Hillary Childs displays some of her handmade body care products on an old John Deere tractor at her home off Otter Point Place. Childs is making soaps

From hobby to small home-based business

Body care products being introduced at country and night markets in Sooke

Taking the leap from hobby to a full fledged business is often a scary step. It means your passion has to be combined with commitment. For Hillary Childs, the steps ahead have been a bit anxious, but she took the path anyway.

Childs is the owner of  Huckleberry Hill, and she makes handcrafted soap and body care products.

She said she has been making soap for about 15 years. She did it with her mother in the Vancouver area and back then she made soap for family and friends, as gifts, and for herself mostly. She wanted natural products which weren’t full of chemicals and harsh ingredients. She took a herbalist course and experimented with essential oils, herbs and natural ingredients.

“It’s constant experimenting, trial and error for a lot of stuff,” she said. “I always used a natural deodorant and was trying to find one that worked after a run at lunch, most didn’t work.”

So she started making her own natural deodorant with sweet orange and geranium, and the response has been positive. Other products are made with as many local products as she can find. She believes in fair trade products, no GMOs and sourcing locally. Some things she just can’t get locally.

“We don’t grow almonds or olives.”

In the name of recycling and reusing she’s willing to take back her containers to have them refilled with product.

Doing research on natural ingredients, she has found that pomegranate is good for aging skin; red raspberry seed oil for sun protection, calendula has healing properties and shea butter is a anti-inflammatory. Add to that the new wonder product coconut oil and you have the ingredients Childs prefers to use.

Courses, workshops, research and experimenting provided her with the knowledge and the rest comes from her own passion. She lives with her family on 11 acres off Otter Point Place and has plans for growing many of her own herbs and setting up a permanent work space. With two children and a husband who works at Jordan River, Childs has to make time for her own work. She committed to the Saturday Country Market as well as the Night Market at the museum for the entire season. That’s big for her.

“I’m just trying to keep up, I’m blown away by putting myself out there.”

She is enjoying the markets and the interaction with people.

“I believe in getting out in your community, focussing on them and getting feedback,” she said.

It’s a big transition from something you do every few weeks to being ahead of the game, she said. She is taking it seriously.

“I hope what I make is going to sell. It’s a change from on demand to really having to predict and have inventory.”

Childs carries some of her products at Inspire on Eustace Road and at the weekly markets.

Currently it is a small home-based business and Childs is happy with that — for now.

“I don’t want to end up too too big. I still would like to work from home and move more into online sales,” she said.

“I love doing this stuff, experimenting and creating. It’s really fun to do.”

The Saturday Country Market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the junction of Eustace and Otter Point Roads. The Night Market runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sooke Region Museum on Phillips Road.

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