When Hurricane Katrina tore through Mississippi, countless homes were obliterated. One of those destroyed in that devastating storm was the home of Connie Bowman’s mother.
In the true sense of “finding the silver lining,” Connie counted it as a blessing that her mother subsequently moved in with her family.
Connie was always partial to bath and body products, but found quality lacking and the prices often too high. In response to this, Connie began to research how to make her own bath and body products. It wasn’t long before she was using her friends, family and, neighbors as product testers. As Connie continued to develop more products, her “product testers” began asking to purchase them as gifts for others; and so, Connie’s Creations was born.
When Connie’s mother’s health began to deteriorate, Connie quit her teaching job to be where she was most needed. This also provided the opportunity to focus on her new business. Connie’s mother often sat with her while she worked, constantly reminding her that she could do anything she put her mind to.
In 2009 Connie’s mother, aged 81, suddenly passed away. At first Connie’s grief prevented her from
continuing on, but soon she realized that her biggest cheerleader, the one who always told her she could do anything, would always be there, cheering her on. So, with her mother’s lasting words echoing in her mind, and determined to prove her right, Connie continued.
Connie’s Creations offers handmade bath and body products and hand poured soy candles. “I believe in providing good quality without charging the huge prices found in most retail stores,” Connie said.
Connie recalls the first time she made soap; although she enjoyed that initial experience, it was when she tried the Cold Process of soap making (from scratch) that she knew she was hooked! After mastering soap, she then learned to make lotions and scrubs. Completely self-taught, she would spend hours researching methods and supplies.
Connie tries to educate people about bath and body products, so they will understand what they are buying. For example, the typical store-bought soap contains more detergent than any other ingredient. “It cleans but it also dries,” she explains. “The [products] that advertise they don’t leave a ring in your tub are the ones that have the most detergent. They also strip the natural oils from your skin. My soap is a natural product that will leave your skin feeling clean and moisturized, not dried out. I think the product speaks for itself: once someone uses handmade soap vs. store-bought they will know which is better for their skin.”
Months of trial and error and testing goes into Connie’s creative process, where patience is definitely a requirement. “It’s a challenge for me to wait for soap to be ready [as] it takes 6 weeks or more to cure, and I get so impatient waiting for it to be done. I always slice it as soon as I possibly can because I love to see what each bar will look like.”
Connie attributes her success and dedicates her business to her mother, whom she misses dreadfully. “When I work, I feel her there with me still cheering me on.”
By Miranda Jordan
Taken from Magnolia State of Mind 2013 edition. The official magazine of the Mississippi Craft Show. www.magnoliastateofmind.com
About the Mississippi Craft Show
Mississippi Craft Show – August. The state’s only 100% Mississippi Handmade art and craft show. Featuring handworks from Mississippi craftsmen. www.mscraftshow.com
Handmade USA Show – March. The same quality handworks you expect at the August show from Mississippi craftsmen and also from across the region. All 100% handmade in the USA. www.handmadeusashow.com