Charo Kelley has lots of energy and a smile that is contagious.
For a working mother of three daughters with a business, people want to know her secret.
That secret is the product she makes and sells through her company LifeMoods.
Kelley makes soaps, lotions, rubs and creams – a variety of skin care products completely homemade, and all natural or nearly natural.
“My mom taught me how to make soap and lotions,” Kelley said. “She was a true naturalist and had an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Kelley seems to have that same spirit. Having worked in the human resources field for 13 years, she said starting her own business was not such a big leap.
While she started the business officially in 2012, she had been making these products on the side for friends and family for years.
“I am a firm believer in doing things in life you enjoy, and then it doesn’t feel like work.”
Charo talks about the chemistry behind her product. Salt is a detoxifier. Activated charcoal draws impurities out of the skin. Peppermint improves circulation in the skin.
And many of these ingredients turn up in products that are made in her home lab.
“Everything that goes into my products has benefits for the skin,” she explains.
She has a soap made from ground coffee beans – beans from Atchison’s own Ghost Roast.
“Ground coffee beans make a great exfoliate and the caffeine tightens pores. I can make products that are specific to the skin condition you are dealing with.”
In addition to soaps that can cleanse and improve skin, she makes candles for relaxation and bath teas for soaking.
“The combinations are endless,” Kelley said. During the holidays she offered seasonal soaps like Chocolate Mint, Sweet potato poppy seed, coffee pumpkin and Frankincense and Myrrh.
As a member of the Handmade Soap and Cosmetic Guild, Kelley has a resource for ideas and a wide support group. According to the guilds website, handcrafted soap is a blend of both science and art and is a product of the artistic creativity of the soap maker.
“Soap can take up to six weeks to cure,” Kelley explained. “The ingredients are heated and when they reach a certain temperature it goes into a gel phase. It can be cut into shapes and then has to cure anywhere from four weeks to nine months.”
The LifeMoods Facebook page pictures her wax wood candles in the process of hardening.
LifeMoods products are available locally at Always Blooming and Backroad Atlas on Commercial Street in Atchison, and at True Roots Massage at 101 S. Fifth street.
Customers at True Roots Massage have the benefit of Kelley’s skin rubs, and mud masks.
“I use her products exclusively,” said Darby Schafer, owner of True Roots Massage.
The two women, who call themselves kindred spirits and sisters in Christ, offer First Friday events at True Massage where Kelley shows customers how to make and use her products. The next event is Friday March 4 and there will be a product demonstration on exfoliants.
“Our events are lots of fun and there it lots of interest in the products,” Kelley said. “LifeMoods has a mood for your life.”