Hi, I’m Dorathy, the founder of Hyssop Tree, and this is what happened.
In 2013 I made a trip to the doctor’s office with one goal: to make better choices. As I waited to be called, I realized that this was the moment I had promised myself when I was 8. I remember looking around the school lunchroom and realizing for the first time in my life that most of my classmates never worried about what they ate or where their next meal was coming from. I told myself that when I grow up and get a “real job,” I’ll be able to afford good choices, too. I jumped when they called my name and took a deep breath… that moment was finally here.
My specialist was quick to inform me that skin problems are very common in lower income households, like the one I grew up in. I was hopeful that the creams and potions she prescribed would be the good choice I was looking for. It wasn’t long before I had “failed” all her treatment options, and she told me there was nothing more she could do. At that moment, I realized I could resign myself to her sterile conclusion and become just another number in the system, or I could pursue a different choice. I wasn’t ready to give up my dream… not after just getting here.
I suspected that if I could just get my skin clean, it could do what skin does – regenerate. All I had to do was find a way to clean my skin without residue and without chemicals. That shouldn’t be too hard, I reasoned.
My first stop was the drug store on the way home. I read every single label on every single package. They all started sounding the same… sodium lauryl sulfate, preservatives, alcohol, mineral oil. Maybe this isn’t as easy as I thought.
The following Saturday I went to the farmer’s market. I was so eager to find a soap that my husband raised both his eyebrows at how many I brought home. Diligently, I set about trying each and every one. After dropping countless oversized and slippery bars, hurting my hands on their sharp edges, and finding slimy puddles after only one use, I concluded this was just my local market.
After a year of collecting soaps from all over the country, and even Amish-made soaps, the results were all the same… Negative.
I was just about to give up, when a gentle whisper broke the silence. Why are these soaps not working? After all, we are in the 21st century, aren’t we… how about doing some research? Surely someone has figured this out.
I prayed and asked God to guide my quest a little differently this time. After two years of digging through research articles, out of print journals, and everything I could get my hands on, things were finally starting to make sense.
I learned that many of the “handmade” soaps are not that different from those in the drug store – they can be made from kits, made in the microwave or even made in a 5-gallon hardware bucket. Some of them are actually commercially made and just re-labeled. Some of the “natural” soaps are synthetic detergents (like sodium lauryl sulfate) disguised behind kraft paper labels.
When I talked to soap makers and read forums, I realized that many people had great intentions and “good ideas,” but I also began to realize how much opinion there was and how little science actually guided the process.
I threw it all out and decided to start over.
I started with the anatomy of skin, and I built the soap backwards, piece by piece. Being incredibly intentional about everything, I used only food-grade ingredients & equipment, never plastic. The result was a true soap that fit in my hand without sharp edges and it produced a beautiful lather despite my local hard water while remaining solid, which eliminated the slimy situation. Best of all, I finally had clean skin.
But something haunted me. What if younger me had the chance to use this soap? What would life have been like?
I realized I had been gifted a fantastic opportunity: If I unite with my customers and local retailers, and if together we partner with our community, we could make an even bigger difference.
I couldn’t pass up that up. So I started Hyssop Tree. Here’s how it works:
When you buy a soap, you’re actually buying two. You get to take one home, and the second one is donated to someone in need on your behalf… she’s emerging from crisis to pursue her second chance at a better life. She’s making good choices, and your soap becomes part of her journey out. She’s now able to finally feel clean after a hurricane, safe after leaving a threatening situation, and love after loosing everything.
So far we’ve come alongside over 1,000 people pursuing their second chance. Join me, buy a soap, and let’s change this world in front of us to something so much better!
I believe that every person has value.
Everyone deserves to be visible and loved.
I wholeheartedly believe that making a difference happens best when we work together.
I believe we are made for more than ourselves.