Many of us take great pains to shop local and eat clean (I'll be the first to admit that I'm not one of those clean eaters, hello Peach Milkshakes).
There's lots of thought about what we put in our bodies. But how many of us stop to think about what we put on our bodies?
When I was planning to get pregnant, I read #allthebooks, started eating healthier, exercising, and making the shift from "toxic" to more "natural" household and beauty products.
And these are great shifts to make.
But I had never stopped to think about the soap I was using. The white bar had served me well for years.
It wasn't really until I was researching local skincare companies for Poppy and Oak boxes that I delved deeper into the world of slow beauty and small-batch skincare.
Bath soak from Figs and Feathers Farm. Photo by Angela Nunnink
I was drawn in for the beauty (and fragrance) and have stuck around for the feel.
Meghan Wright from Figs and Feathers Farm was actually one of the first vendors I contacted about being included in our boxes. And she sat right next to me when I attended my first ever pop-up event in 2017. But Meghan? She's a pro.
Meghan attended her first market in 2013, but her love for soap-making and her experimentation with the process started long before that. Meghan taught herself the recipes and the process for soap-making at the “dawn of the Internet”.
Back when there were a few recipes online. She scribbled mathematical calculations on a piece of paper. And she continues to use those recipes today. Recipes she’s tested, tweaked, and perfected.
Photo by Angela Nunnink
I was interested to learn about the centuries-old soap-making process from Meghan.
Apparently there are three different methods: cold process; hot process; and cold process-oven process. The latter is kind of a mix between the first two.
Cold process generally involves heating up the oils, combining with lye and water, adding essential oils, then allowing to cool and cure for 4 to 6 weeks.
Interestingly soap made with olive oil can take up to a year to cure.
Hot process is a much quicker process in which the soaps are actually baked in an oven.
Meghan uses the cold process for her soaps.
Green Tea and Sea Clay Soap from Figs and Feathers Farm. Photo by Angela Nunnink.
Meghan lives in Sacramento, but has family in Grass Valley and it was those family members' garden that inspires many of her creations. And in fact led her to what Figs and Feathers Farm is today.
Scents are inspired by the Northern California flora, and she also harvests many of her ingredients from her family‘s property.
It was actually a family member’s suggestion that led her from ordinary soap-maker to community gathered and grown.
Meghan Wright, owner of Figs and Feathers Farm. Photo by Angela Nunnink
So a little background about Meghan and her transition from Kindergarten teacher to soap-maker and proprietor of a local cooperative skincare collective...
2016 was Meghan’s year of YES.
She took the leap and took Figs and Feathers Farm to a full-time business.
She did every market she was asked to do, which averaged out to several a week.
She had to at least try.
Like myself, Meghan is a fan of the rich agricultural area and access to incredible produce that we have here in Northern California. In fact it serves as inspiration for all of her soaps.
One of her first unique local collaborations included coffee from Identity Coffees, which hosts them monthly Midtown Bizarre, and chocolate from Cru Chocolate. Both Identity Coffee and Cru Chocolate are Sacramento-area purveyors of high-quality craft goods.
Other local Figs and Feathers Farm collaborations include pumpkin spice soap using pumpkins from Capay Organic, and apple cider soap using apple cider from Apple Hill.
She even makes an effort to source her oils and essential oils from local purveyors.
The Moroccan argan or oil used in the Rose Geranium & Argan Oil soap comes from Souqery, who travels to the souqs (markets) of Morocco several times a year and then personally delivers the argan oil to Meghan.
FIgs and Feathers Farm's Rose Geranium & Argan Oil Soap made using oil from Souqery. Photo by Angela Nunnink
So even when she’s using products that don’t occur naturally in the area, there is still a local component to them.
Meghan loves getting people from the community involved in her brand. And that’s one of our favorite things about Meghan and Figs and Feathers Farm.
And now for a few Meet the Maker Q&As with Meghan Wright, owner of Figs and Feathers Farm.
How do you get your inspiration? I love attending local farmers markets to see what is in season and what is grown here in the Sacramento Valley.
What’s your favorite part of being a small business owner? Making personal connections with other local small businesses. It occupies a big spot in my heart.
How do you practice self-care? Baths are my mainstay. I am ashamed to admit that we don’t have a bath in our home! I’m also a skincare junkie and love buying products from other California skincare companies. I also make an effort to steal away small moments for simple indulgences like tea in a favorite mug.
What’s your favorite thing about Northern California? This area is such an agricultural hub and we have a great small business community. I couldn’t wait to leave the area as a kid but now I am back and I love it. I am able to quell my desire to live somewhere else with our travels.
Meghan Wright is the owner of Figs and Feathers Farm, a small batch apothecary that utilizes ingredients grown and gathered in Northern California. Her skincare items are available in various shops throughout California including Miel Apothecary, Redemption, Gather & Mill, West Elm and of course several Poppy and Oak gift boxes.