Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

December 12, 2011

Student Spotlight: A Visit with Finn & Co. Owner and Founder, Meg Spencer

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you born and whatever else you'd like to share as to how you got to this point in your life?

I was born in Portland Maine. I have spent most of my life here in Maine. I also spent 15 years off and on the beautiful island known as Nantucket. I love the beach! If I could not be in Nantucket on the beach, you could probably find me on Ferry Beach in Scarborough, Maine. Though I am a beach lover, I love my sun hat, SPF, and my Kindle. I love the salty air along the Maine Coast! It is truly refreshing, and always gives me peace of mind.

I found my way through a lot of trial and error. I went to school in NY, and returned to Maine after 911. I needed to be near family and friends after such a tragedy. I also felt lost. It was during this time I had to be honest about what I wanted in my life, and who I wanted to become. I always knew I wanted to be a business owner, but I had no idea how to do that. after taking some private Pilates lessons, thanks to my parents, I opened a small private Pilates studio first known as You studio in Gorham, Maine. I added Gyrotonic to the studio, and then I went on to school at Spa Tech in Westbrook, Maine. I had a true passion for skin care, and working one on one with people. It all came so natural to me, so I assumed this was my path.

I also found Back Porch Soap Company which completed my search. It felt very meant to be when I first met Marla. I spent the last two years focusing on becoming a strong business owner of a small luxurious product line, but also becoming a new mom. My daughter Finnley is the best part of all of this. I named the company after Finnley Frances Spencer.

How did you get interested in making bath and body products?

I became interested in beauty care products after I became a licensed esthetician. Through my schooling I did a few classes on how to make perfume and lotion. However, I wanted to know more, and there is no where in Maine I could go to learn exactly what I wanted to learn. I was looking for something that I could use with my license. I was searching the web, and I found Back Porch Soap Company. You never know sometimes when you find things online, so I called back Porch Soap company. I was able to speak with Marla, and it all just clicked! There was immediate chemistry. It was such a comfortable place to learn, and I did learn a lot! Marla is an amazing patient teacher, and I am grateful for her classes. I feel that I have found a career that truly is an added joy to my life.

When did you launch your company?

I launched Finn & Co. in September of this year, but we are doing another launch in January right before all the gift shows! We will be exhibiting at the Boston Gift Show in March 2012. Please come see us!

What do you sell? What sets you apart from other bath and body companies?

We currently sell three small collections of natural, luxurious products for babies and adults. We have our Luxury Collection which consists of a Face Oil, made with 11 highly moisturizing, balancing, and nourishing oils. It's great around the eyes! Also in that collection we have a body oil and a balm. People love the balm. It is great for all those dry hard to hydrate areas. Each product is natural, paraben free, and very soothing! We use less than 1% of a paraben-free preservative. We only use preservatives in the Luxury Balm and the lotions.

Our products are formulated for all skin types. Our second collection is the Sea Class Collection. In that collection we have our White Sand and Black Sand fragrances. Not only will you find a luxurious fragrance, but a luxurious body lotion that is so silky and hydrating. The smell is soft and subtle, and gives you that fresh clean and sexy feeling! This collection also includes a soap we call Sand Bar. It's a highly moisturizing bar that is the perfect base for all these products. The goal is to get clean, not strip all your skins natural oils.

Lastly, our Little Luxe Collection, is made for the most delicate skin. The collection is 100% natural and we use organic ingredients. The collection makes a great gift set. I use the balm after Finn’s bath time. Her skin is already silky, but the balm makes it even softer and it is a nice barrier. The winter months can be very harsh on the skin here in New England . I use the baby balm on my hands, elbows, and heels after a hot shower.

What course(s) did you take with Marla? Which were your favorite and how did they benefit you?

Let me think, there were quite a few! I took the Cold Process Soap making class, How to run a successful Bath & Body business, organic scrubs, salves, balms & butters, baby care, and also natural anti aging products. I loved them all! I spent a lot of time practicing what I learned, but Marla made it so much fun, and she made it easy for me to love this new career path.

What is your favorite part of running a bath and body business?

I love being my own boss! I love being creative, and actually creating something that is good for people’s skin. I feel proud of my work, as I have spent two years working on my line. I did not do it alone. I had a lot of help from Marla, and also my mother, who is the other half of Finn & Co. I love the challenges that I face. It is not easy to run your own company, but those small challenges that I face remind me how much I love my work, because I just keep going!

What is your least favorite part?

I am not a mathematical mind. I love the dream, the writing, the packaging, the creative marketing end of this job, but sometimes I am faced with that MATH. There is a lot of book keeping! I always want to create!

What are your biggest challenges as a small business owner?

My biggest challenge is getting people to know Finn & Co. As a new brand, among the millions already out there, it is hard, but I have the faith, and the passion to keep this little company going and hopefully succeeding! I believe in word of mouth, and getting some good press. We should not have to pay a fortune for this!

When you have free time how do you like to spend it? Hobbies, sports, travel, etc.?

When I have free time, I am with my husband and baby. I like to read, and exercise. I love being a business owner, and it is sometimes hard to break away, but when I look at Finnley, I just want to play! We also have a 100-pound golden retriever who needs a lot of walking, so we walk a lot!

What are your words of wisdom?

I feel that passion is priceless, so to be successful , your passion should always shine through your work, even when you are having a bad day.

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