President of Waterfall Glen Soap Company LLC
I met Douglas during the French Market on sunday in Geneva, IL near the train station. I was drawn to the fresh scent of the products and the story behind them. Douglas is a very passionate man who works with his partner Katia to create goodness & body care! The products are natural, vegan, and handcrafted with care. Douglas & Katia share their wisdom with us in this interview, Waterfall Glen Soap is a comapny with heart.
What is your personal mantra?
- Katia: care for others, share with others.
- Doug: “Seek goodness and Goodness seeks you.” — Rumi
What inspired you to create Waterfall Glen Soap Company?
On a walk-about trip to southeast Asian in the fall of 2012… I found myself in a soap & cosmetics store. While there, I purchased a lemongrass charcoal soap to mark the journey. Back home in Chicago; I wanted to capture the memory. I researched the processes of basic soap making and made my own rough version. After that I began to create soaps for more travel or emotional experience I’ve had. I shared my new art on FaceBook and soon friends were purchasing everything. I continued making soap and the trend grew. Moving forward and more organized my company was born in the late summer of 2013.
I met my partner and love of my life; Katia, in the spring of 2014 and we expanded the company and our practice of marking travel experiences, thoughts, moods or romantic wistful thinking.
I named the company Waterfall Glen Soap after the forest preserve near my home. We instill the ‘all natural’ philosophy into our company and lifestyle. It is the ‘artist’ in each of us that has breathed life into Waterfall Glen Soap Company. Our products have stories, history, depth, character, color, imagination. Our deeply connected experiences give reason as to ‘why’ for many of our products.
What is the story behind the “goodness” philosophy?
Katia; uses the phrase “yes, goodness” in most of her daily talk. I heard it a lot in the beginning of our relationship and I believe in my core that ‘we are all good’ inside…although some of us might hide it better than others.‘Share the Goodness’ was a combination of quotes from Rumi and Katia’s personal phrase ‘yes goodness’ that developed our slogan and company philosophy.
What are some lessons you have learned during your career as an artist and businessman?
- Do not sell yourself or your work short. If you do not value yourself or your talent, how do you expect others to?
- Patience – for others always. Do not envy your neighbor. You don’t know the struggles they are dealing with. None of us has a free ride in this world.
- Some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you.
- The essence of a person is their character. Be honest, diligent and work hard.
- Treat the ‘company’ as if it is a child. Make certain that it has the means to grow and a plan to follow.
You are also the creator of Coggeshall Artistry, how has being an artist shaped your perspective on life?
Being an artist honed my perspective of empathy – you begin to realize how we are all connected. The actions and words of One affects Everyone. What we do as a career doesn’t define how we perceive the world. A scientist, business or salesperson can be just as passionate or in awe of beauty as an artist. While I might notice depth of color or savour the richness of life differently. I hold no secret window into a magical world. There is a little bit of artist in all of us.
What advice do you have for those who want to create their own company?
If you are creating a business to get rich or expect to work less – you are fooling yourself or have read too many self-help books. Be prepared to sacrifice everything for your dreams and work very, very, very hard for your company.
Take every part time job that crosses your path so that you can keep yourself afloat and focus your free time on building your business. One by one, as you gain strength and market share you can cut out the part time jobs and focus more on your business. Take advantage of a business mentor or in our case; S.C.O.R.E. (Service Core Of Retired Executives), a free service through the Small Business Association. There are S.C.O.R.E. Chapters in every county.
Owning and running a business is much like raising a child. It is demanding, fussy, requires a hell of a lot of attention, sometimes sleepless nights, yet in the long run will provide the greatest joys. Working all day in our studio is more like playtime even though it’s still work. We love to create and we love to service our customers.
Where is one of your favorite places you have traveled to? Why?
That’s like asking me what my favorite color might be or favorite food. I’ve traveled more than some and less than others. I’ve seen a lot and there are still so many places I want to go. The more I travel the deeper the hunger to press on and see more. The world is a very big place and there are always edges of the map left to be discovered.
I often look up when a plane is passing overhead and wonder: “Where are they going? Where can I go next?”
Photo Credit: Waterfall Glen Soap website