YLNI Farmers Market – Old Fort Soap Company
Jul14

YLNI Farmers Market – Old Fort Soap Company

  Who’s better at recommending a good soap than a friend? That’s why Gary and Hagan are started offering you their vast assortment of natural products from real, natural lye soap, to bath and body products, to house and home supplies. The best part is that you know exactly what is in every product, without having a degree in chemistry! As the name implies, Old Fort Soap has been around for some time now. More than 11 years ago, Gary and Hagan started out of a need to resolve their own skin care concerns that mass market products could not. Soon family and friends got hooked on the products, and Old Fort Soap Company was born. That same group of family and friends are still their greatest supporters today. Getting the company off the ground began with $250, no experience, and the desire to make something better. For the first 7 years of Old Fort Soap, they held day jobs as their friends base grew to the point where they could sustain themselves on just the business. Today, they are one of our largest vendors and sell out of most of their products every market. When Gary and Hagan can get away, they travel, spend time at their cabin with family and friends, and participate in community programs to support the less fortunate. Friends coming back after using their products is always a rewarding experience. The soap does smell great, but the benefits of natural lye soap brings people back time and time again. These successes have enabled them to reach their goals, but they are always setting new ones to achieve. They have learned a couple of lessons in their journey as well. In the past few years, they have been facing increasing competition with new soap vendors coming to the market. “You must be prepared to face that competition and know that it will keep you strong.” It took 7 years before Gary and Hagan could work on Old Fort Soap full-time, so they know that slow and steady wins the race. You have to put aside your doubts and fears, and keep plugging away at what you know is working. Get out to the market this summer and find Gary and Hagan (they only have the largest tent at the market)! Follow them on Facebook and visit their...

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A Valentine’s Gift Your Guy Will Love – And Really Use!
Jan27

A Valentine’s Gift Your Guy Will Love – And Really Use!

Guys tend to get overlooked when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts. Somehow the holiday became about spoiling the lady in your life with chocolate, jewelry, and flowers. So we ask you, why not get the special guy in your life a gift on this loving day? This year, let’s spoil those guys! We could go the traditional route and pick up something we find at the store like a stuffed animal or some boxers with lips on them…or we could get creative. Monthly subscription boxes are kind of big right now. They started with boxes stuffed with makeup samples for women but the men’s subscription boxes have become very popular lately. Boxes for the gents have included themes such as monthly shaving clubs, outfit in a box, and men’s grooming gift boxes. Say what? Men want “grooming” products? Color us surprised, but yes they do! (They just don’t want to admit it.) Here’s how to duplicate one of those men’s grooming gift boxes and give your guy something he really wants for Valentine’s Day – but would never ask for. You can go two routes: a basket that your guy might keep to store the items in, or a gift box. These can be purchased at your favorite retail or hobby store. To keep it unique, try to include one homemade item. We decided to make our own beard oil since beards have become so popular and beard oil is the new thing. To make this, you’ll need a base oil – aka carrier oil – that will be the bulk of your oil. You can use any kind: argan, sunflower, jojoba, olive, etc… We used organic olive oil because it already has a musky type scent so it’s perfect. Then, add a few drops of a fragrant oil of your choice. Clove is a great scent for a guy, so we picked up a bottle of clove bud oil from Earth Fare. Right under the oils are cute little empty bottles that are perfect for the homemade oil and very affordable. Add drops of the essential oil until the scent is perfect. Your guy will apply this to his facial hair and thank you since many bearded guys struggle with dry, itchy skin under that hair. If your man is beardless, they can use the oil on their faces at night or perhaps you could give him a back massage with it. Wink wink. Another great thing to pick up is a shaving gift set. Even if he has a beard, he most likely still shaves some portion of his face and if not, these kits include pretty great products...

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Old Fort Soap Company: A Necessary Luxury
Dec10

Old Fort Soap Company: A Necessary Luxury

If a “necessary luxury” sounds like an oxymoron to you, you’re right. And apparently that’s why Old Fort Soap Company is making such a name for themselves. Talk to anyone who has used their products and it’s likely you’ll hear them tell you that they just can’t go back to anything else. I can’t even say that I was surprised when two (very manly) men at JK O’Donnell’s hovered over my Old Fort bag filled to the brim with soaps, lotions, and chapsticks searching for their favorites…and then began to barter with me on how they could get me to bring them some. It’s true, Old Fort Soap Company mixes up something special each time they create a fresh batch of their all-natural products. To say I have become a tad obsessed with them would be a bit of an understatement.  My first encounter with Gary Birch and Hagan Amburgey was this summer when I wrote a story about their business for my Barr Street Market Vendor Series.  At the time, I was hooked on a high priced bath and body boutique that made “natural” products. You still won’t hear me complain about the delicious soaps I continuously drained my wallet for each month. But, Gary and Hagan introduced me to something pretty awesome made right here in my own city. Not only are their products half the price of my other brand, they have met every expectation my demanding (and ever-so slightly aging) skin requires. Months later, my bathroom smells like a plethera of scents from lavendar to sandalwood. It’s not just soaps that have me hooked.  As a chapstick hoarder, their beeswax lip balms are in my car and all ten of my purses (clearly, I have more than one addiction here…) I use their giant bath bombs to fill my bathtub on nights when I just need to relax.  They fizz and bubble and the fragrance is literally an explosion of aroma that fills my whole room. Even their natural laundry detergent is to die for.  I love the fresh linen scent and they can be used in all types of washers. To be honest, I was hesitant to use the detergent at first. I mean, these are my clothes we’re talking about here. But at $5 for 64 loads, I was convinced to give it a try. My clothing is fresh, clean and there are no chemicals to break down the fabrics. At the risk of sounding too much like a commercial, I’ll move on.  There is more to Old Fort Soap Company than just their expertly made goods, and this is probably what makes...

