Podcasts | Grief Therapy to Successful Business: Interview with Cynthia Hill

Soap Makers Tale

Listen in as Makers share their lessons learned, challenges, opportunities and systems used to start and grow homebased businesses. Get informed, inspired and entertained with a weekly podcast episoap of A Makers Tale.

Grief Therapy to Successful Business: Interview with Cynthia Hill

Cynthia Hill Podcast Interview

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to another episode of A Soap Maker's Tale. I'm your host, Zakia Ringgold of livesoapschool.com, and this podcast cast is for makers and would be makers alike. Listen in and get inspired with lessons learned. Building a handmade business. In this week's episode, we get to sit down and talk to Cynthia Hill of Third Day Soaps and Gardens. I can't even tell you where I've met Cynthia, but I know that it had to do with the online space in my budding interest in gardening. Cynthia is a very experienced, not just soap maker, but all around natural skincare, herbalism and gardening. So I was really excited when she said yes to share her maker's tale. Cynthia, can you introduce yourself to the listener?

Hi, my name is Cynthia Hill and I'm from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And the name of my business is Third Day So Garden and Wellness. I'm going to tell you a little bit about my story. What I'm going to do is I want to tell you my story about how I came from trial to triumph in my skincare business. Picture this, 2003. Lost my house, lost my car, lost my job, lost my boyfriend. This is how it all started. And then my mother passed away. My business started from grief therapy. I had a book on soap making that I had got prior and I had kept it put away because I was a professional working as an administrative secretary for a very long time. And when my mother passed away, I was full of grief and I needed something to do to calm my nerves and try to get myself back together so I could take care of my son. Well, the book was called Soap Making by Norma Coney. It's an oldie biggoody. She's been a renowned soap maker. And all this way through the whole process, I learned how to make soap literally by hand.

The process was to melt your oils, get them all together and just hang with them. Usually I would hang with them from like 30 to 40 minutes and sometimes an hour before I would even get a trace. So for the first seven years of my handmade soap business, I was whipping up soaps literally by hand. No emotion spins, no kitchen aid, none of that fancy advanco planetary stuff that we have now. It was totally by the whisk of my arm. I did that for seven years. After that, my family and my friends, they became very, very much interested in my soaps and my lotions. And they loved them. And they were like, Cynthia, you should start selling them with a long history of retail, I said, Well, I don't know, this is just something else to do. It's going to be really costly. And one, I don't really have the time. But since I was in a condition that I was in mentally, I said, yeah, this might be good for me. So I started making my soaps I started off with making olive oil soap and with olive oil. Then I incorporated palm oil into it and of course the lie.

And then I started making my soaps and sell them. People loved them. They started asking for them by request and that's what I did. Soon after, I returned back to work and I would take my soaps to work and people would really, really like them and they would ask me for to make special ones like lavender and coconut. And so I decided to do that and started selling them at work. Soon after I got an opportunity to be at farmers market. I did that for a while, started selling my price on farmers market. I got so interested in it that I decided to go back to school to get my degree in chemistry, which was a long process. After a few years I finally graduated and I got my degree in cosmetic science and that helped me a lot in my business. Up to this day, I am still currently making organic soaps and lotions. However, my business of Third Day Soaps Garden has evolved into body oils, sugar scrubs, lotion, medicinal, herbal teas. We have all kinds of different sugar scrubs. There are lotion bars, we have also have lip balms, an entire Ray line of organic and natural skincare.

And what sets Thursday Soaps Garden apart from other skincare makers is that I do my business through what I call vertical integration, which makes things very high quality for the customer and very economical for them as well. I do this through vertical integration where we see, grow and harvest about 75% of the herbs that go into the products at Third Day Soaps Garden. So we do have a nursery as well. The mission and the vision for Third Day Soap Garden is all kind of like similarly wrapped up into one. And with Third Day Soaps Garden, my mission is to grow herbs and incorporate products that come very simple to the person of every day that they see every day outside, like lavender and tea tree and roses and all kind of wonderful things that are grum. So with that, I could say that my mother was a very good person as far as teaching me things like gardening and cooking and all those things that go along with incorporating it into making skincare. There are a lot of things I could say about being a skincare owner for a business. But one thing I can say to be successful is you have to learn from people who have already done it.

