Who we are...
Apothecarie Brand Co. was developed to hand-make a kinder soap. We’ve been making soap since 1988 from fresh botanicals from our own gardens, from cuttings from other gardeners and growers, or from harvested material from around the world where fair wages are guaranteed to the farmer by their governing authorities.
Heather Wheatley, company founder developed her love of horticulture from an early age and was taught by her grandmother, Hildreth Morton in Davidsonville, Maryland in the family’s nursery business. The nursery was a niche of herbs and aquatics that drew customers from all over the Mid-Atlantic area. Great horticulturists and botanists gathered there to study rare herbs and aquatic plants. Heather took an early interest in growing herbs. As her interests grew she became highly skilled at extracting the essential oils and beneficial hydrosols from all forms of plant materials.
As the granddaughter of a scientist, Heather was born with curiosities focused in botany. The sequence of propagating to harvesting and then to extracting was an inevitable future for her curiosities. Finding the most beneficial use of the extracts was the next step in her botanical quest.
In 1986, Patricia Kenny of the National Herb Society took a generous interest in Heather’s work and suggested that truly botanical soap would be a great use of the oils and an asset to both the nursery and to the community. It took little coaxing for Hildreth to share her tested and timeless botanical recipes with Heather.
In 1988, we first offered our first batch of cold-pressed soap made exclusively from olive oil, aloe-vera and lavender essential oil. Within a few months customer after customer converted themselves and their friends to a purely botanical-based soap. For the next 18 years, the Bittersweet Hill Nursery soap line grew to 9 traditional fragrances (or flavors as they were affectionately know) and 15 seasonal fragrances.
Our mission was to inform, educate and change peoples' minds about the soap that they used. Little research revealed the senseless use of animal fat and animal by-products used by the cosmetic industry and by extension in the soap that we were using on our children and our own bodies. Though our soaps were beautifully received and in demand we were not really meeting our mission. It was difficult at that time of excess and luxury to help people understand that the soap that they were using was luxurious but there was no need for animal fat or animal by-products to make soap. In fact, some people were not even aware that sodium tallowate, a major ingredient in mass-produced factory manufactured soap, was actually animal fat. It was, after all the ‘80’s.
In 2010, the Apothecarie Brand Co. was started with the encouragement of family and friends to continue the original mission to educate, inspire and hand-make a kinder soap. Hildreth passed away shortly before the company started, but her commitment to horticulture and her love of science was deeply embedded in Heather. Equally as important as Hildreth’s inspiration is the secret family recipe that is closely guarded by the Apothecarie Brand Co. team.
Today, the recipe and process is still the same not only because it is timeless but because it is healthy and kind to the body and to the environment. Apothecarie Brand Co. grows its own herbs and botanicals for use in making soap and lotions. Whenever necessary, using the same stringent standards, ingredients are also procured from local farmers, cooperatives and the fair-trade market.