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Celebrating One Year: Enter to Win a Living Fort Wayne Prize Package!
Dec05

Celebrating One Year: Enter to Win a Living Fort Wayne Prize Package!

We can’t believe it’s been a year since our grand website re-launch here at Living Fort Wayne! Over the course of the last twelve months, we have gotten to feature so many amazing Fort Wayne businesses, non-profits, events, and people. We’ve also grown our team (and we’re continuing to grow) and our following continues to increase by leaps and bounds. We cannot thank you enough, readers and fans, for your support! Living Fort Wayne has made some great strides, but we’re not done yet. We’ve got some exciting plans in store for 2015 and can’t wait to share them with you. But first, let’s talk about our latest development: our Living Fort Wayne e-Newsletter! That’s right: Now you won’t miss a single story from Living Fort Wayne. Each week, we’ll curate the last several days worth of posts and send them off to you in one, easy-to-digest e-mail. So, our one year anniversary and the launch of our new e-Newsletter. What better way to celebrate these two milestones than rewarding one very lucky Living Fort Wayne fan with a basket of goodies from a few of the many businesses we’ve featured in the last year, simply for signing up to receive our e-Newsletter? We can’t think of one… so that’s exactly what we’re going to do! The  Living Fort Wayne Anniversary Prize Package What’s Inside All of the items in this incredible prize package were generously donated by the local businesses in which they’re from. Huge thanks to all of the donors! Anytime Fitness – 3-month membership. ArtLink – One-year family membership to the gallery. Cinema Center – One-year membership. Creative Women of the World – Fair trade items. Fort Wayne Indoor – Free skate passes. Longe Optical – $50 gift card towards any eyeglasses, sunglasses, or contact lens purchase (excludes eye exams.) Mercantile on Main – $25 gift card. Natril Gear – Gift certificate for the purchase of a Lugger of the winner’s choice. Old Fort Soap Company – Basket of products. Opal & Ruby Gift Emporium – $25 gift card. Pure Movements Pilates Studio – Five complimentary classes. Tokens N Tickets – $25 in gift cards. Two EE’s Winery – Four tasting glasses and a voucher for four free tastings. Utopian Coffee – One bag of coffee. YWCA – Cards and a t-shirt. And of course, some Living Fort Wayne gear! Click on the businesses above to see their featured stories and learn more about them! How to Enter Go to www.livingfortwayne.com. Simply subscribe to the Living Fort Wayne e-Newsletter and your name will be entered into the drawing. You can do this by filling out the short...

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Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Old Fort Soap Company
Sep05

Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Old Fort Soap Company

It’s early September and most of us have fared the summer well.  We have a bronze in our skin, sun bleached hair and battered bare feet.  That’s why this week’s Barr Street Vendor post comes at the perfect time.  Old Fort Soap Company is just what our summer-laden bodies need. Take away all of the chemicals and dyes, instead think all natural, rich and pure ingredients.  That’s what you’re getting when you purchase from Gary Birch and Hagan Amburgey, owners of Old Fort Soap Company.  They want their customers to know they stand behind their product.  Their business began in 2005 when they were dealing with their own skin issues.  They searched for a product that would not irritate their skin, but keep it healthy.  Their search came up dry though, and Old Fort Soap Company came to be. “We both love scent.  Absolutely love fragrances.  This is why we have so many choices,” says Birch. They also carry unscented and medicinal soaps.  With nearly 80 varieties of soap on their website alone, they also have four featured summer soaps including one called ‘Jewelweed’ to help soothe skin from poison ivy, oak and sumac.  Another summer feature is their Coconut and Shea soap, consisting of (you guessed it) 100% coconut oil and a touch of shea…according to Hagan Amburgey, it’s been a “huge huge hit!”  They plan on having a supply of Coconut and Shea at this weekend’s market.  I asked Birch, what is it that makes their soap SO great for everyone?   “Our Natural Soaps are great for the skin for the following reasons… 1) We use natural vegetable oils that are rich in skin-loving nutrients such as: Olive Oil– rich in antioxidants, keeps skin looking young and restores elasticity.  Also, scientific reports show that use of olive oil on skin has repaired sun damage and protects your skin from cancer.  It’s also very mild to sensitive skin or people with skin allergies. Coconut Oil– this oil produces a fluffy, bubbly lather that people love in handmade soap.  The oil strengthens the layers of skin and removes the dry, dead skin cells for a smooth feel. Palm Oil–  high in vitamins A, E, D, and K which are valuable for healthy, radiant skin.  Helps to produce the rich fluffy lather. Sunflower Oil–  high in elastin and collagen that has proven to keep skin feeling and looking young.  Rich in antioxidants to heal or help prevent sun damage.  A rich emollient.  Brings moisture back into the skin. Shea Butter–  Rich in vitamin A and E.  Penetrates deep within the skin to help keep it soft and healthy. They also use a...

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