I need help! September 27 2020, 32 Comments
2019 ~ 2020 brought me to my knees. I had a roll over accident in 2019 that has resulted in me still trying to heal. I had used all of my money to buy my dream car and got hit from behind 3 weeks later by a an under insured driver who hit me going 45 mph and flipped my car. I was broke, had to buy whatever over priced pickup truck I could find and finance it. My insurance paid my other car off. lol yeah! But my bills were through the roof, I had no choice but to try to make more money to survive. Josh was in his last year of college. We decided to open a 2nd location in downtown Taos with credit cards to try to make the extra money we needed. November and December 2019, Taos was devastated economically. No snow. The week we finally got snow for skiers was Thanksgiving weekend and it was a blizzard so we were pretty much shut down with a town packed full of people. Needless to say, I put more money into my downtown shop than I made. and then 2020... lightening strikes. I closed the downtown shop, got sick in February with some strange respiratory flu, my best friend dog died, Gracie was my best friend for 13 years and I was defeated. and then Covid 19 hit. Josh and I geared up with our hand sanitizer and masks and continued to try to continue business. If you remember, it was terrifying then. We would go to the post office, the grocery and walmart daily to ship orders or buy supplies. Thank you so much for all who ordered and got us through that time. We were living on frozen pizza and coffee. With most stores on lock down and wholesale being 90% of our business, we quickly started sliding down the ladder while trying to continue to keep what credit we had. We worked through the entire lock down. Shaking. I was now not only recovering from a wreck, I am pretty sure I had a nervous breakdown a month through the first half of the year. But was too numb and grouchy to know it..and then the supplies started to not be available. I still have not gotten all those bottles and pumps I ordered in February. Lotion is just not a possibility, not in 2020. In June, I was just starting to make money again... and my landlord evicted me from my house because I could not magically come up with 3 months rent in 10 days. Just a bad year. My Sons showed up with a UHaul and got me out of Taos into the safety of Santa Fe, where I could rest and they could let me. I have walked my beautiful 2 dogs 3 miles a day and slept 12 hours a day through most of the Summer. The mention of soap made me sick to my stomach and the shakes would begin. I am finally getting stronger and only sleeping at night. I believe I can do this again! But I need help. We sold everything so that I could rest. and I mean everything lol. We kept some molds, pots, stir sticks, fragrances and essential oils. but the rest is gone. Thankfully, selling everything gave me enough to pay bills and rest. No, I have not paid that landlord yet, he sold my house and is taking me to court for evicting me while in the moratorium.I asked the town what my legal rights were and it took them 2 days to respond and they said they didn't know. See why my Sons wanted me out of Taos?
I am fine with getting a real job. But I can't do that and make soap. So I am at a crossroads. Making soap in the house is just not working AT ALL. I need a makers space, I need supplies, I need to be able to work at my own pace until I am fully restored. A friend came up with a great idea this morning. She suggested I sell a subscription package for one bar of soap to be delivered to your door monthly for $120. That is including shipping. At this time that is all I can offer, and hopefully it will give me the funds to get a maker space and place to live all in one. My youngest son, Josh and I are prepared to live in the loft, and live like industrial artists long enough to get on our feet. We have GOT to figure out how to put a shower in that space. ha ha. After we get set up and rolling, I will add more soaps, candles and salves to the website. We shall see what happens with the lotion.... The wreck cracked half of my teeth at the root, so I have 6 weeks more of dental visits, so I have to take it slow and can't roll like I used to.
So, I am asking, please help us get rolling. For $120 ~ I promise to send you the soap of the month for a year. I am excited to try some new fragrances and make some old favorites. I am excited to use this time for creativity and also I am trying to write a book about our company and the INSANE journey of this soap maker. I have people encouraging me to do a tell all. lol I prefer to write a fiction, that no one knows if it's true or not, but a really good read.
I love you all, I appreciate you getting us this far ~ I got my boys raised, and that is the biggest blessing of all. They are both flourishing and K2 and Josh couldn't make me prouder or feel more loved. Wonderful humans!
Blessings to you ~ I am hoping to see you again, real soon!
Big Love and Thanks to everyone who has supported us for more than 20 years!
I'm going to write a book and tell the whole damn story.
For now, I am being creative, I am having to redesign the whole company and product line. I have to do it based on what supplies are available.
I will be back ~ I have no doubt... I just am trying to figure a path to the future like you are.
