The heavenly smell of soothing lavender and uplifting lemongrass waft from Tara Parish’s quaint Middleton farmers’ market booth on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Shoppers unfamiliar with her products probably stop first for the smells—but quickly realize that Parish’s Shade Tree Naturals line is worth the pause. Her handcrafted soaps, hand and lip balms are 100 percent all natural, and Parish will gladly fill you in on every ingredient in her wares. It’s her life.
When Parish had her first son eight years ago, she started buying baby body-care products but was disheartened to find that many weren’t as all-natural as they seemed. “So that spurred my research and not wanting to use those products on him. And that’s when I started my business,” says Parish.
She started reading about essential oils, soap-making and where companies source products from. “If I was going to make natural products, I wanted to know every single ingredient that was in something I was using and what I was putting on mine and my family’s bodies. I had also had multiple pregnancy losses and there were no answers from anybody on what was happening, and this was a big time for me to switch how I did everything.”
Parish taught herself how to make lip and hand balms online. She took a soap-making class in northern Wisconsin. She then tweaked all of her recipes to craft her own exclusive formulas. Parish sources all of her own ingredients and asks her wholesalers for Material Data Safety Sheets or proof of sustainability for their products. “And anything I can get locally, I do. If I put coffee in my soap, I use a fair-trade local roaster, or beeswax from a local farm,” she explains.
This fall she’ll introduce seasonal scents like orange clove, pumpkin chai, peppermint and vanilla honey in addition to her year-round scents of lavender lemongrass, eucalyptus spearmint and more.
“I want to focus mostly on women and children and them making healthy choices for their families,” says Parish. “I want to be a business people can trust and as close to nature as possible.”
This fall look for her at the Middleton Farmers’ Market (through October), the Makers Market Sun Prairie (Oct. 7), Dane Handmade (Nov. 14) and the Madison Makers Fall Market & Pub Crawl (Nov. 23).
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our four publications cover the picturesque lake communities of Lake Geneva, Madison, Lake Country and Northwoods.
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