In 1992, I founded Rainwater Farm in Maryville, Tennessee at a time when all-natural, handmade soaps were both uncommon and relatively unknown. A former city girl, living and working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, my husband and I moved to East Tennessee with a desire to raise our young children in a way that was more connected to nature and all its beauty and bounty.

It all started when a visiting friend from Montana gave me a few bars of some natural soaps she made–and after using them I knew I could never go back to using commercial soaps or body products again. I spent a year carefully studying artisan soapmaking methods, and finally made my first batch of Oatmeal Lavender soap using pure rainwater collected in our wooden rain barrels, and stirring it for hours it in the middle of my kitchen. My family and I used some, I gave some away, and eventually I started selling the soap to members of our small Maryville community. Slowly but surely Rainwater Farm grew. As a true family business, myself, my husband, and our six children made and packaged every single item selling it at craft fairs, festivals, and markets all across East Tennessee.

All these years later, some things have changed, yet most things have stayed the same. We’re one of the oldest soap companies in Tennessee and have branched out from making only bar soap to now making an array of other products such as healing salve and bug repellent. We still handcraft every single item and now ship products daily all over the country. But most importantly, our driving force to make small-batch, pure, nourishing, and all-natural products for our families and others’ hasn’t wavered.

Rainwater Farm is located in Maryville, TN, owned and operated by Colette Souder