And that's kind of like what I love doing and the practice of what I would like to do and encourage other people to do. Today I've grown my business to where I'm able to support my etsy shop. Also I do special events for teaching classes about soap making and skincare making. I do some consulting with a couple of other publicists in the Pittsburgh public area about soap making. So I hope this was helpful and told you a little bit about how I started my business. Now, the triumph part of the business is that I've been able to do this going on almost 20 years. November 3, 2023, will be 20 years from the very first day that I made my first Forest soap. It is the best decision ever made in my life to become independent, and I hope this works for you. And that's my story, and I'm Soping to it. Thank you and have a good day.

Wait, not so fast with have a good day. I still have a few more questions. And as I listen to you tell your story, the only thing I could think was, wow. Cynthia. Well, first, I had no idea how long you had been in business. But hearing how the grief therapy is what led you to unlocking your craft. So you suffered the loss of your house, your car, your job. A boyfriend, that's not as important. And then your mom. And so going through something like that, finding that book, and then actually going through the process, I'm sure was not a very easy thing to do. But like many soap makers, they talk about that Zen moment that they kind of feel when they're making their products. So, number one, thank you for sharing that as well as that very extensive information in terms of all of the products that you've made. And I am one of those new age soap makers. I have never I have never stirred completely by hand to get it to trace. So hats off to all of the shoulders that we stand on with the stick blenders, because you guys have done it in a completely different way.

So let me switch gears for just a moment. When you think back to that moment of it went from hobby to business, how did you know that you were ready to start a business?

Funny you should ask that. I've been a business woman since I was a mere child. Even when I was a little girl, I would be making things. My mother was a things dressed by trade, and so I was always making things while she was sewing. So I've always been an entrepreneur business woman by heart. However, how I got started in organic and natural skin gear business is I knew it was a business when I sold my first bar soap. I've always been a person that when I had a product, I would sell it. Even today, people always ask me, before I had this tangible business, they would ask me, what are you selling now, Cynthia? So I've always been a salesperson, an entrepreneur, and always thought ahead. And that's truly how that works.

So business ownership is in your blood. You have always known that people know that you're selling something, right? So we all kind of go through challenges when we're just getting started. What were some of the challenges that you faced as a new business owner?

From what I could recall, challenges from the very beginning, I would say juggling, being a single mother, working a professional job, trying to do what I need to do on a daily basis to take care of my household, and just mentally being able to put out so many fires all at once while trying to succeed at the same time.

I can really relate to that juggling and being a single mom, trying to wear so many hats. So how did you go about putting out some of the fires or overcoming any of the challenges that you went through?

Encouraging myself was one of my major ways and still is a way of keeping ahead, of getting behind and things and getting through things. I'm a firm believer of manifesting things that you stay out of your mouth and really taking care of things that come through your ears. Constantly telling yourself that you can do it. Constantly moving yourself step by step towards what you want to do. Writing things down and making sure they're manifested through your mind and through your thoughts. That's how I get through things then, and that's how I get through things now.

Cynthia I love that the mindset of it all. It's that whole idea of making sure the things that we're taking in, the things we hear, the things that we set our mind to, and putting some action to it. So what are some things that keep you excited or motivated in your business?

What keeps me excited about my business? Almost everything. I absolutely love making soap. I absolutely love creating products that for my customers to enjoy, to put on their skin and get back and tell me how much they love it. I love growing the herbs and watching them row. And as they're rolling, I'm picking them and holding on to them. I'm thinking, what can I make with this? What benefit can I make for my skin to be more beautiful? What will my customers want? That's what makes me excited. The other thing that makes me excited is when I do events, I watch people before they even get to my table. Their eyes light up and they're wondering what's on my table that I have that makes them feel good. Not only do my products make your skin feel good, they make you feel good inside. And that's what excites me about my business. The motivation comes through things that aren't planned, just come through the creativity of knowing that I have a skill and the creativity that I love and I know that people are going to love. That's what excites me. And the main thing that excites me as a business person and as a grandmother, that I have something that I can leave for my grandchildren and my children.

And so it helps me to drive me to create generational wealth that's my biggest excitement of all, that I could leave something tangible for my family that.

Is definitely something worth waking up in the morning for. I heard you say primarily the skill and the creativity that you hold allows you to make things. And it's not just for you, but also your customers, the people that you interact with, their skin feels good, the excitement that they have as they're discovering your products for the first time or coming back again. But most importantly, that lasting legacy for your family and building that generational wealth as a grandmother, a mother, and even somebody in the community. So hats off to you for that as a business owner. And I'm wondering, out of all of those things, are there any things that were great experiences that stand out for you during your journey?

Truthfully, there are almost too many to names. There's been a lot of wonderful experiences and a lot of best experience. But what I can say is the best experience that I have is that I have had the opportunity to work and be employed by myself and be self sufficient. That's probably the best experience. And to get to know and meet people that enjoy and share your same craft.

