In today’s day and age of Big Box retailers, chain stores, supermarkets, and drive-through just about everything – a company that actually cares is a very rare thing. But that really does describe this company, as well as the team behind Nature’s Garden!
Who is Nature’s Garden, Let’s Rewind to 1997….
Nature’s Garden is a Wholesale Candle and Soap Supply company, which was created in 1997 by Deborah and Mike Ward after turning their homemade candle making hobby into a business. Growing their business initially from home parties, retail and wholesale sales, Ebay, Fundraisers and Open Houses to a company in 1998 that had more than 40 independent sales representatives selling Nature’s Garden Candles and Bath Products. Then on May 21, 1999, after previously coming up against several “road-blocks” within the candle and toiletry supply industry (inadequate customer service and support, lack of unique products and a “secrecy” within the industry) while trying to expand their product line, Nature’s Garden Candle Supply Company was born. The company’s anagram C.A.R.E. (Customers Always Remember Excellence) was embraced by its employees and Nature’s Garden set out to “de-mystify” the industry. Improving customer service voids within the industry, while also creating unique fragrance oils, materials and support, manuals and classes for businesses in this industry.
Now Fast-Forward to 8 Months Ago….
I started buying homemade bath and body products from a dear friend. With my allergies, and the fact that I’m extremely picky, I was getting frustrated with my local bath and body chain retailers carrying products that did nothing for my skin, while often giving me headaches from the smell. Well, needless to say I instantly fell in love with the homemade body products! These products felt amazing and luxurious on my skin, while not only smelling fabulous~! The other huge draw for me was the fact that they were more natural, containing less chemicals and additives that you find in the mass produced products! I was instantly hooked and very intrigued! So I began trying other products from small bath and body businesses, as well as “Liking” them on Facebook, and several seemed to have one thing in common – Nature’s Garden!
The beauty junkie in me was instantly fascinated. So I began doing more research – surfing soaping websites, as well as Nature’s Garden Website and their Facebook page. What I discovered was a company that was extremely interactive with their customers. Not only that, but after spending a lot of time on their Facebook page and Twitter, seeing HOW they interacted with their customers! Always answering each and every question with great care and compassion – which is a great feat considering their large customer base! Since beginning my blogging journey, I’ve made a point to spend time on other big business Facebook/Twitter pages, and that’s how I’ve seen other businesses very rarely, if at all, acknowledging customer concerns or questions. We, consumers, often feel like our input falls on “deaf ears”. Or at the very least, “ears” without enough influence or knowledge to help out.
Interacting with Nature’s Garden and with their customers honestly felt like interacting with friends!
All the friendly, kind words and support of each and everyone’s unique businesses, coupled with the resounding praise their customers give Nature’s Garden with respect to their products and their customer service and support. Customers quite often are interacting directly with Deborah Ward (Nature’s Garden CEO) on their Facebook page!! Interacting directly with a company CEO on Facebook, I would safely say is a rare occurance for most companies – but not Nature’s Garden! And I’ve also had the pleasure of dealing directly with Deborah, and through this I see the driving force behind this company that actually does CARE! Its not just a motto, a mantra or an anagram. Its a passion for Deborah and the Nature’s Garden team. And we, the consumers, greatly benefit from this.
Without Further Adieu, Let Me Introduce You to Deborah Ward!
Glam Wife: I read on your website that you started off in the Candle Making business. How did you get into that business?
Deborah: While I was an environmentalist at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, I began studying naturopathic healing. Several of my clients wanted aromatherapy candles, so I began making candles in my spare time. When my first son, Matthew, was born, we found out that his skull bones were fused together, and that he would require surgery. I quit my job at the county health department to stay home with my son. In order to cover some of our bills, I started selling candles to friends and family.
Glam Wife: How did Natures Garden Candle and Soap Supplies come to be?
Deborah: When I started making candles, the industry was very secretive. Those who knew how to make candles kept the knowledge to themselves. It was candle making that helped our family keep our heads above water during financially hard times, and I knew that there were more men and women out there who needed a way of making extra income and be able to stay at home. My ambition was to help people make extra income for their families by telling them everything I knew about the candle market.
