Friday, July 11, 2008

Interview with Patricia from Crowley Manor

I can't remember how I found Crowley Manor on Etsy, but I'm very glad I did. I purchased my first package of soaps from them back when I was an Etsy newbie. I fell in love with the photographs promoting the products, and once I received the soap, I fell in love with that, too. (I even keep it in a special spot so that way it can stay dry when not in use and last longer.) So I was very happy when Patricia from Crowley Manor agreed to do an interview for the blog. I can only hope my creative ventures will be as successful as hers someday!

Jen: How did you decide to begin making soaps? How was Crowley Manor formed?

Patricia: As long as I can remember, I have felt the need to create to be content, I draw, paint on silk, owned a stained glass design studio, designed unique one of a kind handbags (another shop on Etsy It is what drives me and defines me. The longing to put out a great product, and most importantly to bring a smile to the receiver of the product, is the driving force.

One day I decided it would be fun to try soapmaking. Colorado is a very dry climate, and very unkind to my skin. I buried myself in books researching the soapmaking process, took classes with a certified soapmaker who specializes in certified organic products, began studying herbs and essential oils and their effect on the skin and how people respond to scents, and how it may set the mood for a moment or a day. Also, knowing that goat milk is a wonderful humectant and very close to the skin’s natural ph level , I choose to also offer goat milk soap. I am also aware though that some of us, wish for natural products which are vegan as well, and therefore, I aim to keep all of us happy!

Long story short, I didn’t wish for store bought goat milk and researched dairy goats, ones which had the highest butterfat content (for the creamiest soaps and if by chance I ever find the time, I will also make Chevre cheese) I searched for just the right goats for over a year, crossing Colorado from one end to the next, as I wished to see the stock first hand. I fell in love with the Nigerian dwarf breed, due to their demeanor, size and that almighty yummy milk! My husband is the Crowley part, of Irish decent, I could not use Crowley Castle as it still stands (one wall of it) in Cork County, Ireland dating back to the feudal era. So, the next best thing, we would be Crowley Manor. It’s all in fun and certainly better than “Goatzilla” as my dear husband would have had us call the herd.

Jen: What does your soap differ from others?

Patricia: My soaps differ in that they are made up of basic ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, Rice bran oil, palm oil, coconut oil and sodium hydroxide (needed to saponify the base oils). It is the catalyst in soapmaking, the other goodies added in there, would then be the essential oils, sometimes botanicals, and in some instances due to some clients wishing for something which is not available in essentials oils, I will oblige and produce a soap made with safe fragrance oils (phlatate free), but of course my nose certainly prefers the essential oil blends. I have to laugh because sometimes I get calls or messages from friends and clients alike who tell me they don’t want to use up the soap but sit there and just smell it, whenever they feel the need. I chose those base oils as I feel that calibrated correctly in their percentage usage, they make the skin very happy and can be used by the pickiest skin and sometimes simpler is better.

Jen: Where do you get the ideas for your soap scents? Do you have a favorite?

Patricia: Ah… soap scents, my mind always wonders… happy, sad, energized, relaxed, depending on my mood, I begin playing with the essential oils, or driving in the mountains I want to relay a certain feeling. Imagine the warm sun on your skin…maybe transports you to the tropics. Close your eyes, can you smell the ocean, or the scent of sweet almonds and oranges. Perhaps it’s in the midst of winter and you can’t wait to get home and away from 6 feet of snow piling up outside, turn the key, open the door and a wonderful aroma of hot tea and cinnamon wafts through the room…that’s how the ideas pop into my head. My favorites in the winter Oatmeal Milk and Honey, it is a very comforting winter scent or the Fireside Orange Spice, Spring I enjoy the Into the woods unisex bar or Lavender and for those hot summer days the citrusy bars such as Lemongrass, or Royal Riverbend are my favorites.

Jen: Can you tell us more about your goats? They look adorable!

Patricia: We began with two goats, Crowley Manor Lilly Blue gave us two babies this past spring and I have retained both and will begin showing them next year. The boy “Tsunami Joe” who is also the namesake for some of the man soaps will be a herd sire, along with Velvet Acres Nitro (he is all black with a little white on the face and frosted ears) another little buckling. We also have Bedazzle who goes by Cookie and is very much an “in your face goat”, then there is Sundance known as Sunny who is my milker and is the most vocal one of the herd. Last and not least there is Cocoa Royalle who was also born to Lilly Blue, Cocoa is the wild one who believes that walls are made to be walked on, and springboarded off. She is like a Ninja. Her coat color is interesting. It is the color of Cocoa with a white outline of a cat on the side of her body.

Jen: How did you learn about Etsy? What is your favorite Etsy feature?

Patricia: I came across Etsy quite by chance a couple of years ago, I was googling something, found a shop of interest with a link to Etsy and the rest is history. There is not one particular feature that stands in mind at this time, as again that will depend whether I am chatting with other etsyans, or answering and reading through the forums, but I can say that Etsy is a very positive experience for me and that I am making friends worldwide who would never entered my realm had it not been for Etsy and I am very thankful for all whom I have met thus far.

Lastly, Thank you so much Jen for contacting me. You have no idea how honored I feel that you took the time to ask me to be a part of your blog. All the best to you and yours.

To see more Crowley Manor soaps, visit the store below:

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Ms Dragonfly said...

very informative! :)

Vikki and the Kid said...

Yes, Cocoa is still quite wild, even 2 years after that interview was posted. Unfortunately, she now bites too. Wish I'd known before I'd bought her.

Anonymous said...

The comment on Velvet Acres Cocoa Royalle is uncalled for. At the time of the interview Cocoa was a newborn baby goat and loved to jump on our backs and play and romp with her brother. It is sad that unfortunately uneducated comments are made like that about nature's like critters. If only the current buyer above showed love,interest and patience in her newly acquired goat she would not have issues. Cocoa was one of our best in breeding lineage and gave us three beautiful girls just a few weeks ago who will remain on our farm.

Anonymous said...

To Jun 17 Anonymous (a.k.a. Patricia Crowley): All of Vikki's livestock are given love and respect and patience. She had no problems with an actual milking goat that they acquired (in July; gives half gallon a day). No amount of gentling worked with Cocoa. The comment Vikki left was not uneducated, as others also tried to gentle the goat. Also, I personally inspected Cocoa and her hooves looked like they had never been trimmed, which could have accounted for her disposition. As far as the lineage, if a goat is not handled correctly, no amount of breeding will produce a sweet good-natured milker. Vikki wasted her time and savings on Cocoa. Ray