I hear from many homesteading families who have the dream of sustaining their families by making an income right from their homesteads.  This is the American dream, right?  In today’s episode, Emilie is sharing with us the story of how she and her family did just that.  What began as a quest to overcome health issues in her own family became a thriving skincare business that helps families all across the globe.  Join us for this inspiring conversation all about entrepreneurship, homesteading, skincare, health, and more!

In this episode, we cover:

  • What inspired Emilie to create skincare products that are actually beneficial to the skin
  • How the homesteading lifestyle led Emilie to start her business
  • A few key factors in the success of Toups and Co
  • Day in the life of a homesteading, homeschooling, business owning wife and mother
  • How a business owner’s role changes as the business grows
  • What it looked like for Emilie’s husband to leave his full-time job to work for the family business
  • How to organically market your business when you don’t have a marketing budget
  • Making decisions about selling online, opening a storefront, expanding your space
  • How Emilie maintains the quality of her products by carefully sourcing ingredients
  • Why it matters what we put on our skin and the importance of educating those around us

E31: Building a Successful Business as a Homesteader | Emilie of Toups and Co Organics Homesteaders of America

Thank you to our sponsor!

McMurray Hatchery offers a wide selection of poultry breeds and supplies to assist you with raising your flock. Find what you need at McMurrayHatchery.com!

About Emilie

Emilie Toups is the founder of Toups and Co Organics, a company dedicated to clean and natural skin care and makeup. She began Toups and Co right in her own kitchen with a passion for products with recognizable ingredients. Emilie also has a passion for teaching holistic skin care practices and other women how to be entrepreneurs and own their own businesses. 

Emilie lives on a small farm in south Alabama with her husband and five children. She enjoys gardening, cooking nourishing food and baking sourdough bread.

Connect

Emilie Toups of Toups and Co Organics | Website | Instagram | Instagram | Facebook

Homesteaders of America | Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest

Building a Successful Business as a Homesteader Transcript

Amy Fewell Welcome to the Homesteaders of America Podcast, where we encourage simple living, hard work, natural healthcare, real food, and building an agrarian society. If you’re pioneering your way through modern noise and conveniences, and you’re an advocate for living a more sustainable and quiet life, this podcast is for you. Welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m your host, Amy Fewell, and I’m the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. If you’re not familiar with us, we are a resource for homesteading education and online support. And we even host a couple of in-person events each year with our biggest annual event happening right outside the nation’s capital here in Virginia every October. Check us out online at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. Follow us on all of our social media platforms and subscribe to our newsletter so that you can be the first to know about all things HOA (that’s short for Homesteaders of America). Don’t forget that we have an online membership that gives you access to thousands—yes, literally thousands—of hours worth of information and videos. It also gets you discount codes, an HOA decal sticker when you sign up, and access to event tickets before anyone else. All right. Let’s dive into this week’s episode. 

Amy Fewell Welcome back to this week’s episode of the Homesteaders of America podcast. This week I am happy to have Emilie Toups with us from Toups and Co Organics. She is the founder of this wonderful company, and it’s dedicated to clean and natural skincare and makeup. She began Toups and Co right in her own kitchen. So ladies, you’re definitely going to want to listen to this podcast. She has a passion for products with recognizable ingredients. And that is the homesteader way, isn’t it? She also loves teaching other women on how to run a successful business. And so welcome to the podcast this week, Emilie. 

Emilie Toups Thanks for having me, Amy. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, so fun fact: Emilie and I actually used to be in like a little mastermind group together, and she’s very inspiring. She runs her business like a boss because she is the boss. And so I wanted to have Emilie on because this is a question… Emilie knows. Emilie has spoken at some of our events before. And specifically, you gave a business talk at our women’s event last year. You were telling women, basically, how do you do this? And I remember people coming back and saying, “My favorite talk was Emilie’s talk. It was amazing. And I feel like I can actually do this now.” And so, Emilie, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do and about your company before we dive in? 

