Alabaster resident creates a line of natural soaps and cleanersPublished 1:48pm Thursday, March 21, 2013
By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor
Betty Elder has always been known as the “Flower Girl,” and for good reason.
The Alabaster resident has a background in landscaping and is known for her green thumb. She oversees Rambo Nursery adjacent to Home Depot in Pelham, worked for the City of Alabaster’s landscaping department for five years and teaches gardening classes at the Alabaster Senior Center.
So, when she decided to start her own line of products, it made sense to use her nickname. A long-time believer in the use of natural products, she created “Flower Girl Naturals,” a line of handmade soaps, dog shampoos and detergents.
She began the line about a year ago by making products for family and friends. In February, she made the company official and began selling it on Etsy.
“It happened so fast,” she said.
Flower Girl Naturals began because Elder was concerned about the amount of chemicals in everyday cleaning products.
“I am very passionate about informing people that they do not have to settle for what is convenient in the store and the harmful ingredients,” she said. “Going natural can be just as convenient and much healthier for you.”
Elder makes all of her items in her “soap-making room” at her Alabaster home. She learn how to craft hand-made soaps after taking a class in Georgia.
“I try to go organic as much as I possibly can,” she said of her ingredients. “If you go completely organic, it’s really expensive.”
Popular items include the “Clean N Clear Dead Sea Mud Soap,” which she said has been especially popular with teenagers with skin problems. The soap is made with olive, palm and coconut oils, as well as Dead Sea mud, lemon, stinging nettle herbs and tea tree, lavender and basil oils.
She later branched out into dog shampoos and laundry detergent, known as “Natural Laundry Suds.” The detergent’s ingredients include castile soap, borax, baking soda, salt and “a rain fresh fragrance.” It comes in a sealable bag and contains enough soap for about 84 loads of laundry.
Elder said her family, including two grown sons, has been very supportive of her business, and she has received positive feedback from her customers.
“The employees at Home Depot have watched the business grow and order regularly from me,” she said. “Darby Farms has been very supportive and is including my products in their business.”
Elder also blogs about chemicals, natural products and Flower Girl Naturals on her blog, Flowergirlnaturals.blogspot.com. Eventually, she would like to expand the company.
“If I can squeeze in time, I hope to have an entire line of absolutely natural products,” she said.
For more information, visit Flower Girl Naturals on Facebook and Etsy.