Paula Foore and Carla Crownover, owners of Springdale Handmade, share the story of how they turned their mutual hobby into a flourishing business.
By Madison Matous, Photos by Lauren Jones
Visiting Springdale Farm is like discovering a secret garden. The farm stand is out front, and just beyond that are rows of vegetables and herbs, the sound of chickens and ducks nearby. The owner’s dog, Ellie May, enthusiastically greets guests upon arrival with a friendly bark. The farm, which lies just 10 minutes from downtown, in East Austin, is a tranquil getaway from the city and is home to a burgeoning soap business, Springdale Handmade, run by friends Paula Foore and Carla Crownover.
Foore and Crownover became fast friends through their mutual love of crafting. They started with canning and moved on to making soap. Soon, word spread and the pair decided to start selling their creations at Foore’s farm stand.
“We made the decision to sell our soap at the farm stand and created our brand that day,” Crownover recalls. “We began with nine soap bars and, within a couple hours, we sold out!”
With each success, they grew their business and added other products, like body butter and sugar scrubs, along with requested items like deodorant.
“The business evolved naturally,” Foore remembers. “Carla is a former paralegal, so she took care of the paperwork for the partnership, and I already had an accounting program that I used for the farm, so I took care of that.”
They incorporate as many of the plants they grow on their farm as they can, but the most unique ingredient they use is luffa.
“Most people don’t know, but luffa is actually a plant,” Crownover laughs.
Luffa plants hang from an archway at the entrance of their greenhouse and the vines wrap around the arbor, creating a canopy. Golden flowers spot the archway. Once they have been picked, they are set out to dry and then placed into PVC pipes to set. The luffa plants are first dried and then used for the cold-processed soaps.
Austin Woman caught up with Foore and Crownover on one of their soap-making days. The smell of rose, geranium and lavender filled the air.
“My husband complains about the strong smells on soap-making days, so we kicked him out today,” Foore jokes.
The luffa soap was cooling on the table while goat milk and honey cooked on the stove.
“Goat milk can be a bit tricky, so you have to keep a close eye on it,” Crownover notes.
The pair then added essential oils to the mixture and poured the finished product into molds, where it will set for a few weeks.
While not every day is a soap-making day, the pair gets together about two times a week. The fall season is especially busy, as they are preparing for the upcoming holiday season.
For more information about Springdale Farm and Springdale Handmade, visit springdalefarmaustin.com.