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Meet the Maker: Thistle Hill Botanicals

Rhonda Withington has pursued natural products since her late teens. She’s passionate about taking care of health-related issues naturally, and has spent most of her life researching her options. Today, that research is something that she shares with the community in addition to handmade products that have changed the lives of her customers. Before she moved to Virginia, she spent time working off room and board on an organic farm in Connecticut, learning as she worked.
“In a way,” she recalls, “the experience pushed me to be independent. I decided to start making a couple of products.”
Her first two, a healing salve and a dental cleaning powder, went over so well that she could barely keep up with the demand. Today, as Thistle Hill Botanicals, she makes and sells these two popular creations in addition to several natural products including Drawing Paste for Bug Bites and Poison Ivy, Foot Soak, Beard and Mustache Oil, Body Scrubs and Butters, Goat’s Milk Soap Bars, Natural Deodorant, and even Dry Shampoo!
Rhonda sells primarily wholesale now, placing her creations in stores around Southwest Virginia and other nearby states. Although she misses the direct interaction of farmer’s markets, what she makes often lasts so long that setting up at one every week is simply not ideal for her business. Fortunately, she’s found that the interaction with the community has not disappeared. Customers still call and request things from her, and she is very active in Floyd, where she lives and works. “The direct customer contact was, and is still, invaluable to me,” she explains. “When customers call to place an order personally, I’m thrilled to talk to them.”
Between the sustainability and quality of her products, and her dedication and appreciation for her customers, Rhonda is making an excellent impression on the community. Floyd has a reputation for being one of the most open and accepting places for diverse groups of people pursuing their dreams, so it is no surprise that they have welcomed her with open arms.
“There isn’t a lot of judgement here, and there are so many people in town that like to help one another. That’s the way the world is supposed to be,” she says.
The Floyd C4 Business Development Series and Competition is proof of that statement. They offer prizes, funded by grants, to local businesses. In 2015, Rhonda won first prize in the com- petition. This gave her a cash prize to boost her business and a discount for a spot in Floyd’s Innovation Center.
“It was a help in expanding the business and making it what it is today,” she says. “Up until then, I was making products in my little yurt. I didn’t have a lot of space. Being able to move it into the Innovation Center, and having money to buy containers in bigger sizes, larger quantities, and redesign labels gave me the push over the edge to get there.”
If you’d like to meet Rhonda and try out samples from Thistle Hill Botanicals, she will be set up at the Roanoke Natural Food Co-Op on Saturday, May 13 from 11am to 2pm. You can also find stores that sell her products via a store locator on her website, or order directly at www.thistlehillbotanicals.com.

Product Spotlight: Vineyard Hill Naturals

Did you know?

Research from the University of Bourdeaux shows that grapevines and grapes hold exceptionally nourishing and regenerative powers for your skin? That’s why Vineyard Hill Naturals uses grape seed oil and grape seed extracts, a.k.a. “recovered” nutrient rich by-products of grapes, as a key ingredient in all of their artisanal bath and body collections.

Their formulations are based on an understanding of the power of plants to renew and help maintain healthy skin. To create the most effective botanical preparations, they include calendula, chamomile, lavender, green tea, cucumber, and arnica for their super antioxidants, soothing, regenerative, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and softening properties.

300We are giving away samples of their Lemon Verbena shampoo, conditioner, and a hand and body wash combo to one lucky reader this week! The super-lemony scented plant they include makes the skin smooth, toned, and refreshed. It is a gentle sun-loving herb that is suitable for sensitive skin. Try it to stimulate, detoxify, and regenerate your skin from within.

Visit their website for more details on the products they offer and follow us on Facebook for a chance to win samples of your own!

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

Your bridesmaids have been there through thick and thin. Every time you were stressed. Every time you needed to vent about bad service, your slow-growing hair, or (gasp!) your almost in-laws– they have let you have your say and assured you that in the end, it will all work out. Let them know how much you appreciate them by putting some thought in to their gifts. In addition to individual personalization (check out our Pinterest for ideas), consider splurging a little for your best friends. Here are some ideas for a gift they will enjoy and remember for years to come:

Put together a gift basket: 

VAN_CANDLE__02220_1391360474_451_416MSC Skin Care + Home has a variety of gifts for everyone in your wedding party. We love their soy candles. In addition to the benefits of using 100% pure soy wax, they offer many unique scent combinations like Bourbon Vanilla and Oak, Ginger and Vanilla, Agave Nectar and Green Tea and more! Their impressive skin care line includes moisturizers, exfoliating scrubs, lip creams, herbal spa soaks– everything you need to gift the gift of a DIY spa experience. They also offer products for men– just in case you end up buying gifts for the groomsmen as well!

tuberose_body_creme_copy_web_1Your girls will love Kat Burki’s Signature Body Creme. The packaging is beautiful on its own, so you will not need to waste any time wrapping it. Additionally, the quick absorbing, ultra-rich creme offers long-lasting hydration with Tamanu and Jojoba Oils while a proprietry organic herb blend works to calm and soothe skin. It is available in four signature fragrances: Tuberose, Freesia & Pink Grapefruit, White Orchid & Poppy, and Lilac & Rosemary. Go to Kat’s website for more information and to purchase a few for your friends!

Day or Weekend Trips:

Take a spur of the moment adventure together to a place that is an easy driving distance from your home. The distance gives you a little flexibility for those that cannot spend the whole weekend away. The Floyd Artisan Tour, from June 14-16, is perfect for those who desire the option for many different activities but do not want to travel out of state. The three day tour features over 50 locations across Floyd County with activities at artisan home studios, galleiries and shops, wineries, farms and farm markets, restaurants, and lodging sites. Some of these stops will offer specials, discounts, or complimentary items to tour visitors. Check out their website for more information.

Pick up our June { celebrations!! } issue of Bella Magazine for more gift ideas for your wedding party and the newlyweds!