Blessings to you ~ Stay Safe
If you are losing skin and have to have a bar of soap. email me at Michelle@CherokeeSoap.com
Sign up for the newsletter on the website ~ that will be your best way to know when product is available. I do not see how wholesale is a possibility unless I find a factory to make it in.
If you are rich and want to invest in getting me rolling again ~ By all means, contact me lol
Michelle I Will Survive Lewis
Artwork by Taos Artist Frederick Aragon ~ Follow him on Facebook. He's just a wonderful artist to follow!
The way a soap comes into being... I blended these oils and made some sample lotions out to see how people responding to the warming spice. I got lots of good reactions... I didn't know what to call it other than Ginger, Saffron and Cedar. Then one night I couldn't sleep, and I have this great book of Cherokee stories from the 18th century. I just open it wherever and see what I might open to as the story I imagine my ancestors want me to read. The story was a bout a mysterious Red Man healer in the forest who saved two young hunters and helped them always have a good hunt. A couple of days later, I was looking at one of my favorite artists page on fb. Frederick Aragon. Check him out. He plays flute, he does art, he has fabulous honey... and such a nice man! and I see this print. I also noticed the black mask, that I am researching because I saw one on a Woman in a post about the Cherokee. I asked Rick if I could use it... I wasn't sure how people would respond to such a beautiful but strong painting...and then I asked what the name of the painting was. He said, "Red Man" ~ Well, I knew he was the one... for we all could use a mysterious healer who shows up just at the right time while we are on our path. Ginger oil is known for it's empowerment qualities... awakening, transformation. Saffron oil helps those in developing their 3rd eye (Intuition) I wonder if a mask helps one delvelop that? and Cedar is the sacred wood of the Cherokee. Never to be burned it is so sacred, only the flat green twigs should be used for medicine. Cedar oil is for longevity. Cedar is always green, it's hair never falls off in the Winter... ever greens are sacred to the Cherokee <3 so this is how a soap gets made.
May your Winter be full of warmth, nourishment and many happy showers and baths!
WINTER is your discount code for 10% OFF your entire order with a free travel lotion and a duck for the tub!
A beautiful customer reminded me I have forgotten to blog!
I have so much to say! How could I forget that?
I think I scared people with my Season Of The Witch campaign. lol but my intention was to remind Women to VOTE! Many of us were struck deeply by the Kavanaugh hearings and I am quite frankly fed up in having to work so hard to be recognized as a strong warrior Mama out here to make the world a better place. Discounted, as if I am just a hobby, not a force in business to be reckoned with!
I have many Sisters who were feeling the same.
I was so pleased we all voted and brought Women to the biggest topic of election day! Women! I saw a friend who is 70 and has been a Native activist her entire life. She marched around the Bureau of Indian Affairs in DC in the 70s and was there drumming and singing and was one of those who helped overtake it in protest of Leonard Peltier and the Wounded Knee take over. She yelled across the entire Women's clothing section! "MICHELLE!! DID YOU SEE HOW US WOMEN DID! AND SISTERS! NATIVE AMERICAN SISTERS ARE IN CONGRESS!!!!" She was grinning ear to ear as we talked about the election and what hope it gave us. Other Women started smiling and joining in the conversation! The entire Women's section had a dozen Women discussing their joy... from every color & culture! Some were so happy to discuss as they hoped their husband didn't hear them lol
Congratulations to Debra Haaland and Sharice Davids!
I try not to get political. But my cause is Women and Water. Most importantly of all...Children. If we walked in a manner that this entire country put the well being of CHILDREN first, the balance and peace and righteousness would be beautiful.
So, since we are the Fry Bread makers of the world, I do believe we have power to spread the love. As I see it, the one who cooks is the one who owns complete power in the house. ha ha
The ducks are in! and have been going out with every order! Please take photos and tag us on Instagram and Facebook! My friends have been doing it, and it spreads such joy! I love the Christmas Ducks and the happiness they give!
Free Duck, 10% Off and a free travel lotion by using discount codes
Gratitude or Snowball
By the way, it's going to snow here again tomorrow! Josh and I bought a kiln today so that he can pursue is business endeavors when he gets out of school. I am going to make... what else? SOAP DISHES! ha!
We are also going to go to Tres Peidras in the morning. They are opening a giant Earth kiln with 200 pieces that have been in the earth with a wood fire cooking for several weeks. Life is Taos may be bizarre, but it's never boring!