And that's empowering for sure to be self sufficient in creating something with your own two hands that you're able to take care of yourself with. I mean, that's what a lot of business ownership is about. And so the people that listen to a maker's tale, some of them are brand new and stumbling on, hey, I want to do this thing with my hands. And some are even experienced. So with being a person having almost 20 years in the business, what advice would you have for them?

Create and turn yourself into a vacuum of information that you collect to other personal care, skin care, soap makers in the industry, suck up everything they have to say, teach and learn from them. That's a mindset.

Well, that's pretty much it for the interview, but I always like to leave room for anything that I may not have asked. So is there anything that you would want to share with would be makers or current makers in terms of starting or growing their handmade business?

May your journey in the skincare industry be wonderful. May it be filled with everything you've ever wanted as a new business owner. Have a wonderful time, enjoy the journey, because that's really what this business is about. There's no destination, there's only a journey of learning and loving and seeing all the beautiful things that you can create. That's my thought. And I would like to thank Zakia Pringle for giving me the opportunity to tell my story on Makers Tell. God bless. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Bye bye.

I really appreciate you taking the time.

To complete this podcast interview. Now how can people find you? What's your website with your socials?

Are there any local places that you.

Are, please let us know.

Hi, you can find third day soaps garden on Facebook at third day Luxury Soaps and Herbal gardens on Instagram. At Third Day soaps Garden. Another instagram@instagram.com. You can also find us on Etsy.com shopdaysoapsgarden or just type in Etsyall letters thirddaysoapsgarden. Have a great day. And if you like to call us by phone, you can call us at 412-290-0611 for special orders or questions or you can email us at all letters. Third day soaps garden@gmail.com. Have a wonderful day.

Well, that's it for this episode of Makers Tale. I'd like to thank Cynthia Hill of Third Day Soaps Gardens and Wellness for taking the time to walk us through not only the trials, but the triumphs that she's experienced throughout her business and I would say just throughout her journey going through over the past 20 years. And there's a lot that has probably happened in her life prior to those 20 years that continue to shape and mold her. I hope that as you listen to what Cynthia had to share, you take some encouragement and inspiration in knowing that leveraging your own skills and your creativity is a way for you to build a lasting legacy. Thank you so much for joining us. Cynthia links to her show notes, as well as the social media handles and her website will all be on the blog. I'm your host, Zakia Ringgold of live soapschool.com encouraging you to go out and create something amazing. I'll see you next time.

In this episode, we sit down with Cynthia Hill owner of Third Day Soap, Garden and Wellness, a 20-year-old business that has its roots in grief therapy. Hear how she turned her passion for traditional soap making methods into a successful business and how she used the power of mindset to overcome the challenges along the way. From unlocking her hidden skills to creating a line of all-natural, handmade soaps and herbal skincare, this maker’s story is sure to inspire and motivate. Join us as we delve into the journey of turning trials into triumph and discover the secrets to building a successful business that stands the test of time.

Cynthia found her inspiration and crafting through grief therapy. After suffering the lost of her house, her car, her job, her boyfriend and even her mother. She needed to find something to do and a way to keep her mind off of the losses she suffered.

She had a book that was sitting on the shelf by Norma Coney and taught herself how to make soap the old-fashioned way by hand stirring her soap recipes.

In this podcast episode Cyntha shares her Makers Tale of trials to triumphs in growing her business Third Day Soaps Garden and Wellness. Through encouragement of her close-knit circle and getting her degree in chemistry she decided to go into business. the rest as they say is all in the lather.

She controls her product line through the use of herbal ingredients she grows from the seed to harvest.

Some key take aways from Cynthia are:

  • Learn from people who have already done it
  • Constantly tell yourself you can do it and manifest it through what you think and say
  • Create and turn yourself into a vaccum of information

To get in touch with Cynthia visit Third Day Soaps and Garden website and social media channels at:



Be sure to check out our other Makers Tale Podcast interviews.

Do you have a Makers Tale to share?

Be Our Guest

Click the button below to answer our podcast questions and be featured on an upcoming episoap!

Zakia Ringold

Serial entrepreneur, certified soap maker, live streamer, mama of 2 and teacher at heart. Zakia is the Founder of Live Soap School an online academy, ByZakia a handmade soap company,  Virtual Experience Design Agency an event planning and production company and MoveBackstage a Software as a service for event organizers. She started all of her businesses online from her home and shares her lessons in an effort to inspire others to follow their dreams.