In idyllic Bracken County, Ky., residents enjoy a friendly, rural way of life. That’s the backdrop for Maple Ridge Soaps & Sundries, a small business that started as a family project for owner Lana Bush.
“We started out with the idea and the hope of helping our baby’s skin,” says Bush. “Anna was having some skin issues. The doctor said it was probably eczema. One night, I was putting lotion on her legs and it burned her legs. We both cried together, and I just sort of whispered a prayer to God to help me come up with something. I’d tried so many other things for Anna’s skin.”
A conversation with her grandmother inspired Bush to start looking into natural products and soapmaking. She studied the natural properties of herbs and oils and how to formulate soaps. That led to the creation of Maple Ridge Soaps.
“We don’t use any perfumes or chemicals,” Bush explains. “The biggest difference in our soap is that we infuse into olive oil different herbs such as lavender, calendula, chamomile. We even use some comfrey, which is also known as bone knit, to make some of our salves and to put into our facial soap. We us a lot of organic coconut oil and my organic palm oil, other fine oils like apricot kernel, cocoa butter and shea butter and fresh goat milk as well. Goat milk is nourishing to the skin. When you put it into soap, it just gives it a silkiness.”
Along with the natural herbs and oils, Bush uses natural plant products like annatto and lemon balm for color to make the soaps appealing to the eye.
Maple Ridge Soaps are sold at a gift shop on the Bush’s farm, as well as by special order.
“The special orders are something I really like to do,” says Bush. “We can make special soaps when people need a certain kind of oil in their soap. I’ve had people say, ‘I don’t want to use it, it’s too pretty.’ We say, just use it, and we’ll make more.”
Additionally Bush travels to fairs and festivals in the area where she sells her soaps and gets to know her customers.
“We really enjoy meeting the people who come to the shows,” she says. “People come up to your booth when they’re interested in what you do or they have a need or they just want to talk. It’s not my personality to stand there and try to sell what I have. I just have something to offer and if it’s something that they’re interested in and we talk about it, that’s fun to me, to hear someone come back and say, this really helped my skin or my child’s skin. That’s a delightful thing to hear. If your life can touch someone else’s life in some small way, that is such a blessing.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2411 which originally aired on April 6, 2019. Watch the full episode here.