Chatti Brown is the founder and owner of Remy & Rose, an organic handmade soap company based in Denver, Colorado.
In 2009, Chatti Brown moved cross-country, swapping the sunny climes of Southern California for the dry plains of Colorado. She might have been happy with her big move, but her irritated skin was not. After a number of unsuccessful attempts to fix the problem with store-bought brands, she had the good fortune of stumbling across a 'how to' book on soap-making and took it as a sign. Fast forward a few years (and many soap batches later) and her troublesome skin is a thing of the past thanks to her own blends of nourishing, palm-free soaps which she now sells in her beautiful online store, Remy & Rose.
Tell us about remy & rose
My online shop is only a year old and there are still days that I wake up in disbelief. Enchanted always, but still a little surprised that this is part of my journey. I always felt a deep connection to plants and knew I would be using them in my daily life to heal and nourish my body. I just didn't realize that there was an avenue for me to help others.
I started making soaps in 2009. I was in grad school and feeling completely burnt out from the work. My skin wasn’t doing so well in the dry climate of Colorado so learning how to make cold process soap seemed like a great challenge that would eventually relieve my skin.
Where does the name come from?
I always thought the name Remy & Rose came to me as a result of a light-bulb moment, but now that I think of it my friend, Anna, should get some credit. I had emailed her about ideas for names and she, being a serious cat lover, supplied me with all these fun names that basically had anything and everything to do with cats. The names didn’t fit with how I envisioned the brand. However, a few days later it dawned on me that I could name the company after my own cats, Remy and Rose.
How would you describe your brand values?
Intentional and sincere.
My general rule is to pick ingredients that are nurturing for the skin. It must have a purpose because filler ingredients are just wasteful. I do a lot of background research before I add anything to my soaps. I love infusing my oils with botanicals such as organic or wild harvested chamomile, yarrow flower, and calendula petals. One thing I was certain of when developing my recipes was that there would be no palm oils in the soap. I will always stand by that decision. I am proud that I have been able to educate those around me about what is happening with the palm oil industry and its effect on deforestation and endangered animals.
You hand make your soaps using natural ingredients. Why is it important to you to work in this traditional way?
Do you know that feeling when you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into something and finally you get it just the way you’ve imagined? That feeling. I go after that feeling. Also, there is something so magical in the fact that I have the ability to transform natural ingredients into something new. I love the beauty of chemistry.
What process do you follow when designing a new soap recipe?
When I come up with a new idea, I sketch out how it will look in my soap journal. I come up with what properties to add based on the scent or vice versa. I let the idea sit for a day or so and after that, modify it if need be. Sometimes an idea will float by and I have to grab at it and dissect it. But I mostly find that if I don’t force an idea it unfolds nicely by itself. If I’m using new ingredients I do a lot of research.
What part of the making process do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy most of the process since I’m using both my left brain and my right brain. But if I get to pick, I really enjoy the unveiling part especially if the soap has swirls. I get so excited to cut into the soap logs and see the design that I’ve made. It’s never the same and that’s the wonderful part of it. Every bar is unique.
And what is the biggest challenge?
The biggest struggle used to be packaging. I do it all myself so it can be a daunting task. Now I have a glass of wine and put on a show which seems to help.
Do you have a favourite soap?
It changes all the time but right now it’s my Ocean Breeze soap with Dead Sea mud and a proprietary blend of essential oils. The soap is clean and invigorating. I use it on my body and my face. Sea clay is extremely rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and sodium so it’s wonderful for your skin. I like to sniff it every time I walk pass the curing rack.
You relocated from the West Coast to Denver - what do you love about your new city?
I am in love with my neighborhood. We have everything within our reach; a park and library across the street. Small shops and yummy eateries are a few blocks away. I also love the easy accessibility to the outdoors, hiking, camping, big blue skies.
How do your new surroundings and community affect your work?
Denver has a big community of makers and it’s a new world I’ve been opened up to. I find that people here are hungry to support small indie businesses. There’s a saying that’s been going around Pinterest and Instagram that goes, “I’m in competition with no one. I want everyone to make it” and that's how I feel about the general vibe of the makers’ community here. The Universe has an abundance of whatever it is that I’m asking for so there’s no need for me to always be in fight mode. And when that message is clear, I can go about being authentic and thrive.
What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
The hardest part is having to do it all. On any given day I wear many hats... from web designer to social media marketer, copywriter to photographer. I have my husband who keeps me on track with the business side and luckily he does the accounting. Otherwise, there are days I stay up really late packaging and making sure orders go out on time.
And the greatest reward?
The greatest reward is the freedom, being able to set the rules, and a feeling of accomplishment.
What does success look like to you?
Success looks like freedom, a beautiful balance between my family life and my business life with attention to what fulfills me. It means listening to my body and trusting my intuition and saying no when it feels wrong and shouting “yes!!” when it feels right.
what advice would you offer to a maker/small business owner?
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” - Brené Brown
I don’t think any advice I can give will surpass that. You can’t be purposeful in life without first coming from a place of self-love.
Which women do you admire?
I admire the women in my family, my mom and my older sisters. I think every girl should grow up with good examples of strong women and I’m lucky I got that. My mom is resilient and there really should be a book written about her life. My older sister, Chanda, has patience and gentleness. And my other sister, Lakana, is funny and spirited. They hold power in their own special way and the love they give me has made my life more meaningful.
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'Ocean Breeze Sea Clay' Soap