Today we’d like to introduce you to Toya Stanitzek.
Hi Toya, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
Nine years ago, I became aware and more proactive about what food I ate and the products I put on my skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs everything we put on it. I had a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old at the time. They both had childhood eczema, and I used a popular brand of children’s skincare for eczema on them.
When I read the ingredients, I could not even pronounce most of the ingredients. There were so many unhealthy chemicals I could not believe I was putting on their little bodies. I researched organic skincare, but everything I found was overpriced and out of my personal price range on my husband’s teacher salary.
It is unfair to people to encourage them to make healthy choices, but then to price products in a way where the average middle-class person cannot afford to make a healthy choice. Then I thought, “What if I made my own all-natural products? Could I make a business out of it and provide all-natural skincare at an affordable price?”
I researched our area for soap makers, and there were only 3 main soap makers I came across at that time. None of these were all-natural or organic and did not offer the product line I was desiring. I decided I wanted to be a one-stop shop for all-natural skincare. Then I made my first goat milk soap for my children’s eczema!
I started this business wanting to bless others and price my all-natural products in a way that was not about profit but about providing affordable, healthy choices. I wanted to go a step further in providing for my community and have donated products to many local organizations that work with the homeless, recovering drug addicts, and victims of sexual exploitation and domestic abuse.
It’s been our honor to faithfully serve the Upstate of SC. Now we get to ship our product all over the US and have such faithful customers. I never dreamed my business would become what it is today, and that is only possible because of our amazing customers!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I would definitely say owning your own business is not smooth. I personally juggle homeschooling my three children, running an Airbnb, and breeding Cockapoos while running my business. That can be stressful at times. I have had employees that could only be seasonal helpers or had to leave as they started college or their new careers. Training new employees with such a vast product line can very demanding of time.
I would say one of the hardest times, though, was during covid. The farmer’s market, which is the main source of my income, was closed and then limited. I did not find out until 2 weeks before the market started that it was going to be shut down. Due to the nature of my business, all my products had already been made in bulk. I remember looking around at the vast amount of product I had and wondering how on earth I was going to move so much product without the market.
Suddenly, my online sales quadrupled that year, and I was having to make more products because I was running out of what I made. Then, I was faced with a lack of supply and so many of my containers on backorder. Thankfully, I made it through that year and only had a few thousand fewer in sales by the end of the year. I am so thankful for customers that carried my business through such a difficult time as I know so many were not as fortunate.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Herb & Earth aims to provide you with a luxurious, restorative bath and beauty experience using natural and organic ingredients derived straight from our healing source, earth. We provide skincare products for adults, children, babies, and dogs. We carry the largest line of all-natural products out of any company in the upstate of South Carolina.
We are a Certified SC company and include local ingredients in our products from other South Carolina businesses and farmers such as goat milk, coffee, beeswax, honey, beer, herbs, and more! When you shop with us, you support many other local makers and growers.
What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
One of the biggest lessons I learned when it comes to my journey in being a business owner is being able to conduct my business with honor. Creating a product that I can stand behind is so incredibly important to me. When I worked in sales with other companies before, I could not get behind the product I was putting out into the world.
It left me feeling pretty guilty and dissatisfied. It is important when owning a business or working for a company that you support what the company stands for and offers. Not only does it bless you and your conscience, but you know you are being a blessing and impacting other lives for the good.
- Soaps: $6
- Shower Steamers: $10
- Anti-Aging Facial Moisturizer: $10
- Beard Oil: $13
- Deodorant: $7
- Website: www,Etsy.com/shop/herbandearthsoapco
- Instagram: Instagram.com/herbandearthsoapco
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/100063491383249/