Ever noticed that the longer the list of ingredients on a personal care product, the higher the price? And that the higher price and long list of unpronounceable names of chemicals doesn’t mean the product will actually perform as advertised?
That was the experience of Southern Bath Products owner Kim Thornton, who was looking for a moisturizer that would do what it says it is supposed to do: moisturize dry skin. Research led her to illipe butter, made from a plant found in the jungles of Borneo that is known for being a great remedy for chronically dry or weathered skin.
Thornton started experimenting with different moisturizer recipes using illipe butter as the main ingredient, with all of the other ingredients from natural sources, as well.
“I gave it to a bunch of friends to let them try it,” Thornton said. “They loved it. One thing led to another, and I started my business called Southern Bath Products. My number one seller is Grocery Store Foot Cream. It has really taken off. It is just a really good, all natural, simple and inexpensive product for everyday use. I bet we have sold 1,200 jars since beginning the business.”
Thornton said the foot cream is so popular because dry and weathered feet are common in the South where the weather is often nice enough to go bare footed or wear sandals.
“We do tend to forget about our feet sometimes,” Thornton said. “If people have problems with dry feet, I recommend they also use our Sugar Scrub to get the dead skin off of their feet. I use it daily in the shower, and I also use a pumice stone for routine maintenance. Those things seem to work really, really well. It keeps your feet soft.”
Thornton has a full line of products now ranging from moisturizers to bath salts and sugar scrubs. She said her In The Buff Face Cream is good for general moisturizing, and people have also said it is helpful for eczema or psoriasis. While she doesn’t advertise this as an anti-aging cream, she thinks it helps to maintain youthful skin.
“I don’t believe anti-aging creams do everything they claim they can do.,” Thornton said. “I don’t think there is one absolute product that is going to keep you looking youthful when you are 80. You are going to age, but you can age gracefully. Proper moisturizing and hydrating the skin is the key to helping prevent the skin from aging. Our clients tell us the iIllipe butter really works.”
Southerners like a bargain, and Thornton plays to that. Her products average about $10 each, or she currently has a special of three for $25.
“I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your beauty products, and I’m not going to,” Thornton said. “I wanted something inexpensive that works. Because of the economy, people can’t afford a $100 jar of lotion. There is no need to spend that kind of money when you can get something all natural that is cheap, and that works.”
Thornton works as a secretarybookkeeper for a business in town, and does Southern Bath Products as a sideline business. She has big plans for the future. She decided to start the business after watching a talk show about a woman who started a home-based business that turned into a multi-million-dollar company.
After watching the show, Thornton said, “I can do that!,” So, although she had no manufacturing experience, she started finding out all she could and experimenting with different recipes for products.
While she sells in stores in Crystal Springs, Jackson and Florence, most of her sales are through word-of-mouth and via Facebook. She also does the Canton Flea Market in October. Her home spa parties are fun, and particularly popular around the holiday season when people are looking for gifts.
Once people starting using the products, they sell themselves.
“I have so many people call me weekly who got my product as a present, and want to reorder,” Thornton said. “I haven’t had to do a lot of marketing. In talking with people, they like having all natural ingredients. A lot of people are going to an all-natural makeup. They want to be able to pronounce what they are using, and avoid all those synthetic byproducts.”
Thornton gets help in the business from her children, Cheyanne and Alex and, and her husband Shad.
“Southern Bath Products is definitely a family business,” she said. “They all pitch in and help me out when I need them.”
More on Southern Bath Products
Name of Business: Southern Bath Products
Date Founded: December 2011
Owner: Kim Thornton
Coolest thing about business: “Simple, natural, made-in-Mississippi products that won’t bust the pocketbook.”