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10 Years and 7,000 Miles Ago

by Marge Maghoney

Around this time 10 years ago, I was in Manila, messing around in our tiny kitchen with some stuff I just got from the grocery store. I was about to attempt to make lip balms. I had read about this girl on Entrepreneur Philippines who made and sold handmade bath and body products and I was like WHAT?! YOU CAN DO THAT?! IN YOUR KITCHEN?! WITH STUFF FROM THE SUPERMARKET?! I was in from the moment I finished reading that article.

I always pictured the products I used on myself were processed in laboratories and they most probably were. I had NO IDEA there was a better alternative, much less something I CAN MAKE. Oh it was on.

I went straight to research, reading anything and everything I can find online, reading books, scouring magazines. I compiled recipes, noted how I can tweak them, read on different ingredients and what they can do, went through the yellow pages for container suppliers, it was a freakin' marathon of self-study. I had a 9 to 5 and hardly slept but I seriously didn't feel tired or stressed out. It was FUN and super exciting. Homemade recipes weren't easy to come by online as it is now. I more or less started from scratch and I couldn't have had it any other way.

So there I was in my parents' kitchen, staring at my DIY double broiler waiting for the water to boil. I mixed my ingredients very carefully and poured the mixture in these little plastic jars I found in the grocery where the little travel items were. This is looking good so far. I could not describe the thrill and pure excitement I felt thinking, "Holy shit, I am really doing it."

I waited several minutes, every now and then going back to stare at the tiny jars to see if the contents have hardened yet and after a good 20 minutes or so, I had my first batch of lip balms sitting in front of me, looking all legit and smelling amazing. I took one jar and tried it. It felt smooth, tasted and smelled good and the slightest hint of color was perfect. I thought this was even better than the drugstore brand I always purchased. This was so freakin' awesome.

I brought them to work the next day to show my friends. They were quite amazed and could not believe I made them. They asked me if I also knew how to make soaps, lotions, scrubs to which I replied yes, yes and yes. Though in my mind, it was no, no and no. Of course, I did not. YET. Sometimes, you have to fake it 'til you make it. Or, as I later realized, fake it 'til you become it. So I went home to start another series of all-nighters to start on my unexpected expanding line.

This was basically how Home Spa Bath & Body Essentials, my first foray into the world of handmade beauty products, started. I was later featured in magazines (including Entrepreneur Philippines for, guess what, my lip balms), interviewed and gave tutorials on TV, supplied popular spas and salons and least to say quit my 9 to 5. I was hooked and to this day, I still am.

10 years, a husband and 7,000 miles later, Happee Body is the rebirth of Home Spa. A different concept, but the same attention to quality and appreciation for incorporating fun in pampering. 

Today, I make not just one, but several lip balms. If you get to try them out, tell me what you think.