Wishing you a beautiful Holiday season, because it's here. I am planning Thanksgiving dinner already. (To love K2 and Josh is to get excited about feeding them) K2 lives in Santa Fe but he always finds his way home when the turkey goes in the oven. I am planning on many evenings of reading by the fire, while I watch it snow. My dream life!
Blessings to you and yours, I will try to blog more about soap next time. lol
Many people ask me.. WHERE DO YOU GET ALL OF THESE IDEAS FOR SOAP? Outside of being extremely blessed with Attention Deficit ~ I follow a magic little journey of senses. I have a story for every soap created. Today, I am going to share my story about how George Jennings and I made a couple of bars of soap together! It's always accidental. One day, I walked into Taos Diner 2 to have breakfast with my Sons and this fabulous original art is on the wall. I asked my friend Samm who made them. She said, "Oh! George! Our dishwasher! Aren't they FABULOUS!?!" So.. I meet George, took photos and the journey begins...this is only a story that could happen in Taos, New Mexico.
The Raven Medicine Soap:
On that Super Blood Red Blue Moon in January ~ I was making Lemongrass Patchouli Soap and somehow put Vanilla Bean instead of Patchouli. It was a Full Moon of transformation, so Face Book said.. I thought is was a full moon of devastation. lol So, I had this incredible soap, and had to share it. I sold it locally as .. you guessed it. Super Full Blood Blue Moon Soap 1.31.2018 ~ I sold all but 6 bars that day. People came in wanting more. They said it worked in easing them through the transformation of that moon. That was about the same time I met George at The Diner 2. I was reading last week about the magic and medicine of Ravens. We have Raven medicine everywhere here. They laugh and chuckle at the silly things us humans do ~ they enjoy our transformation. I see them as a beautiful medicine as do many tribes in the Southwest. When I combined the dark black soap with George's art and the research, I fell in love ~ and whipped up another batch under the March Full Moon. and so you have the rest of that story. Transformation soap!
The Bear Medicine Soap:
January is the season that I create new soaps. I was sad, I needed strength, I needed direction. I so relate with being a Mama Bear. Even kids I didn't give birth to call me Mama Bear. lol I wanted to make myself some Bear Medicine. Osha is only found above 9000 ft in the Rocky Mountains. It is an antiseptic. It also brings Good Luck and Protection. I have had a few Spanish local men show me that they carry their protection in their pockets (a piece of Osha Bear Root) wherever they go. It is a local tradition. Osha is used in every Native American tribe for medicine one way or another. For me, The Osha Root is also a saponification root. Soap! Wanting to keep it pure, I added no scent. This is designed to be antiseptic, spiritual and medicinal soap. It's medicine in every way. Everyone has loved the label by GEORGE JENNINGS so much, they begged me to make a lotion and candle to go with it. Who wants an unscented lotion and candle? not many. So, I scented the lotion and candle with a subtle sugared mint. with a smidgen of Osha root.
This is the tale of 2 soaps, one AMAZING artist ~ George Jennings and the journey through the apothecary of my soul.
I truly hope you enjoy them!
Much Love ~ Mama Bear ~ Michelle Lewis
We are going full blast this year into Spring! Lemon Verbena, Apothecary Sage & Chamomile Moon are all light Spring scents that will make you sure to dance around the May Pole!
Woman Immersed and Mystic Vanilla Bean have zoomed to the top of the must have list. Both were blends created by me! I love to blend oils and come up with new cutting edge fragrances that create the love of going to water!
Our Outlaw Sage is the new favorite for men, but the women love it too!
Our bath bombs are big and beautiful, full of epsom salts, honey, olive oil, baking soda, essential oils and fizzy color! I knew if I ever found the perfect recipe with the perfect balance of relaxation and softness for the skin ~ I would finally get the bath bomb experience! I GET IT! I FINALLY GET IT!
SPRING is your discount code ~ free gift with every order.
Thank you so much for your support in these wild and wonderful times ~ at the end of a long day, it is still true. TAKE A BATH and let all those troubles go down the drain and let the healing begin.
Have a wonderful Spring ~ We look forward to hearing from you!
LOVE is your discount code to get 10% off and a free gift!
