Madison Murphy is a stay-at-home mother raising two children, and she started her own business creating natural, vegan sustainable body care products in 2019.
Maddy always knew she wanted to be a mom one day because of her childhood experiences. When she was very young, her parents got divorced, so she lived with her mother and sister until her mother passed away from chronic health issues. Maddy’s older sister was her primary caretaker during these difficult times.
“She’s my sister, my best friend and she’s kind of always been my mother,” Maddy says. “It left an impression. And seeing my sister become a mother, it was like, ‘Oh! I want that!'”
Regarding her business, Maddy drew her inspiration from her personal sensitive skin care needs.
“Both of my children and I have very sensitive skin, and it’s hard to find products that we can use,” Maddy says. “So I started making products for myself, and then I started making products for them. Then it kind of hit me that we’re not the only ones who have a problem finding natural bath and body care. So, I started putting my stuff out there, and it quickly grew from a hobby to a passion when I realized how many people my products were helping.”
Maddy sells various care products through her business, Texas Pines Soapery, including bar soaps, body scrubs, body creams, lip balms and perfume rollers. Maddy has recently branched out and has begun making homecare products, including all-purpose cleaning pods, solid dish soaps, room sprays and car fragrance diffusers.
Producing all this merchandise takes up a tremendous amount of time and home space for Maddy.
“Right now, I don’t have any sort of workshop or building to work out of,” Maddy says. “I do everything out of my home. Between taking care of two kids and all the household things that go on in normal everyday family life, I also have all of my business stuff scattered around too.”
Occasionally, Maddy shares videos on social media to show how she makes her products. One video shows her making Peach Margarita scented soap from her Summer Drink Collection.
Maddy’s most popular products are her bar soaps. Here is how she makes them:
- Start with all-natural oils: olive, coconut, rice bran or castor.
- Mix in a solution of either lye and water or aloe vera and lye.
- Blend it up; it goes through a chemical process called saponification.
- Afterward, you can add fragrance, color, etc.
- Put it in the mold, and let it sit for 24-48 hours to complete the saponification process; it will come out solid.
- Once it is solid, cut it into bars.
- Then it must sit and go through a cure time for four to six weeks before use to allow for excess water to evaporate.
“You end up with a really nice hard bar of soap,” Maddy says. “The harder the bar, the longer it’s going to last. When all is said and done, there is no lye left in the bar. It’s basically a hardened bar of bubbly oils. It’s super cleansing, but it’s super gentle, completely chemical-free. Most of my soaps have fragrances in them, but I use paraben and folate-free and plant-based fragrances, so they’re still super gentle on the skin.”
Other products that are big sellers for Maddy are her body butters and sugar scrubs.
Maddy has two sides to her business: wholesale selling to companies and direct customer purchases. With her direct sales, Maddy has about 10-20 regular customers who consistently return for her homemade products. For wholesale purchases, Maddy has four to five stores that regularly purchase her products.
“It’s the hardest work, but it’s the biggest blessing,” Maddy says. “People are always like, ‘I don’t want to work a nine to five, so I’m gonna be self-employed!’ Well, jokes on you. Now you work 24/7.”
Maddy has had to overcome momentous struggles throughout her life, beginning with the difficulties she encountered during early childhood. Like her mother, Maddy also has health complications as she struggles regularly with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses, which affects her ability to make her products.
“From head to toe, I’m in pain,” Maddy says. “I hurt all the time, and a lot of what I do is I work with my hands. It gets really hard on my hands sometimes to do these things.”
To help her overcome these struggles, Maddy takes medications to help ease her medical complications, but Maddy also has a great support system.
“My husband is amazing,” she says. “He helps me as much as he can all the time, whether it be taking the kids out of the house for a few hours so I can get some rest, helping me pack orders when my hands get sore, helping me with office work or whatever it may be. I think asking for help and having my husband there to help me is one of the biggest ways I overcome my healthcare issues as it relates to motherhood and business.”
Maddy’s life is not without its challenges, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying the many blessings from her multiple roles.
One of the aspects of parenting that Maddy relishes is watching her children grow and having the opportunity to teach them.
“I love that I get to be with these little people all day every day and help to teach them and watch them grow into their own personalities and own people,” Maddy says. “I think it’s just awesome that I get to help form these kids who are eventually going to be productive adults in the real world, and it’s just crazy that…I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. They’re so sweet and innocent. It’s so fun to be with them, teach them and watch them grow.”
Maddy also takes great pride in being a business owner.
“The awesome thing about running my own business is that I get to help support my family while being able to stay home with my children,” she says.
Though Maddy loves her multiple roles, finding balance is not an easy task.
“Balance can be hard to find, especially with kids as young as mine,” Maddy says. “The way that I feel with my health can change from minute to minute. I wake up in the morning not knowing how my day’s going to go, let alone how my kids’ day is going to go and where I’m going to find time to get my work in. We kind of fly by the seat of our pants, to be honest. I set expectations with my clients as far as processing times; that way, I have some wiggle room to get orders out.”
Looking toward the future, Maddy has significant goals for herself.
“I’m working towards expanding the wholesale side of my business, getting into more stores, more states and really try to push my brand,” she says.
Madison’s family also plans on moving to be closer to her family and once they settle, she hopes to have a dedicated manufacturing facility outside her home.
Maddy advises other mothers thinking about starting their own business to follow their dreams but to also look into costs, products, licenses and regulations beforehand.
“Do it!” Maddy says. “Is it going to be hard? Yes. Is there any one easy magical way to do it? No. Find your niche, figure out what you want to do and do it. Make it happen. You can do it. But I would say do your research.”
To Maddy, “she can be both” is a symbol of female empowerment.
“‘She can be both’ is like empowerment: a word of encouragement,” Maddy says. “It’s hard being a mother. It’s hard being a business owner. But you can do it, and you can do both and you can be great at it.”