I "retired" from the corporate world a couple of years ago because I wanted to experience a real life after years of 80 hour work weeks and constant travel. A year later I realized that I was having a really good time, was always busy (how did i ever fit in a job??) and needed a creative outlet to share my experiences. Now I split my time between California and New Mexico but, wherever I am, I write about delicious, fresh, local, organic/sustainably grown food.
when i started my business it was very important to me that i find ways to tell the stories of the artists and craftspeople producing our products....i hand select every item we sell and the design criteria needs to meet the following objectives..handmade using reused, repurposed, reimagined or recycled materials..or organic for food and body care..and they must be "hip, cool, eclectic, clean, simple, beautiful..and kinda groovy"... high standards..right? that is why i am so passionate about celebrating people who appreciate fine craftsmanship and deliver excellence in all that they do..whether they are chefs, painters, musicians, woodworkers, seamstresses, producers of quality organic food ingredients..you name it, to me the common thread is the work..especially in this mass -produced, disposable everything world. i spent some time last year around some businesspeople here in the napa valley that operate under what i think is a bit of a less than honest practice. they purchase products from others..and then market it under their brand name..i even learned the term..shiner...which is what it is called when you order food products and ask the manufacturer to leave off the labels so you can add your own. now, there is nothing wrong with this practice unless you give your customers the impression that you made it yourself...i think smart merchants know that telling the stories of the products and the makers of the items leads to a more interesting dialogue..and honesty in business and treating people fairly is always the best policy...so i decided to stop watching others..and start doing myself..which is what led to napa farmhouse 1885™ .
i designed the home page of the website with "featured artist" sections and asked each artist to write a bit of their bio to publish..i ask as many of them as possible to accompany me to events, trade shows, festivals and publicity requests to ensure the stories are told..and that customers can meet the people who craft the products..their success is my success and viceversa..so it works for all of us. i also thought that..once in a while..i would take the opportunity to share their stories on my blog. so today, i am happy to introduce ragna ruffner..ragna creates our organic bath and body care products...i love knowing that they are all handcrafted... here is a bit about her..in her own words...
"I have been using essential oils for over 20 years for aromatherapy, primarily in bath soaks, room sprays and massage oils. I am committed to using organic ingredients, botanical ingredients for coloring, and essential oils for fragrance. I love being creative with luxurious oils and unusual ingredients, however, there is nothing wrong with unscented either! I make my own herb- and flower-infused oils. I grow many of my own organic herbs and flowers and I also visit local lavender farms to hand-pick the lavender that I use in my products. My sister Rena introduced me to soap making. It was not long before I became hooked and had another product to scent! I immediately noticed the change in my skin. No more dryness. Like many people, I just didn't know how real soap, which retains natural glycerin and moisturizing properties, is not drying but nourishing, revitalizing and down-right GOOD for your skin. I have known that skin is the “largest organ of the body” and can absorb both toxins and nutrients. I am committed to using the best organic ingredients I can find for all my soaps. I am always experimenting with different blends of natural bath ingredients and and best of all, testing my products thoroughly before I offer them to you. No animal testing here! All products are manufactured in a smoke free environment. Enjoy natural, handmade products that will change the way you think about bath and beauty - forever!”
i want to continue to find opportunities to recognize craftspeople..and to urge others to seek out individuals who create beautiful, handmade products. my goal is to tell the stories of many of the creators of artisanal foods, organic gardeners, artists, winemakers, chefs and designers here in napa...and... if you know of someone whose story must be told..feel free to email me..or post in the comments section of this blog ..and remember..the best stories are those that are passed on.
napa farmhouse 1885™ "live a green life of style"™