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Urban Farm Naturals offers bath, body items

Apr 2nd, 2012 | Category: Crafts

by Samantha Schuller

Tamila Morgan, artisan soap-maker and owner of UrbanFarm Naturals, is a make-it-from-scratch kind of gal. “There’s a lot of value in just slowing down, doing some soul searching, and asking ourselves what’s really important,” she said, measuring cocoa powder into a cake pan. She’s making Wacky Cake, a simple, egg-less recipe that was popular during the Great Depression, to bring to a neighborhood dessert social. “Our culture can be so concerned with self-gratification, but for our family, once we left that lifestyle, we ended up being surrounded by the most amazing, positive, selfless people by becoming a part of the handmade movement.”

Handmade soap loafs. COURTESY PHOTO

Urban Farm Naturals is a family-owned and-operated bath and body company based out of Arlington. Morgan develops the products, while husband Jeff builds and designs their farmers market and trade show booths. Their two children help assemble and package the poducts. All products are made by hand, with natural ingredients.

Morgan’s journey to UrbanFarm Naturals was less than direct; she and Jeff both have a background in the aviation industry – Tamila as a certified flight instructor, Jeff as a commercial pilot. Eventually she switched gears and moved into marketing for FlightSafety International so that she and Jeff could start their family. “In a lot of ways, I was very successful,” Morgan said, but shrugged, “I knew it wasn’t my passion in life.”

It did enable her to save up seed money for UrbanFarm Naturals though, working long weeks while dreaming of being her own boss and spending more time with their children. “Quitting felt so good. I have never regretted it, even when I reach those inevitable moments when I doubt myself.”

Part of what makes being an artisan, independent business owner so satisfying, Morgan said, is that “you get to make your own priorities for your business.” She decided early on that her business would abide by the triple bottom line—people, planet, profit. “If it costs me a little more to source an ingredient because it’s made in the USA or because it’s fair trade, I’m going to pay it.” Still, small businesses should also stay flexible and use the inexpensive resources that present themselves, she advised.

Morgan grows her own herbs organically, and a family friend built all of her displays from salvaged barn wood. She’s even been known to take advantage of wilted kale. “I dried it in the oven, crushed it into a powder, and used it to color my rosemary-scented soaps green,” she laughed. “You just have to keep yourself open to every opportunity.”

Tamila Morgan, owner of Urban Farm Naturals.

The Morgans enjoy working as a family. Their children have been involved from day one, commenting on logo choices and voting on essential oil scents. “If they ever decide to open their own businesses, I hope the process will seem that much less daunting to them,” she says.

It can indeed be daunting to take the plunge into being a small business owner, but she emphasizes that those with a passion should follow it. “You have to be really dedicated and passionate,” Morgan advised. “Don’t wait to retire, don’t wait for the right thing to come along, just do it. Go slow if you need to, but get started.”

“It’s like anything else,” she said, sliding the cake pan into the oven and wiping her hands on the front of her red apron, “if you love it, you’ll figure out a way to live it. It seems like hard work at first, but you get into a routine and one day you wake up and you realize it’s your way of life.”

For more information, visit  UrbanFarmNaturals.com or call (425) 422-8081. Products are also available on Etsy.

Published in the April 2012 edition of Grow Northwest.

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