Emilie Toups Oh, Amy, I love that. So, sure. So I own a natural skincare and makeup company. We have been in business now… and I actually went back on social media to our very first post because I think I was a little fuzzy on, like, when did we actually start? So I went all the way back to the very beginning, and it was in 2015. So at that time I had just had or was about to have my third child and we got started making tallow balms, and that’s kind of how we started Toups and Co. So we hand make our products in-house. We have a manufacturing shop down here in South Alabama where we’re projecting, making, and shipping out our products all over— I would like to say just the US, but now kind of some other countries, too, which is really exciting. And so in addition to making the tallow balms, which is what a lot of people know us for, we’ve moved and ventured into other skincare products, deodorant, and color cosmetics, which is really exciting because as we were making these really clean products and I was looking in my own makeup bag at the things that I was using. And I was like, I am being super picky and strict about what I want to put on my daughter’s super sensitive skin, and here she is wanting to use some of the makeup in my makeup bag and I’m like, oh no. But as you know, and as moms know, we often make sure that we have the very best for our kids, but when it comes to ourselves, we’re like, mm, you know, you’re still hanging on to that lip gloss that you bought at Walmart ten years ago. And so that’s when we kind of decided to go in the direction, add color cosmetics to our line, which has been really, really fun coming up with all the different products and things. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, I really enjoy your makeup, and I think I’m using like two year old makeup from Toups, and it still works just as good. Because I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so my thing was, I wonder if it’s going to last as long? And it absolutely has lasted as long as over-the-counter type makeup. And so I really enjoy it. My face doesn’t break out when I use it. It’s just really good. So Emilie was a homesteader first. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your homestead journey and what you do now and what kind of got you on that. 

Emilie Toups So we really just started homesteading for our health. So I had watched some documentaries early in our marriage and we had some things going on. I had some thyroid issues and things, and we were just looking to be healthier. So we started obviously looking at our food first. And when we decided to clean up our food and we were looking around back then, you know, homesteading wasn’t as popular. There weren’t a lot of people homesteading and selling the things that they were growing. And so we just decided to sell everything, our home, any kind of things that we own that would prohibit us from homesteading. And we bought a 20-acre farm with literally zero knowledge and no experience. And so people often ask us and say, “Oh, well, did you grow up milking a cow? Did you grow up raising chickens?” And we were like, “Absolutely not. We did not.” But, we learned first hand for our health and for the health of our family. So we jumped in and we bought this farm. My husband likes to tell people that we—or I—bought a milk cow before we closed on our house. And that is sort of true. I put a deposit down on a family milk cow a few weeks before we closed, just because I was super excited to get started homesteading. That was one of the first things that we did, and that was about ten years ago. And so we started homesteading with milk cows and chickens and some meat for our family, gardening, and things like that. And as we started to see improved health, the next thing on the list was looking at the products that we were using on our bodies. We were already very in tune with what we were putting in our bodies, and so very naturally next step was what we were putting on our bodies. And as I was turning over some products and looking at ingredients and just really doing a lot of research and looking at what we were using, I was like, you know, I could probably make that. And so we started off, you know, I was researching tallow for my daughter’s eczema. She was really struggling. So I had kind of quit using everything on her, really started on changing her diet, and just kind of using water and doing a lot of research. When I came across tallow and just its anti-inflammatory properties and all of the vitamins and nutrients that were in it, I was kind of sold. So I called up a local farm that was doing grass fed beef, and I was like, “Hey, can I buy some tallow?” And the sweet lady from middle Mississippi called me back, and she was like, “I’m not sure if I can get the fat back. We don’t get any of that back, and we don’t have it for sale.” So she’s like, “Look, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I will give you a call back. Let me talk to the butcher.” And so, I don’t know, a week or so later we met on the side of the road. I got some beef fat from her. And that was the very first tallow balms that we made. And that was kind of solving an issue that we had. And a lot of great businesses start that way is like a pain point or solving an issue for yourself. And then you realize that you can actually solve that for other people as well. And so we started making tallow balms. I was giving them away to friends and family and decided to—also as some great businesses do—is get our start on Etsy. So I opened a little Etsy shop with our tallow balms back in 2015, and started selling them there, which as and as that took off and we added more product lines, we decided to go on our own website. But that’s how we got started. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, and like from humble beginnings, right? You started this homesteading journey, and then it led you into a product that people needed. And now you’re like the go-to product in the homestead world, it seems, for natural skincare. And so what do you think contributed to that? You know, watching your success… I’ve been able to watch you grow for years. 

