An Idea Is Born
Lavender Moon Herb Gardens began out of my need to find a more healthful lifestyle. For many years I suffered from chronic ailments and also developed allergies from additives in almost everything I came into contact with, foods, medicines and cosmetics. The allergic reactions were frustrating and at times very scary which led me to search for alternatives. I began researching herbal remedies from my grandfather’s book “Back to Eden” and was quickly drawn into the world of herbal healing. As my chronic symptoms lessened, I became encouraged to share what I had learned with family and others in my community. I began creating tea blends and a variety of natural skincare products with herbs from my garden. Soon after, I registered as a business and received my DBA. After reading a book by world renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, I decided to study with her and made the sacrifice one weekend every month to leave my family behind and trek to Vermont. It took several years before completing my apprenticeship and advanced clinical training with her at Sage Mountain.
Hosting Home Parties
As the product line grew, I needed a marketing plan. I came up with the idea of hosting parties in the homes of friends and family. I would bring 10-15 sample products to a small gathering of women and talk about the healing benefits of using herbs and natural vs. synthetic ingredients. Orders would be placed ,then I would go home and make everything in my kitchen. It didn't take too long before the orders became too much to keep up with. I recruited a women I had met at our children's preschool class to help out with the mixing and packaging. Soon Sharon and I became great friends and she continued on the journey with me for many years. The home parties continued, the product line grew, and from there I designed a mail order catalog.
Our Move To Honeoye Falls
In the fall of 1998 we bought a 7 acre farm in Honeoye Falls, NY. We designated a small room in our house as a temporary "shop" which was not open to the public but where regular customers could pick up their orders and see new products. Growing the business while raising and home-schooling four children was not always easy. So many times I considered throwing in the towel. I would get knocked down and stay there, sometimes for days, too overwhelmed from the stress and obligations of growing a business, but then I'd pick myself up again, motivated by something my father would always say to me,"The only successful people are the ones who never quit!'"
That Spring, my husband began cultivating the fields and planting the first crop and by mid summer the plants were ready for harvest. The business was becoming a family venture. Soon the kids were involved in the harvesting, processing and packaging of the herbs. I was thrilled when they willingly got involved and were eager to learn.
The Barn Renovation
A small room at the back of our house was where we originally prepared and packaged our products. As the business grew it became obvious Lavender Moon needed a place of its own. My husband and father began restoring an old 19th century, 4000 square foot barn on the property that would become the future home of Lavender Moon. Many of the materials were salvaged from an old victorian cottage my husband had dissembled. Half of the barn would be used as the retail storefront, the remaining half would be used for the fully licensed kitchen, where all of the products would be made.
Lavender Moon Opens To The Public
In the early years of the business, herbal remedies and natural skin care were not the trend as they are today. It took some time for people to grasp what Lavender Moon was about, nevertheless I continued to keep consistent shop hours along with giving talks at local libraries and garden club events. Eventually I began offering classes and herb walks at our farm and replaced home parties with “shop” parties. Soon the focus on Lavender Moon widened and many articles began appearing in local papers and magazines, the Rochester Business Journal, Rochester Magazine & The Ontario County Connection, to name a few. Eventually the mail order catalog was replaced with a website and online ordering along with a quarterly newsletter and a customer-reward program, "The Herb Shop Club", which all became my new marketing tools.
Giving Thanks and "To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn".......
Each year as the gardens are planted, harvested, then laid to rest for the winter, we are reminded by the cycle of the seasons that without fail, everything changes. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven..." Ecclesiates 3:1 So many people have come and gone, left their mark in someway, through the growing years of Lavender Moon. I am thankful for all their help, patience, support and ideas that they have contributed. It has allowed me to keep moving forward, to continue to find my creative spirit. For the time being I have taken a break from the shop parties and garden walks but continue moving forward.
Lavender Moon now uses an iPad to process orders, has a Facebook page, Instagram and this new website! We have also branched out to a few local stores such as Hart's Local Grocers and Solstice Artisan Market as well as the Brighton & Victor Farmer Markets.