A Soap is Born; How this Mom Built a Business Out of Love
In these confined, quarantine times, many of us are spending more time with our families than ever, whether we want to or not. For me, that's meant becoming a Google Classroom gladiator to help my son with his first year of high school. Necessity is the mother of invention and as Liam's mother, I never thought I'd have to revisit Algebra 1. But as moms, we do what we have to. This life role forces us out of our comfort zones and makes us do things we never knew or thought we ever could. And out of that can come some pretty awesome stuff.
Take Krystn Keller for example. She was working as an Apple-computer technician in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama when her first son, Elliot, was born. He had a turbulent birth and spent time in the NICU before being released home. Three months later, an itchy rash appeared on his face and worsened overtime, which was diagnosed as severe eczema. He also had more than 50 allergies. After trying everything including 14 different doctor trips and countless creams, soaps and chemical-laden prescriptions, Elliot kept scratching and Krystn was at her wits' end.
"The whole experience, it lit a fire in me, and I knew I had to do something," said Keller. Not having the slightest clue how to make soap, Krystn did some deep Google sleuthing and eventually started making her own skincare products in an effort to soothe her uncomfortable child by watching You Tube videos of Anne-Marie, The Soap Queen.
After about three months of playing mad scientist, she perfected a soap that started to heal her baby Elliot's rash. Made with certified organic and gluten-free oats, the bar also contains organic and sustainable palm oil, organic coconut oil, organic refined sunflower oil, organic Shea butter, rice bran oil, and castor oil.
Not long after that, Krystn followed up with an organic Herbal Salve and a Refined Body Butter, both part of Elliot's daily personal care regime.
"To finally see results, it was amazing," says Krystn. "Knowing that I did that for him. He was very much trapped by his eczema, There's no better feeling."
People around town began seeing Elliott's skin clear, they became curious about the products used on him. Turns out, eczema sucks lots of people and Krystn's special recipes were soon in high demand, "I never intended to create a business," she says. "I didn't have any business background, so I often doubted myself on whether I had enough knowledge to take on this venture."
Before long, Keller Works was born and Krystn's lack of business savvy didn't seem to hurt as she soon landed her products on the shelves of local and regional retailers, including Whole Foods Market. She moved from her home kitchen to a real warehouse and to this day, continues expanding the line to include many different natural products including a gorgeous and effective line of homemade soaps like Lemon + Lavender, Sea Salt Citrus and her newest one, Hibiscus Bergamot. Keller Works also makes Essential Oil Roll-Ons, Bath Salts, Beard Oil, Lip Balms, Hand Sanitizer Spray, and After-Sun Hyrdro Mist, and my favorite, an organic insect repellent that actually works and smells good called BUG OFF.
But what's the most incredible part of this entire story is that YouTube got wind of how Krystn was inspired to heal her son's eczema from watching videos on their channel and included her in their United States of YouTube series, which currently has more than 700,000 views.
The video starts off with Krystn sitting in her kitchen talking. “A mother’s love for their child is the most intense thing I’ve ever felt,“ she says. “I would give up my whole life and everything, whatever I needed to do to help my child.”
Her words are so real and so raw. They resonate with me more now than ever during this time of quarantine especially when I feel like I’m just trying to get through one day at a time.
To all those moms out there who are multitasking and trying to make their kids’ lives the best they can be, remember we’re all in this together.