Emilie Toups Right from the very beginning. 

Amy Fewell That’s so cool, right? Like to see this and how big it is now and just how many people you’re helping with such natural skincare because most women, they probably wouldn’t think that that would go anywhere. Right? Most women who want to do a business, they just don’t realize it could take off overnight. And so I wonder if you might tell us a few tips? What do you think contributed to that success so quickly?

Emilie Toups For sure I would say just not giving up, one. And two, especially in the homesteading world, a lot of homesteaders are homesteading for their health. And so they are also looking at the products they’re putting on their bodies. And we are really committed to using very minimal ingredients, as small as possible we can get that ingredient list, because if you’re using really high quality ingredients, and they’re the best that there are out there and they’re providing nutrients to the skin, they’re not upsetting people’s skin, you know, pretty much the performance of the products. I’m going to say that that’s probably one of the main factors in our growth. People loved it. It was word of mouth. But we also worked really hard on marketing the products and really aligning with people that aligned with us. So I’d say that yes, we grew pretty fast, but we’ve been hard at it now for a good eight years. And how many times we wanted to give up, I probably couldn’t even count on both hands. People and women, especially in business, when they’re also homesteading and homeschooling their kids and having babies and things, it can get to the point where you’re like, you know what? I don’t want to do it anymore. Is it worth it? But my husband has been very encouraging from the very beginning. So having someone there that’s willing to pick up your slack and whenever you can’t get things done, willing to do those things for you was very integral in the success for Toups and Co. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. So let’s talk about that a little bit. What does a normal day look like for you as an entrepreneur, mom, and homesteader? 

Emilie Toups That’s a really great question. So I used to wake up before my kids, and now we’ve kind of changed our rhythm, and I just wake up when they wake up. We get up around like 6:30. And obviously the first thing always is milking that cow. So, right now kind of what we have going on is my husband milks and I process the milk. That’s our agreement. So, I had a baby about six months ago. So Vivian is six months old. And so since she’s been born, he milks, and I stay in with the baby, nurse her, and process milk. And so we do breakfast, and we are ready to start working and or homeschooling at 8:00. So by 8:00, I am getting my older ones situated on homeschool, and I’m coming to sit at my computer to get my day started, check emails, make sure that everyone has showed up to work and there’s nothing crazy going on over there. And then, my husband, who works full-time for Toups as well, goes into our home shop and gets anything that the girls need for the Toups and Co shop, and he’ll make a drive over there, bring what they need and they get started. And so I’m usually on the computer till around lunch and after lunch. Anything that the kids need my help with homeschool wise, after lunch I will get that done. And then we’re kind of done for the day. And then obviously things pop up all day long and I have my phone on me. But hey, that Do Not Disturb is super important because I can check… It helps me check it when I have the time instead of constantly being in response mode every time I get a notification. So that’s kind of a typical day for us. Obviously we have music lessons and other things that the kids are involved in that I schedule around, but basically I’m able to run Toups and Co around the schedule of our homesteading/homeschool life. And, that’s been also a huge blessing to me. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. Now, that probably isn’t the way it looks like in the beginning, is it? I’m sure when you first got started, it was a lot different. Why don’t you talk about that a little bit? 

Emilie Toups So obviously when you first get started, you are wearing all the hats. You’re the customer service, you’re making, you’re production, you’re shipping, you’re all the things. And you’re doing the business side of things in the background. You’re budgeting and ordering and making sure you have all the things that you need. And that can be a difficult hat to wear, yes. But really understanding each part of your business and being so ingrained in all of it in the beginning helped me to really flesh out those roles for other people as we’ve added on other staff and things like that. And I still have a pretty heavy hand in all of the departments. I’m still helping make any kind of big decisions that are going on and really making sure that our values, what we want and how we want the customer to receive their product, customer service, etc., really still is coming from us so that our heart and our vision for Toups and Co is still there in all of the day-to-day decisions.

