Why did you decide to start Handmade For?
Because of my grandfather, actually! He's an amazing woodworker and especially loves to make these
really beautiful cribbage boards. About two years ago, he had a room full of them and I made a deal with him
that if he started selling his boards, I would go with him and sell my soaps. I'd been making soap on and off
for more than a decade and had toyed with the idea of selling them in the past, but our deal gave me the
impetus to get going and start. HMF has now been in business for over a year and it’s going strong!
What is something most people don't know about Handmade For?
The brand name actually came before our current products. I'm a graphic designer and studied art in
college, so I've always considered selling my work but I've never been very interested in creating fine art
pieces. I do love making things and I find iterating unique but not totally one off pieces really liberating. I
would love to eventually sell a wide variety of products that reflects all the things I love to make and share,
and Handmade For is meant to allow for that— it's purposefully vague and modular, which allows for some
fun word play now and also keeps the possibility open that we can potentially grow in many different
What Boston area maker(s) do you admire?
As much as Handmade For has come from me trying to step away from my computer screen, I really love
the results when people use technology as one of many tools to make tangible and beautiful things (Yeiou
Paper Objects is a great example of this!). In fact, I use a 3D printer from Somerville based FormLabs to
stamp my soaps. 3D printing is a very literal example of using technology to create objects, but it also is an
amazing tool that people have used to make beautiful things.
I also really admire the people who have fostered the local and makerfocused community around
Boston. I live in Somerville and I love that places like Artisan's Asylum and Gather Here are so close by and
popular. I've also worked with the wonderful ladies at Relish Management to participate in the Union Square
Farmers Market, Somerville Winter Farmers Market, and now the Assembly Farmers Market. They have
made it so easy for a small shop like me to meet enthusiastic customers who are excited to support small
and local businesses.
What's your favorite scent?
I really struggle with this one! I tend to want to use every scent I have in each batch of soap, but I try to keep
things light and simple. Luckily, since I only use all natural essential oils, they all tend to blend together
really well. I do try to have a wide variety of soaps at a time, so I end up getting to use a lot of scents at a
time. And it's great that they smell good together, since all the bars are made in our kitchen and left to cure
there for six weeks, so we smell them, all at once, every day. I personally love matching the intention of the
bar with it's aesthetic and scent— being such a visual person, it's a fun challenge to blend an overall look
What's the best part about owning your own business?
The absolute best thing is not precisely knowing where Handmade For is going next. I rely so heavily on lists
and plans in the day to day and I love that the bigger picture isn't quite plotted out. Since I control every part
of the making process— from conceptualizing product lines, to carefully handmaking each batch, to
designing and packaging each bar— Handmade For is a concrete reflection of the effort and energy I've put
in and it's been wonderful to experiment and see where it all goes. Since it's such a genuine and sincere
endeavor, all the other aspects— from keeping the business side organized, to managing our market
schedule, to handselling products and chatting with customers— are fun and rewarding challenges.
Photo Credit: Handmade For