This Mother’s Cottage Industry Tale

Posted on June 04, 2021 by Colette Souder | 0 comments

Colette and her family the last time they were all together. From left to right, Dominic, John, Clare, Colette’s husband Steve, Colette, Mary, Mary’s husband Sam, Anne, Kathleen, Kathleen’s husband Tim.


I started Rainwater Farm shortly after my fourth child was born. I knew I needed to help my husband financially with our growing family, and I kept praying for God to show me something I could do to help make ends meet.

Around this time, 1991, a house guest left 3 bars of her homemade soap on our bathroom sink as a thank you gift.  I thought it was a bit weird because I never knew anyone who made their own soap, and I even contemplated not using it.  But curiosity won the day and was I surprised when after using it only once, I was hooked.  I vowed to figure out how to make soap that felt like this did: moisturizing, long-lasting, and fragrant. About a year later, I made my first batch of soap and not long after that, Rainwater Farm was born.

I am the mother of six children and many of my local customers have seen them over the past 29 years working with me at craft fairs and farmer's markets. They were a very important part of the business. They helped me make the soap, package it, and most importantly, sell it. 

You might be interested in knowing what has become of them.

Clare, 21, is working on a teaching degree with a specialty in Montessori Education at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania. She recently spent 7 months in France and relished becoming quite conversant in French before she had to return to the States due to COVID. 

Dominic, 24, is working in Nashville with a landscape architect while pursuing a degree in business at Middle Tennessee State University.  He spent a year in Oregon working on a farm in exchange for room and board.  

Anne, 29, received a BFA in dance from Fordham University in NYC and is now dancing with Martha Graham Dance Company. She has been able to travel the world doing what she loves. This New Years Eve, in Ireland, she will marry Mike Ferrara.

Mary, 32, received a BS in nursing from Saint Mary’s College and worked in oncology in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville and now lives and works in Stamford, CT. In July 2019, she married Sam Werner, and they were happy that their wedding was celebrated before COVID hit. 

John, 34, received Chemical Engineering and Philosophy degrees from Notre Dame, spent three years studying in Rome, and has been a high school teacher for the past several years. He is my consultant both in product and business development. John is interested in all thing culinary. He roasts his own coffee beans, butchers, and enjoys cooking, especially Cajun and Italian food.

Kathleen, 36, also received a degree from Notre Dame and spent many years working in marketing after graduation. Six years ago, she rebranded RWF, making our packaging more beautiful and environmentally friendly. She started a non-profit business helping companies in developing countries promote their businesses. In 2013, she married Tim Dickinson and last October they moved to Ireland where Tim is working in IT for a Swiss Company.  
Rainwater Farm's beginning represents the desire of my husband and me to provide more opportunities for our six children by producing a product that we believed in. In looking back over the past 29 years, I am truly grateful for my loyal customers whose support has helped me to expand my product-line and to grow in my commitment to the values behind RWF's motto, "Do No Harm."

Colette Souder
Rainwater Farm



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