I often describe Natural Madison using the term "we" instead of "me" because I like to think of this as a family effort. Even though it was my idea to start this business, everyone in my family has a small part at one time or another.
First of all, there is me, the one who came up with the idea of an at home business. I am Jennifer, 21 years old, and married to a wonderful army man, Chris, with one crazy toddler boy, Madison, and another boy expected shortly this summer. I grew up in western Pennsylvania, I had what to me was a normal childhood. My mother instilled values into me and my older brother, the same ones she had when she grew up. We would plant several vegetable gardens every summer, with green beans, tomatoes, carrots, corn, peas, squash, pumpkins, etc. We also had a few blueberry bushes in our yard to pick from. My mother also loved flowers, so we had plenty of those around too. Everyone would help plant, weed, and harvest the garden. When I was younger, I would carry a chip basket and hold it for my mother to fill with our bounty.
In the kitchen of our rustic log home(that my dad and his family build), we would can and freeze all of our produce and more--my mother would scour produce stands and farmer's markets for fresh, seasonal produce to save for the winter. We would also go berry picking at a local farm, fresh strawberries and raspberries to be frozen for pies and made into jam. I would help my mother can peaches, tomatoes, green beans, and make salsa, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce. It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun too.
I also did a lot of arts and crafts as a child. I was enrolled in art classes at the local art center at an early age, that is where I first learned the techniques about drawing, painting, and a little bit of sculpting. Later, I perfected my ways from high school classes as well as plenty of books. My grandmother taught me the basics of sewing, which I used quite a lot in high school to make my own purses, skirts, and other clothing. I also expirimented a lot with dyeing my own clothing, as well as bleaching and stonewashing techniques.
I got my first soapmaking kit when I was just 12 years old, it was a simple melt and pour kit, but I remembered it well when my husband left for his first deployment a few years ago--which is when I started to take soapmaking up as a serious hobby.
With all those things and more, I learned about a simpler, healthier way of living which has helped shape who I am today. I strive to keep the things my mother taught me alive, by gardening at home and preserving foods. I buy a lot of fresh foods and produce for my family to eat, use "greener" methods for cleaning and living, as well as a few things I picked up on my own like cloth diapering my children. Arts and crafts are still a very important aspect of my life, as it reflects not only in my business but my home as well. I try to make as many things I can myself, from paintings to pillows, curtains, and other decorative things.
The second important part of Natural Madison is my family, which would be my husband Chris(whom I've been married to for almost four years), and my three year old son, Madison(the namesake behind NM!). My husband plays a key role because he helps out a lot financially for supplies and other materials, as well as running packages to the post office during his lunch break at work, and sometimes helping me package items. My son Madison is a big inspiration for me. He loves to take baths, so he gets to test out all of my kid's products. He also wears a lot of my tie dyed and painted clothing. Often times too, he will give me his "opinion" on certain things I make, he loves smelling all of my soaps and potions.
I am very happy and thankful to be able to work from home, and to provide for my family by making natural and safe products for other families to use.