Glam Wife: How did you choose the name for your business?
Deborah: I chose the name Natures Garden because of my interest in naturopathic healing. I was into natural medicine way before it was popular. I wanted a name that would allow for future diversification in other markets. Natures Garden allows for that.
Glam Wife: As CEO of Natures Garden, describe a typical work week.
Deborah: Natures Garden is a turn-key operation. Every job at our company is well-documented, and each person has his/her own job responsibilities. This form of operation, and the fact that I am married to the most wonderful man on earth, has allowed me to work from home; while my husband runs operations at the company. We did this so that our sons would not have to have a baby sitter. I work 7 days a week, rarely taking a vacation. I simply love what I do…period! I work while my sons are at school, and work while they are asleep. My main focus is on the customers; listening to what they have to say, and answering any questions they may have. I facebook, twitter, blog, do website development, product research/development, and hold meetings with vendors.
Glam Wife: What two or three things would be most important to you in your job?
Deborah: Every job at Natures Garden is equally important for our operation to run smoothly. I guess my job is like the “mom” in the company; the role of keeping the family happy. Many customers and employees rely on me to make the right decisions so that Natures Garden is around for many years to come. I want people to feel confident that when they buy from Natures Garden, they are buying quality. We are always looking for new ways to better service our customers.
Glam Wife: What’s your favorite part of business as a whole?
Deborah: Communicating with customers. I love listening to their ideas, seeing what they create, and helping them when I can.
Glam Wife: What would be the most challenging part of the job/business?
Deborah: Business is the easiest job in the world. You simply have to follow these two rules and it will work out: 1. Focus on other people instead of yourself, and 2. Never get greedy. If you follow these two rules, you are going to build lasting, happy relationships with other people. What could be more exciting than that!
Glam Wife: What’s your favorite product (or 2 or 3) from Natures Garden?
Deborah: I absolutely love the work our perfumist does! He is one amazing man!! I never get tired of smelling new scents!! It is my passion!!
Glam Wife: Where do you see your business in the next 5-10 years?
Deborah: Currently, our creativity is exploding! We look forward to expanding in multiple markets, becoming a premiere, handcrafting community. Surprises will be around every corner!
Glam Wife: What do you do in your spare time? (Assuming you have any~! haha)
Deborah: My sons are quite involved in sports and music, so my spare time is typically spent watching baseball games, band concerts, or attending football games. I also enjoy quiet time with my husband.
Glam Wife: What’s your favorite fragrance that Natures Garden carries?
Deborah: Right now my favorite fragrance is Honey Bunny. It just makes me happy smelling it!
Glam Wife: As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give to someone trying to start up their own business?
Deborah: The world is filled with negative people who will try to talk you out of going after your dreams. Fear it and do it anyways! Listen to your heart, follow your gut, and shoot for the stars!
I want to say a BIG thank you to you, Deborah, and your team at Nature’s Garden! Its been an absolute pleasure getting to know you, your team and your company! And for those of you, my beautiful blog readers, who think Nature’s Garden is JUST for businesses…Think again~! Nature’s Garden has a whole section on their website dedicated to different recipes for homemade body products and candles. So if you’ve ever wondered, wanted or been interested in crafting your own homemade body products or candles – go on over to the Nature’s Garden website; check out some recipes and pick up the amazing products and have FUN~! Knowing that if you hit a stumbling block, have a question, or concern – they are always more than willing to help and guide you!
I’m excited to announce Deborah is going to be putting me to work. making some of her body products with Nature’s Garden recipes and products. So if this is something you are interested in but aren’t sure of, stay tuned to upcoming posts where I’ll feature the whole process! So you, Ladies and Gents, can take the journey with me and see first hand, just how to make body products! I do want to point out though, that I’m a beginner and have never made any before; but I have to say I’m extremely excited to try my hand at making some~! And I hope you will join me for the ride!