Amy Fewell Yeah. So I know somebody is going to ask because you just mentioned it. You said that your husband works for you full-time. And so at what point in your company did that happen? And how did you guys get to that point? Because a lot of moms and wives really want to get their husbands back on the farm. So I’m sure they’d love to hear how that happened for you. 

Emilie Toups So Trent actually worked either out of the home or away from us for most of this journey. He’s been home for about the past two years. But he worked as an inspector for a different power company. So a lot of times he wouldn’t even come home in the afternoons. Sometimes on big projects, he would be gone 2 or 3 months. And so I think that that gave me a lot of motivation to keep going because of the kind of job that he had. He wasn’t home in the evenings, and we were home alone and he was on the road. And so it was very difficult. I often have a teenager or somebody else in our homeschool community come and help me some days, help me with either the kids or the business, both, you know, packing orders and things. And that was really helpful in those really beginning years. But him being gone and on the road was a constant motivation for me to keep going. And so, I remember just writing down in my prayer journal like, Lord, if I can get to this many orders per month, he can come home and I prayed and prayed and just continued to work really hard. And when we finally hit that number, he had finally gotten a job with his company that he had wanted for the longest time, for years. He wanted something that was here in Mobile that was close to where we lived, that he could work and come home permanently instead of working on projects around the state. And right when we were like, I think that we are doing enough orders per month that you could actually come home and work full-time. I’m telling you, Amy, he got that job offer like a week later and he initially said yes to it. Right? Because it’s security. And we went home that night and we prayed, and the very next day he was like, “You know what? I think I’m going to call back and say I’m actually not going to take it. I’m going  to take a step of faith. I’m going to commit to Toups and Co.” Because I could not grow Toups and Co any more than where it was without his help. And I really needed him home doing a lot of homesteading and other things and working for Toups and Co to help us kind of get to that next step. So we really took a step of faith, and he came home about two years ago. And we’ve grown so much since then because having two people at the very top is just so important. And it was so great for us because there’s a lot of work to be done. We were able to split that up and pay attention both to our home life, with our kids and our homesteading, but also to our business. And that was a big step that we made. And we’ve made a lot of growth since then. And for sure, I couldn’t have done it without him. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. That’s amazing. That’s awesome. Isn’t that how it always works, though? There’s that test of faith where you’ve decided to do this thing and then something else comes up. And, you know, I have this conversation a lot with people recently talking about their work and how they feel so secure with the job that they’re doing for a corporate company, not like a homegrown corporate company, but a job out in the world somewhere and they feel so secure in that. But the reality is that as we’re facing this as a country, there’s more security and working from home and building something that can sustain your family. So that’s a really amazing testimony that you shared that he’s at home now. 

Amy Fewell Hey, guys. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. We’re going to take a quick break and bring you a word from one of our amazing sponsors. McMurray Hatchery officially started in 1917. Murray McMurray had always been interested in poultry as a young man and particularly enjoyed showing birds at the local and state fairs. Nowadays, the hatchery is still completely through mail order, but they offer way more than ever before. From meat chicks and layer hens to waterfowl, ducklings, goslings, turkeys, game birds, juvenile birds, they even have hatching eggs and a whole lot of chicken equipment. Make sure you check out our Homesteader of America sponsor McMurray Hatchery at McMurrayHatchery.com and get your orders in today. And don’t forget to stop by their booth at the 2023 HOA event. 

Amy Fewell Okay. So let’s switch hats a little bit. So let’s talk a little bit about marketing. So you were saying that you contribute a lot of the success to marketing. And a lot of people that are listening, they probably already have a homestead business or they’re just getting their feet wet into that. So you and I are probably the same in how we grew our businesses. You know, we did it all from the beginning for the first year or two. And then we started hiring out people. So let’s talk a little bit about marketing. Did you hire somebody for that? Did you do it on your own? And then at what point did you start bringing people on to help you work? 