Now, for those of you who wish to read more... here I ramble. lol
January in Taos. We were exhausted and sick from the holidays and the tourist flu, but we all kept working anyway ~ just slower, using creativity and meditation for our thoughts and hopes for the new year. Reflecting on what a tremendous year we had, as a company. We are so grateful for our customers and friends who give Me (Mom) therapy. Making soap is my therapy for those who don't know. I pray when I make it, I laugh, the boys talk shop and the latest you tube video, Maya runs in and does her magic and runs back out the door to go be Super Mom. We are truly a family business, who get up in the morning and wonder where the soap vehicle will take us today. lol
I spent most of January working on our private label accounts, but in the midst of the need to be creative... I made a Brown Sugar scrub that is just remarkable. It lasts many showers and baths. I suppose if you wanted a gentle exfoliation from head to toe you could use the whole jar at once...WHY? Some people think extra is more. I combined Patchouli, Vanilla Bean, and Frankincense for the fun of it. Sometime in December K2 and I were saying we had never combined patchouli and vanilla and were sniffing through the apothecary and figured it would be nice. But when I added the frankincense, it became a whole new indistinguishable fragrance. So, of course, we had to make a soap, lotion and candle with it. Every single person who has come into the shop has bought the Mystic Vanilla Bean in one form or another. It is just incredible. And this is the scent of the brown sugar scrub. Made with honey, brown sugar, olive oil and castille... it is luxurious and down to earth. And no I am not making 75 different Brown sugar scrub smells. lol BUT if you have a special request of one of our existing scents, write me a note. I'll do it :)
Josh has started back to his 2nd semester in college. He is really pushing his limits and doing an introductory clay course, while also doing an upper level study in clay. He cuts soap on his days off. It is fun to watch his journey through art. I continue to watch him blossom and find inspiration in art and finding his way to his own brand of therapy.
K2 ~ our triumphant warrior flew the coop and is in Indianapolis for the month. We left so many friends there, he is getting to enjoy each and every one of them. He works in Santa Fe at one of those fancy $10,000 rug stores on the plaza. They gave him the month off, so he is on a journey. K2 is a writer and always seeking inspiration to write the most epic screen play ever.
Having kids is just fun. Isn't it? If ya do it right, it's an easy loving experience...being an artist, I am not very good at telling them to take the path everyone takes. Take the path that makes you happy. Live your life so you are proud of who you are. Who knew they would listen? lol
I also made Pinon infused soap. Truly natural, nothing but pinon soap and sap. Pinon is a great healer for infection, anti-bacterial, and there is no other smell like it. I love this one. It literally turns the bath water into milk. Pinon is the New Mexico state tree. It is sacred as it has provided for the animals and tribes of El Norte for a thousand years. Medicine... spiritual and physical.
I am being drawn to making traditional Native American inspired soaps. I have made an Osha soap, no scent. The Osha is also known as Bear Root. It is Bear medicine. Locals carry it on them to protect them from... (I haven't gotten that out of them yet) The Lakota consider the Bear root to be a sacred herb, used in traditional sweats. Bear medicine... It brings strength and protection.
I have made a non traditional sage soap, infused with sage and sea salt. I have tried making the traditional sage soap, and well, it just smells like dog. lol This one is very light and also a beautiful medicine for protection from negativity or washing our own negativity off and down the drain.
Always, Cedar is the sacred herb of the Cherokee ~ we have made it for 20 years. So if you are a traditional Cherokee, we have you covered! Cedar Soap remains to be be one of our best sellers. Going to water and washing the spirit clean is the greatest tradition of all, in my humble opinion. :)
We are featuring Tera Muskrat on another label. Chocolate Rose! She showed me a painting of this beautiful woman, who had made cookies, was dressed all cute for someone, the wine was spilling off of the fridge and her dog was standing there laughing. That has pretty much described every Valentine's of my life. Maybe the rest of my readers have these amazing valentines days, mine is usually me. the dogs. chocolate.... sometimes I call Maya and we go out to say we did something. One year a guy dressed like Michael Jackson wouldn't stop talking to her. We were entertained. That's what we went out for. We also turned into 13 year old girls dodging him wherever we went giggling. So, grab your BFF a bar of Chocolate Rose and you two can giggle about how weird men are and share Nachos and it will truly be a fabulous Valentine's lol
Have I talked to much? I usually do.
Boy, Is America in a huge shift. So, in this email I have shared my survival skills on tough times.
Take A Bath ~ Use Protection medicine ~ Love your family & friends and eat the chocolate.
Blessings and Love to you ~ Michelle
For the newest products go to "The Seasons" page on our website
FREE DUCK AND TRAVEL LOTION WITH EVERY ORDER!!
There is plenty of celebration around the soap shop in our heritage and our pride in being Native American. They say the Cherokee are the proudest of all. I can't argue that, we are honored by our Ancestors to be recognized. <Insert Paul Revere and The Raiders>