The story of Smart by Nature is the story of two enterprising women who had no idea their lives would intertwine. They both lived in the town of Telluride, a tiny community nestled in the mountains of Colorado. They both shared an interest in the healing properties of Nature. (While Jessica Newens was an old pro at making hand crafted soap for her one-woman-business Tomboy Soap Company, Denise Weaver was working as a VP of very important things for another natural skincare company in town.) But it wasn’t until they both signed up for a class on how to make lip balm from local tree sap that their paths crossed.
Fate is like that sometimes. As it happened, Jessica was ready to leave soap making and Denise was hankering to start, so Denise took over Tomboy Soap Company and rebranded it Smart by Nature. Today, Denise continues to make the soaps from natural plant oils and essences that Jessica invented back in 1997, and has redesigned the packaging so the goodness of what’s on the inside is reflected by the beauty of what’s on the outside.
You gotta have a certain level of commitment to make it to Telluride. This little town, situated at nearly 9,000 feet elevation in the rugged mountains of southwestern Colorado, isn’t particularly close to anything. But that kind of isolation gives a place a certain kind of charm.
In Telluride, you can’t escape nature. It stands in front of you, in back of you, to the side of you, with its breathtakingly blue skies in the summer and its dramatic, snow-covered cliffs in the winter. The starkly beautiful scenery, which greets you every time you walk outside, insistently reminds you that you’re intimately connected to the trees and the plants and the flowers. It’s the inspiration for everything we do here at Smart by Nature, and we hope it shows.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t have a quality product if you don’t start with quality ingredients. So of course Smart by Nature chooses only the finest plant oils and essences, natural pigments, seeds, sand and flower petals as starting ingredients for our products.
But really, that’s just the beginning. Because it’s how you combine those ingredients that takes a soap or a lotion or a bath salt from being simply good to absolutely extraordinary.
For example, we spend a ridiculous amount of time crafting elegant blends of essential oils to create a full-bodied scent experience that will rock your socks off. And we insist on unique combinations of base oils for each one of our soaps — not just the usual coconut, olive and palm oil blend. While incredibly inefficient from a business perspective, this practice gives our soaps wonderfully individual variations in lather, hardness and moisturization.
When your soap-making studio is located eight miles up a dirt road, on 10 acres of forested land, at nearly 8,000 feet elevation, in the rugged and beautiful mountains of Southwestern Colorado, it’s hard not to feel connected to the earth.
Here’s how we walk our eco talk:
When it comes to life-threatening diseases, AIDS and cancer get the lion’s share of treatment funds (not to mention publicity). And we’re not knocking them as worthy causes. But did you know that every year, 3.5 million children die from diarrhea and pneumonia — diseases that could be prevented with…soap?
That’s right, proper hygiene could save one child from dying every 10 seconds!
So, how do we get soap into the hands of those who need it most? Through the Clean the World Initiative! This nifty little non-profit was founded in 2009 with a brilliantly simple idea: take the soap Americans are wasting (think single-use hotel packages) and send it to third-world countries like Haiti, Honduras, Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic.
Smart by Nature is leading the drive to get local lodging companies in our hometown of Telluride, Colorado, to donate their soap scraps for sorting, sanitizing and re-batching into new products by Clean the World. We are also working with the Handcrafted Soap Makers Association to encourage soapmakers to send their soap scraps to Clean the World too! To learn more, check out CleanTheWorld.