As part of my mentorship program with Heartizan, I have written a business owner bio. I thought I would share it with you. I am also using it to replace the current About Me section on the website.
The Druid’s Kitchen is run by Rachel Minns who is currently training to be a Druid; whilst running the business. She is at the second stage of training, the Ovate stage, and is learning about the healing power of herbs and essential oils. Herbs are not just the things we buy from the supermarket, they are virtually any part of any plant, they can be dangerous, if used by someone who isn’t aware of the possible side effects of use, but in the right hands they are a tool that can be used for many purposes including medicine, skincare and magick to name a few.
Magick is important to Rachel, but the healing power of herbs is her main concern. She is currently studying a diploma in Herbal Medicine and hopes to complete it in early 2019.
Rachel used to teach English as a Second Language and Adult Literacy, as well as one to one support, for students with dyslexia, studying at all levels from primary school to university. She loves to help people and since becoming ill and unable to hold down a traditional career, she has decided to help people by creating skincare products. Rachel uses the goodness provided by Mother Nature (or Gaia as she is referred to) to help bring people skincare products that can help with a multitude of skin types and conditions. All of her products are safety assessed by a qualified chemist and registered with the EU Cosmetic Portal.
A Brief History
Rachel left school with no qualifications and had her family young, once her son was at school she rediscovered her joy of learning and that morphed into a love of teaching and she found that teaching provided both the opportunity to help people and learn. Rachel now holds a variety of qualifications related to teaching, English Language and English Literature, but was unable to meet Qualified Teacher Status due to ill health.
When trying to return to the workforce, Rachel found that with Lupus and Mental Health issues, it was difficult to find employment due to the amount of sick time she had had in previous years, so she started up a craft business called Lizzie Drippin’. Lizzie Drippin’ was mainly a jewellery making business and Rachel found that the market was flooded with similar products, so she had to leave that behind.
The Druid’s Kitchen came around from inspiration from nature and the development of Sjogren’s Syndrome which caused her skin to dry out and become itchy. Nothing she could find would work so she started to play around with melt and pour soap, because of the high glycerine content, until she found a recipe that worked. The Druid soap was made. She then found she was being asked by friends and family to make them soaps for their skin conditions and this resulted in Danu’s Dream, Aphrodite’s Dawn and Brigid’s Caress.
Rachel started to investigate manufacturing soap to retail and, if she is honest, found the legal requirements very daunting and even scary, so she stopped. After a few weeks, she found that this was something that she really wanted to do, so the research started again, and she developed four more recipes to make up the full amount for a Cosmetic Product Safety Assessment. She registered with Trading Standards and started making soaps to sell.
At first, she was part of Druid and The Witch, with a partner who made bath bombs, but after realising that they had different ideas about where the business was going, Rachel decided to go it alone and The Druid’s Kitchen was born.
It is very important to Rachel that Druidry and Paganism are brought into her products and, although she has been refused spaces at events, on websites and selling platforms due to the Pagan leaning of the business, she has continued to allow her faith to guide her when creating new products and making decisions about stockists. This does not mean that she is closed to other ideas, she most definitely is not.
The majority of soaps available from The Druid’s Kitchen are named after Deities and Pagan Paths, the links to the recipes are all researched, and you will always find that – even if obscurely – the names relate to the ingredients in or purpose of each variation. For example, The Witch contains ingredients that have been used by Wise Women for more years than you could possibly count as tools to provide protection and cleansing. It is a product that is designed to be used before a ritual or a spell and provide extra protection for the Witch, Wiccan or Shaman who is performing or taking part. This is the product with the most direct link, but the link is always there.
Learning For The Future
Rachel has noticed, over the past few months, that her products appeal to not only Pagans, but also Vegans and she has used this to help her develop new products, most – but not all – are vegan friendly and she has adjusted ingredients and suppliers to accommodate people who would prefer these products. She also tries to use base products that are SLES and SLS free to reduce the amount of sulphates in the soaps. Rachel has been forced to think about things that would never have occurred to her in the past such as the amount of time it takes for different plastics to degrade, whether it is possible to use packaging that can be re-purposed or reused time after time.
Manufacturing cosmetics and running a successful business is a steep and rocky learning curve. Rachel has made many changes and overcome many problems in these first few months of trading. Packaging has been her main issue as, since the Blue Planet effect, people have been much more conscious of the packaging you use. She has changed from normal PVC shrink wrap to biodegradable shrink wrap and now uses paper bags with 100% cellophane windows to allow customers to compost them or place them in their food waste.
The next problem is one she is working on at present and that is developing a completely natural soap. Rachel started with melt and pour because of the ease and that fact that she felt that she needed to learn a lot more about the uses and purposes of the base oils used in soap making before developing a recipe for cold process soap. This is her ultimate goal; to create a range of 100% natural herbal soaps. She has been working on a base recipe for months now and it evolves regularly after trialling and testing the products on herself and friends and family. Her aim is to release her first eight cold process soaps in mid-2019 and then start working on other skincare products such as face masks, day and night creams and lip balms.