Business Close-up: Bath and Body Creations: handmade and sold locally
It is two weeks from Christmas, and only the ‘impossible to buy for’ remain on the shopping list. It’s not an unusual predicament and one that can often be remedied by shopping locally –finding a unique gift by walking down main street.
Bath and Body Creations in the Brown Street Mall is one shop that would fit that description. Michele Baumgartner is a third generation candle maker who also makes and sells a variety of organic lotions and soaps, inspired by her mother.
“My line of skin care products is called ‘Inspired by Jan,’” said Michele. “Jan (Bateman) was my mom who, along with my great-aunts, taught me how to make candles. She also was my inspiration to research and create the healthy products I sell.”
It was after Jan was diagnosed with cancer that Michele became interested in organics. “Like many people faced with cancer, I began to wonder why. After a lot of reading, it occurred to me that what we put in and on our bodies matters.”
And thus ‘Inspired by Jan’ was born; products handmade with healthy ingredients. Bath and Body Creations has been in its current location since fall, 2013. For a couple of years prior to that Michele took her wares to craft fairs and flea markets. Today, her store is open six days a week. Organic face and body creams and lotions and bath bombs and fizzies are Michele’s best sellers. A sign in the store touts they are sulfate and paraben free, non-irritating, and affordable.
“I make everything myself. My 8-year old daughter and husband help create and try the products,” she said. “So I can also offer these things at a reasonable price. I want to share these healthy products with others.” Michele is also willing to try new things—products that customers request, with mixed results. “Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t!” But she continues to experiment and tweak product recipes to get the best results.
Especially for the holidays, Michele will customize gift baskets to fit every recipient. Scented body wash, hand soap, bubble bath, moisturizing sugar scrubs and goat milk lotions, essential oils and bar soaps that look too pretty to use are just a few of the options that fit nicely in a gift basket.
Bath and Body Creations is located just inside the door at 34 S. Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander; the phone number is 715-360-3506. Check out the website at inspiredbyjan.weebly.com.