Soulful Earth Herbals takes the guess work out of personal health care products.
The gratification one can receive from being self-sufficient is invaluable. Taking care of business on your own terms is a testament to one’s drive, passion and integrity. It’s these very elements that have lamented Kathaleen Parker’s hobby turned career as a success.
Soulful Earth Herbals is authentic as it gets. The amount of care and attention to detail that goes into the development of each product is astounding. What’s even more astounding is that it’s all done in-shop by hand using natural, ecofriendly ingredients. Parker has spent over a decade perfecting personal health care remedies in the form of lotions, facial creams, soaps, lip balms, facial mists, foot creams, oils and more. With a heavy focus on the use of herbs, the store is constantly introducing new products. Whether it be a dry scalp or something more serious like joint pain, you will find a remedy here. The shop even has unique lines for canines, mothers and babies.
“I do it because it’s good for you,” said Parker. “When you’re using products with pesticides in the raw material, those aren’t meant for your skin and don’t really jive with your body. I’m really into the energetic balance of everything and creating synergy, so when you have those things, the plan isn’t there anymore.”
The shop’s ethos revolves around the idea of healing your body without the added risk of harmful materials. Using herbal extraction methods the shop works diligently to eliminate and minimize the amount of harmful toxins and pesticides included in topical products. This is the aspect of creation that many major companies are far less stringent on.
“A lot of mainstream products are plant-driven but broken down, and the way components are extracted are often a chemical process,” explained Parker. “It’s taken a lot of research, but it’s all about the end product. What makes my products special is the amount of care and energy I’ve put into making things that are good for you.”
Located at 1131 S. Washington Ave, the shop is in its 12th year of business and stronger than ever. Like many local small businesses before it, Soulful Earth Herbals was birthed in the downtown district’s Lansing City Market. As Parker discovered her calling and developed a strong clientele base, the store transitioned to REO Town. While REO Town is booming and has become a go-to for small business owners in recent years, moving a business there wasn’t always as appealing.
“There was an opportunity to move in, but REO Town was all torn up back then,” reminisced Parker. “It was a leap of faith. I’d established a clientele base, but I wasn’t sure if people would be able to find me. I had no road access and I just decided, let’s do this. But it just keeps growing and it was the right thing to do. It allowed me to redefine what I was able to do and wanted to do.”
That difficult decision was a leap in the right direction. Ultimately, Soulful Earth Herbals has thrived in its current environment. This success hasn’t come easily. Parker, a mother of two young boys, is constantly juggling commitments between family and her storefront. Starting a family is essentially the genesis of Soulful Earth Herbals as well.
“When I got pregnant with my first son I started recognizing how many products we use regularly that are made with chemicals. I started making new things, like lip balm and smaller items,” explained Parker. “From there my interests grew and I had the opportunity to plant my own herb garden, so I did that and started learning about herbs. I began learning more about how to use them and watch them grow. About five years later I had my second son, and I had been making healing sap, so as I was sharing that with the natural birthing community I realized just how many people it was helping.”
Parker’s children are integral members of the business. Parker finds great pride in her ability to provide for her family independently but is first acknowledge that she couldn’t do it without their support. Her youngest, an avid archeology buff, sells handmade dinosaur themed cards at the shop’s front desk; her eldest often lends a hand and even her faithful companion Zeus, a lovable rescue dog from the Capital Area Humane Society, gets in on the action by placing smiles on the faces of visitors.
Parker and her shop are committed to bettering the community. Running a business with such a conscious effort for healthy and beneficial ingredients comes with high overhead costs – but it’s not about the money. It’s about the customers and their health.
For more information about Soulful Earth Herbals visit soulfulearthherbals.com. The shop is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.