Workin' ItSarah Carson combines craftiness and ambition to run her thriving artisan bath product brand. And it works.
BY EMMA MCCABE
PHOTOS BY LIZZIE MCINTOSH
Yazoo City native Sarah Carson has always been driven to create new things, boding well for her business, Thistle & Myrrh, a new local brand specializing in luxury and handmade bath bombs.
Though she only started her business eight months ago, she says it’s thriving. Carson, 22, is a one-man band who creates and sells everything all of her products on her own.
“The progress I’ve made is apparent in the products themselves,” she says. “When I started, I didn’t know how hard bath bombs were to make. Looking back on those original photos and seeing what I am now capable of producing is really encouraging.
“I didn’t know when I started about FDA regulations or soap coloring. Now, I have a much better understanding about what to put it my products and how structure my business to be official but personal.”
Growing up, Carson took to arts and crafts, dabbling in a variety of mediums including knitting, crocheting, plaster, embroidery, painting, sewing, weaving and jewelry making—to name a few.
A luxury bath product business is merely a different art form to her.
“Essential oils have always intrigued me,” Carson says. “I knew I would eventually want to make a variety of bath products, but bath bombs were really popular and a good place for me to start.”
Carson’s mother ordered a bath bomb kit to help her daughter get started, which she used to develop her first product.
“We very slowly built the company from that moment,” she says.
Thistle & Myrrh now offers an array of artisan bath products including bath bombs, salts and scrubs made with all-natural ingredients and scented with natural essential oils. As far as the name goes, Carson says she wanted it to connect to the idea of natural herbs and remedies, and she believed it evoked the feeling of her company.
“My business is about that special feeling when you can take a break from everything in your life and get in the bath. It’s about personal time,” she says.
Friend and former business partner Channing Lomax says she has seen Carson’s work ethic firsthand.
“She’s creative, intuitive, and totally passionate,” Lomax says. “Now that she’s running Thistle & Myrrh on her own, I’m even more impressed by the level of success she’s achieving. …I couldn’t be more proud to call her a best friend of mine.”
Carson’s debut was through the monthly Oxford Makers Market. The market features local arts and crafts and provides vendors the opportunity to display their art and show off their handmade goods.
“My favorite part about participating in the Makers Market is definitely the sense of community I have felt since I started back in June,” she says. “Eventually, you get to know the other vendors. You learn their stories, their own business journeys. Everyone shares tips and even products with one another. It’s so much fun to get myself out there, meet new people, and connect with other entrepreneurs.”
Carson finds many of her product ideas online. “My inspiration for my products mostly comes from Pinterest,” she says. “I’ll spend hours at a time going through the website. If I can get my hands on any books that are about essential oils or natural remedies, I also get a lot of inspiration from those as well.”
As for her workspace, Carson says her living room is ground zero for production.
“I focus on one batch at a time,”she says. “I mix and mold the oils and dry ingredients and let them dry a minimum of 8 hours. Once I complete an order, I pack up the bath bombs and finally get to use my house again.”
The next step for Carson and Thistle & Myrrh is to establish a line for customers. Carson wants to her improve her website to retain more online orders and have a bigger social media presence.
She also hopes to find a separate space to work and in the next five years, she hopes to have her own store.
For now, Thistle & Myrrh products are popping up in shops and stores around the state, including Neilson’s in Oxford and Parks Place in Columbus. Carson is restocking her products in hopes she can soon get them in more places.
She’s also been working with High Point Coffee to create a new Coffee Sugar Scrub, which will eventually be sold in their store on the Square, and experimenting with new homemade shampoos, conditioners and shaving creams.
Her newest product is a bath tea.
“It’s essentially a mixture of salts herbs and oils in a small cloth bag. You steam it in a tub with you like a bag of tea,” she says. “It’s like having herbs in the bath with no mess but all of the benefits.”
Carson says her favorite part of work is the enthusiasm and support she has received. She is pleased when customers’ report they loved how relaxed her products made them feel.
“Every product is an opportunity for the person purchasing it to have a minute to focus on themselves,” she says.