Lily of the Valley and What We Do
Lily of the Valley began in a small mountain community locally known as “A Valley above the Clouds”. Our town, named after its former Cherokee Indian Chief, is one of the last valleys nestled into the bottom of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Here, in Suches, Ga. USA, is where two ladies share the dream of keeping mountaineer traditions alive. Lily of the Valley, or LOTV, is a family owned and operated business. We handcraft herbal lines of soap and salve, every product is homemade with lots of love put into it. All of our products are first tested on us, the family, to ensure the safety and efficiency of each one before being put out to the public market. LOTV’s goal is to not only be successful but to also promote a more healthy and natural way of maintaining the skin and body. Being the largest organ of the human body, we believe that it is very important to know exactly what ingredients you are putting on the skin and the effects they have. For example, the majority of skin care products that you buy from any main retail store will contain chemicals or substances that are linked to cancer and other major issues. Your body absorbs the topical ingredients then pumps them into the bloodstream where they can reach into any internal organ causing damage. So spreading awareness is a big part of what we do. At Lily of the Valley we believe the Lord has put everything on this earth that we need to maintain, or get back to, a healthy lifestyle. Herbs are the way to go!
Today, LOTV offers 9 soap lines, 2 shampoo bars, 7 salves, 7 lip balm flavors and one line of dog soap; we love our fur babies too. Every one of our products have their own distinct herbal blends designed for a specific enhancement or beneficial purpose; these range from simple intense moisturizers and exfoliators to the more complex pain relief and/or healing qualities. Our products are for people of all ages but are also safe for animals, especially our Granny’s salve. We have used the Granny’s many times on our dogs when they have returned home with some sort of injury or wound. The Granny’s salve is loaded with cleansing, antibacterial properties along with herbs that promote new cell growth. In other words, this product not only keeps your wound from becoming infected but it also makes for a more speedy recovery time too. Bee stings, bug bites or any skin abrasion? Just put some Granny’s on it and you will be able to tell a difference within 30-60 seconds! Fighting with facial moisturizing problems or stubborn age spots and wrinkles? Try our Ageless salve, when doubled with the Lemongrass soap, this combination tightens the skin, restoring elasticity, while supporting any pigmentation issues as well. We’ve discovered the Ageless salve is also excellent for sunburns, it is one of our beach trips must-haves. LOTV’s 2 newest products, just added this year, are the shampoo bars; Revitalize and Oil Control. While both contain properties that promote hair growth, the Revitalize shampoo bar will help bring dull, damaged hair back to life and the Oil Control shampoo is designed for people with oily hair needing more control. In the future we plan to keep expanding our product list, but as you know, life always has its own plans so the growing process has been more slow and steady for us.
Lily of the Valley’s Founder and Her Motivation
Susan Holloway Green, the owner and main operator of Lily of the Valley LLC, was born and raised in the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. Her family history in Suches, Georgia, USA dates back to the mid 1800s where her family survived off of farming and homesteading hundreds of acres of land. To her, keeping this heritage and history alive is a very important part of life.
When Susan’s new neighbor moved into town in 2012 and the two became acquainted, they quickly became the best of friends. They shared lots of time together talking, working on hobbies, gardening, etc. One day Susan decided that she wanted to learn how to handcraft the ole time mountaineer lye soap, just like her great grandmother would have made. Luckily for Susan, her new friend knew the process so the two started on a new hobby together. They worked and experimented on the lye soap recipe for about a year together until they finally found a combination that they loved, which included adding carrier oils. The traditional recipe that the mountaineers would have used was simply just lye and lard, which made a great cleaning agent but the smell wasn’t very pleasant so adding in the carrier oils helped with that. At that point, Susan really began to research all the synthetic chemicals that go into the mass production of today’s products and the disturbing information fired her up even more about only using natural products. She discovered that the ingredients of commercial soaps and lotions are actually stripping the skin’s natural oils, not only causing chronic dry skin but deeper issues also. After sharing her handcrafted soaps with family and friends she soon realized the demand for all natural skin care products and started to wonder what else she could do. Susan continued experimenting on her own and started adding in herbal oils; such as lemongrass, lavender and patchouli, on top of the carrier oils of the soap base. She also started making herbal salves, some for intense moisturizing benefits and others for medicinal purposes. The motivation behind starting the salves came from learning the base of Vick’s VapoRub. Susan’s grandson was deeply congested and the thought of using a petroleum based product on him sounded terrifying so she made her own natural version. Our Mountain Rub is so safe that it can be used at any age and also inside the nasal cavity to relieve congestion. In addition, the Mountain Rub can be used for its pain relief qualities as well. After a little more perfecting, she had finally come up with several recipes that her and her family absolutely loved. So with her friend’s blessing, Susan officially started her own skin care business in 2017. The family pondered many different names before Susan’s loving husband came up with the idea of using her Hebrew name for the company, thus came Lily of the Valley.
Challenges for LOTV
Some of LOTV’s challenges have been more personal while others are more widespread, things that everybody else is facing also, like COVID, so let’s start there. During the pandemic we could not find the containers that we used for our one ounce salves, thus forcing us to try alternative containers. They worked for the time being but they definitely had their flaws. Needless to say, we were very elated when the original container became available again, so that was a whole year of having to use a substitute container. Our more recent issues are due to inflation, we are looking at having to increase our product prices soon because of the rising rates of raw materials that we need to make our products. We are always looking for the best ingredients for our customers while trying to make our products affordable to everyone, not just the wealthy. On a more personal level, Susan now has to tend to her elderly, dementia mother which takes a big chunk of time away from being able to expand the business the way she would like. However, LOTV does plan to keep expanding in due time.
When we first started branding Lily of the Valley to the public, we used local festivals and farmers markets. Our products are very unique and required the informational background of each one to determine which product would best suit the customer. This allowed us to start building personal relationships with our customers; relationships that we still have to this day. Through meeting people organically, we were able to get into a few local shops and that has been a big success for Lily of the Valley. It also opened a door for us to make sample size soaps and put them in local vacation rental cabins as advertisements. We then had a website built so our returning customers could order and have the products shipped right to their house. In addition, the website provided a way for our customers to interact with us, and other customers, by sharing their testimonies of how well the products have worked for them. The website was a start for LOTV marketing wise as well, from there, we made a Facebook page, Instagram, got set up on Google and got all the pages interacting together. It also provided a great way for us to explain each product individually on their own pages; this way customers searching through our website could make educated purchase decisions concerning which product would be best for them and their skin type. This year, we joined the local Chamber of Commerce and they have helped us advertise and market even more. They are a wonderful support system for our local businesses.
Lily of the Valley’s Team Advice
First, LOTV would like to say to other businesses or persons starting out, never give up! No matter the growth rate, just keep going. Don’t allow yourself to be afraid of failure; believe in yourself and your cause. Susan set her goals, remained focused and vigilant, and continues to put in the hard work it requires to make her dreams a success. Our products address a number of needs and from our personal experiences, along with the testimonies we’ve received back, we can confidently say that they work. We believe that God made us, the animals and the plants; He created the herbs for us to use to maintain a healthy lifestyle and even heal ourselves. We do not believe that our natural bodies were designed to use synthetic chemicals, and this is the belief that Lily of the Valley was founded upon.
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