Emilie Toups So I’m a real firm believer in partnering with people who have the same values as you first and doing that kind of organic marketing, because you can do all the paid marketing in the world, and that can literally just drain a budget, a company budget. And I still say it today to our marketing team. I was like, “If we overspend in marketing, we can lose profitability immediately.” It’s probably our biggest expense. And with that comes the ease of quickly losing profitability very, very quickly. So in the beginning stages, we did not do a lot of paid marketing. I reached out with other homesteaders, other businesses that I saw and anyone that was kind of in that… I guess “crunchy granola” is an old way of saying it. I don’t know what people call it now. Clean, organic, green. But, you know, really any kind of natural-minded businesses that I met through networking. I networked at homestead events like Homesteaders of America. I met a lot of great other businesses and then people that I became friends with over the years. And we were able to just kind of market for each other and kind of network together. And so a huge proponent of aligning yourself with other businesses that have the same common goal as you. And that’s basically how we marketed in the beginning. Reached out to some blogs and people. Now I guess it’s Instagram, but other ways where I can help you and you can help me, and that doesn’t cost a lot of money in the beginning. And really, that’s just how we started with brand awareness, was reaching out to people who had common goals, and it worked really well for us. And when you build your business that way and it’s all starting from the ground, really grassroots, when you get to the point where you have the money in your business to pay for marketing, that marketing, that paid marketing actually works much better because you’ve already built brand awareness. And I literally was just talking to a family member of mine who is starting a new business right now, and I’m  kind of coaching and helping a little bit with getting this business off the ground. And because it’s in the clean and wellness space, I have a lot of comments to make and kind of giving some critique there. But they wanted to start with paid marketing right now. And I’m like, the first thing you need to do is build brand awareness. Have that product that you made and send to everybody you know that wants to try it in the clean and wellness space. And then when you get some feedback and you have some buzz happening around your brand and around this product that you’ve created and you’re making some sales—that’s really important—then you can step into paid marketing because the power is at Meta, Facebook, Instagram. They are willing to take all of your money. And really, having a much more solid base of organic reach in the beginning, to me, is just so important when you are getting your business off the ground. 

Amy Fewell Yeah, I agree. That’s how we built HOA. I mean, a lot of people ask us about HOA and how did the word get out so quickly? And it’s because we literally had no money when we got started. 

Emilie Toups Same. 

Amy Fewell And we we partnered with people like Emilie and Anna Acetta-Scott and Janet Garman and some people who aren’t even in the blog and business world anymore, but they’re still homesteading and said, “Hey, come to our event for free. We’ll give you tickets.” You know? Or, “We’ll do this. We’ll give you publicity.” You know, we bartered for so many things. That’s the homesteader way, right? And then people actually got to experience it. And it works like that for every business. I had a company just reach out to me day before yesterday, I guess it was, a seed company on Instagram saying, “Hey, we want to send you seeds to try.” Just to try them, like there was no strings attached, right? “Here. Just have these. Tell me how you like them, and then if you feel led to share it, that’s great.” And so a lot of people do think you need money to begin a business. And the reality is that most of the people who have very successful businesses, it’s not because they started with any kind of money, it’s because they built a community and a brand around their product. And so I think that’s such an important point. And now everyone, you know, Toups and Co is like a staple and it’s a well-known name in the homesteading community especially because you’ve been coming to HOA for a few years. You interact with people who use the products. And so it just really shows that the product that you’re offering to people is something that you really value. And we appreciate that about you for sure. 

Emilie Toups Yeah. I really think that it’s so important to maintain those relationships, and especially people that are just getting started in business. Something that’s been really important to me was to continue to maintain those relationships. Now, last year, I actually took an entire year break of all events and I was pregnant and had a baby and enjoyed that so much. I am so excited to get back into meeting all of our customers face-to-face, continuing to come to HOA. My husband and I are going this year. We’re really excited because we get to put a face with the name, especially people who have been buying for years, and they come and they give us testimonials and it’s so fun and it’s so important. And when you say things like Toups and Co is a household name, it’s so surreal. And when I hear it, I almost still don’t believe it, but it is so amazing, especially hearing it from people like you, Amy. You know, definitely a lot of hard work and perseverance has gone into that. But, really looking forward to continuing to get into some events this year. There’s a couple that we’ll be at, and seeing everybody’s faces and meeting them because that’s kind of where we got our start. And you can’t look back on where you got your start and think that you’re past that now because that is what got you where you are. And so I think it’s so important to continue to do those things because it’s all about relationships and community. And that is something that is important to us, was important to us then, and it continues to be very important to us now. 

