creative DIY’s, as well as intensive soap making and aromatherapy classes.
TPS: Do you continue to hone your skill?
Theresa: Having completed an Aromatherapy Certification program, I will continue to study the science of Essential Oils and Herbs. I love blending essential oils, the possibilities are endless, but definitely something that requires safety & respect.
TPS: Will you continue to do shows or festivals?
Theresa: I will definitely cut back on shows, but will leave my options open.
TPS: If you have any advice to offer someone starting out…what would that be? Either dos or don’ts.
Theresa: Take your time to learn and but don’t be afraid to explore. Keep a balance in your life as much as possible. It is easy to escape into the soapy world. Perfect a product or technique before moving on.
TPS: What do you love or hate about being an entrepreneur?
Theresa: Sandy, this is such a powerful question, Let’s do love first: Independence, creativity, decision making, freedom to explore, to grow, to give. To challenge myself to be better each day. Not Love: decision making (self doubt), exhaustion, it can be lonely at times, growing pains, sleepless nights, I have to put my big girl panties on every day. :0
TPS: And lastly how has Wandering Thistle taken you where you wanted to go as a career or job?
Theresa: Oh, I am just beginning. Having the studio is a new chapter to explore. A new challenge that brings me closer to my community. Not as a taker, but to give; to give the joy of creativity, friendship, learning, & exploring. Want to wander with me? #IBM30
Until next time, Blessings and Bubbles,