Central Jersey Lifestyle Magazine September 19, 2019
Mother Nature storm led teenage entrepreneur to create “Mother Nature’s Beauty”- by staff writer Kelly Guiliano
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. That was 17-year old Phoebe "Femi" Allen’s mindset when she was young. As a child, Phoebe planned elaborate lemonade stands outside her home. But when her family home in Highlands was destroyed during superstorm Sandy in 2012, the young woman wanted to help out financially. She wanted to bring her lemonade business to the Jersey Shore. Her previous visions for the lemonade stands were guided by a wise mind and youthful spirit. Phoebe drew intricate diagrams of her business and “hired” her friends as employees. That optimistic mindset once involved the thought that her parents might reconfigure their home’s existing driveway to accommodate cars traveling through a series of additional amenities Phoebe imagined could make her lemonade selling business one-of-a-kind. Her plan to sell lemonade in New Jersey came to a halt after the young woman realized she could not sell goods or offer services without a license.
Because Phoebe did not “want to go to child prison” she sought other avenues of financial gain. She was 11.
Lemonade turns into lemon soap...
A fan of American Girl dolls and books, Phoebe came across “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Money”. She read the content, completed quizzes, and concluded that she would sell something she created. “If the American Girl books told Phoebe to do something, she did it’ laughed Beth Allen, Phoebe’s mother. “Ignorance was bliss before she realized she could not make a beverage and sell it without a license… The quiz results were terrible because I personally hate crafts and I knew somehow, as her mother, I would be involved.”
Beth said the only item she could imagine herself helping Phoebe make was soap.
Phoebe turned to the internet. She began watching Soap Queen TV on YouTube, and learned the basics of making and selling homemade soaps. “Honestly, it was really weird how I just made a business,” Phoebe laughed. “I realized (making soap) was a simple craft and I could make it easily (as a child). I told my mom to take me to Michael’s Craft Store. I said “I want to make soap and sell it.” The next summer, Phoebe sold her soap at a farmers market one block away from her Highlands home. Customers thought Phoebe was cute and called her “the soap girl”.
Soap girl becomes soap queen
“She was determined,” Beth said. “We just bought some basic soap making supplies and it actually turned out to be a lot of fun.” Fast forward to 2018 and Beth and Phoebe licensed a thriving business, Mother Nature’s Beauty. Beth left her full-time job at Highlights for Children to work alongside her daughter. “If I was going to be devoting my time and resources to the business rather than getting another full-time job, we had to do it right,” Beth said. “So we established the LLC and got a tax identification number. We signed up to pay sales tax. All that stuff.”
The mother-daughter natural skincare and soap company sells at farmers markets and festivals. Their unique selection of homemade soaps, made with skin-nourishing natural ingredients such as shea butter, kaolin clay and pure essential oils, are handmade at their residence. Their Highlands home was repaired after superstorm Sandy. However, Phoebe’s parents suggested their daughter save the money she made. That money would go toward her college fund. “Phoebe wanted to help after Sandy by lightening our financial load,” Beth said.
The duo said Mother Nature’s Beauty had become a family affair. Phoebe’s father, Christopher Allen, who the two jokingly refer to as their business’ “operations manager,” recently bought a school bus, had the vehicle painted blue and will transform it into a mobile soap store.
Mother Nature's Beauty remains a thriving family-run business
After years of success, Phoebe's business continues to grow. The mobile soap store, endearingly known as the "blue soap bus", is now the trademark of Mother Nature's Beauty. With an expanded list of products and market venues, the company is 100% committed to providing its customers with excellent quality soaps, essential oils, and more.
As an update, Femi is now studying digital art and animation in Seoul South Korea. She still manages to help out the business remotely and is spearheading our effort to launch subscription services. Thanks to all of you who have supported us over the years. We just love having you as our customers!