Amy Fewell Okay. So let’s talk about your new building. Is it still new? I don’t know, I feel like it’s still new to me because I’ve kind of watched you build this. 

Emilie Toups It’s so new. It’s so new. Every day I drive up and I’m just so blessed and so thankful. But yes. What questions do you have? 

Amy Fewell Yeah. So I remember when we were in this mastermind group together, you were talking about this like you wanted to… You were actually looking at storefronts, right? Or maybe you had even opened a storefront. Is that right? Why don’t you talk a little bit about that and then how the building came along. 

Emilie Toups So let’s say… I think it’s in 2019, we decided to open a storefront in our hometown. And obviously that’s the year of Covid. 

Amy Fewell The horrible, horrible disease. 

Emilie Toups Yeah, all the things. And so as quick as we opened up, we got shut down. And we spent a lot of time and money on that storefront. And that’s when we kind of realized… We put a lot of focus on our online business at that time and realized that that was the direction that we wanted to go. So definitely a huge learning experience with opening that storefront and the cost and all the things that we had put into it just to kind of be shut down. But it was such a great… And I’m very thankful for it now. Maybe I wasn’t at the time. But, thankful that it turned us into the direction that we are now, which is online and really more needing a manufacturing and a shipping space more than we needed a storefront. So we quickly outgrew the space that we were in. We were renting kind of in a strip mall area, but we didn’t have a storefront there, and we were in less probably… I think it was 1000 sq. ft. or less. And the amount of product that our employees pumped out of that building still is blowing my mind. But at that time we were like, we need another space. So we purchased a piece of land and immediately started these plans for our building, and we moved in officially in October of last year. And so we’ve got it separated into two, like a manufacturing and a shipping area. And then we are almost at the completion of our second building, which is right behind that one for warehousing, which, when you’re starting a business and you don’t know all the ins and outs of business, it’s really hard to imagine what you will need or what you actually need in advance of needing it. It’s not till you actually already need it that you’re like, oh my goodness, we need warehousing space so that we can hold all these products and unfinished parts. So yeah, we’re working on that second building. Hopefully we’ll be in in the next month or so. But it’s been another area where we’re finally in, and so now we can actually grow because really we’re halted by not having enough space for different things that we needed to speed up production and things like that, because it’s really important for us to still be making the product by hand the same way we did before. We might be making it in bigger batches, but it’s still made the exact same way we did when we started, which means that we’re still rendering all the tallow ourselves, which is a huge task for one person. And I have to really give a shout out to my husband here because he’s still rendering all the tallow himself. He’s so about quality control. And that was his job before he came here was a quality control manager. And so he’s the QC on all the tallow. And he actually helps engineer these buildings so that we had the space and the area to be able to do that. So yeah I’m really excited about the buildings. 

Amy Fewell Okay. So now are you guys using your own tallow? Are you outsourcing from other farms? How does that work? 

Emilie Toups So we started with just one farm that we were getting tallow from. And I think now—and Trent is in charge, he’s the tallow man—but I think we’re at five farms now that we get tallow from. And we have exclusivity with these farms, which is really awesome. We buy all the tallow they can produce, and it helps these local farmers who are… some of them are selling online and in person, but that are doing grass fed beef to continue to do grass fed beef. And it’s another stream of revenue for them. So if you’re listening out there and you’re a grass fed beef farmer and you’re in the southeast and you’re looking to sell your tallow, send us an e-mail. 

Amy Fewell You might regret that. 

Emilie Toups Well, I’m not because as we grow, our increased need for tallow is a lot. And I think what I’ve seen in some other tallow companies is you can buy tallow, you can buy it pre-rendered, and you can get it from New Zealand and all these places. And I’ve even explored samples of a lot of this. And I’m telling you, the quality of the tallow is so poor because it’s probably extracted or rendered at such high temperatures, it’s deodorized. And really the only way just to keep making those tallow balms that are Toups tallow balms is to render it ourselves and to work with local farmers. And because that’s how we got our start, we’re committed to continuing to do that. So, if you see tallow balms out of stock, that’s just because we’re looking for more tallow that we have to render on our own.

Amy Fewell That’s amazing. That’s really cool, though, that your company is… I just love how grassroots it is. You know, you homesteaded and then you started this company, and now you’re still—even as big as it is—you’re still supporting other farms and other homesteaders with your product. You haven’t been bought out, right? Like you’re not doing all of the big corporate things that other companies are doing when it comes to ingredients. And that’s what’s really important to people. It’s just staying true to, like you said, those simple ingredients.

Emilie Toups For sure. And we’ve hired a consultant, you know, to come help us and streamline things. And what they all say is, “Well, we can get you this supplier, we can do this with this ingredient or this ingredient works the same as this.” And honestly, that’s what makes products just the same as everything else that’s out there on the market. And continuing with the suppliers that we had, even when they run into supply chain issues, because you’ll see things on our website out of stock sometimes, and almost always is because we’re lacking an ingredient that we’re waiting on for someone to produce for us. But it’s worth it. Sign up for our restock notification. It’s coming. Because keeping true to really high quality ingredients is super important. And that’s why the products work so well. And so to someone else out there that’s starting a business and they are solving a pain point for themselves, continue with a product that works because the second you change it or you reformulate or, you know, there’s so many different things that you can do to cut costs. Immediately your customers know. They will know immediately. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. And that’s really good because, you know, we talk about breaking out of the food system and breaking out of the healthcare system. But you know, Emilie, you have this thing of breaking out of the store skincare system. Right? Like there is a better way. We don’t have to use the lotions and the balms and the makeup that’s a dollar a pack or something. It’s truly a next step to freedom. You’re supporting other farms. You’re basically living the American dream on your own farm. You’ve brought your husband home. You’re creating natural products, and you’re helping other people, especially homesteaders, break away from that system. Right? And so it’s just one step closer to being healthy. So okay, a couple more things and then I’ll let you go. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about why is it so important for people to use the ingredients that you use in your products? You know, what is the difference? What are some of the testimonies you’re seeing? 

Emilie Toups Yeah, that’s definitely a great question. So you know the ethos behind Toups and Co is better ingredients. And when we’re constantly putting all these conventional products on our skin every day… I think I spoke about this at the last HOA was that, yes, you know, exposure one time from a certain product or a deodorant… Let’s use aluminum, for example. When we’re putting aluminum on our armpits, we’re doing this 365 days a year. And in addition to that one product, that deodorant, we’re using shampoo, we’re using conditioner, we’re using body wash, soap, we’re washing our hands and our dishes with soap. There’s so many products that we’re exposed to, and so when we’re putting all of the exposure from all of those products and the toxic load that comes with that every single day, 365 days a year, it really adds up. And so especially we’re seeing a lot of hormone imbalance and endocrine disruptors and those kind of things in products. Our health is reflected in… You know, as a nation, Amy, you can see that health has been declining rapidly over the last 20 or so years and the introduction of all of these new chemicals and plastics and just synthetics, and they’re in everything that we’re using. Coming back to the basics and just using really minimal ingredient products, even if you’re making them yourself, if you’re buying Toups and Co, if it’s another company where there are minimal ingredients, you know, it’s really just important for me to see people making that change for their health, for their kids especially. In an article that I read recently, the exposure in the 14 to 18 year olds product wise in females specifically was 3 to 5 times higher than the average adult because these young girls are wanting to use all these new products. They’re being marketed to from every social media avenue there is. They’re seeing influencers using these products and they want them. And so they’re using so many more products than an average adult, and their toxic exposure is so much more. And they’re coming into their fertility years. So for me, especially for my daughter, it’s so important for me to educate her on those products and not just give her Toups and Co and say, you know, “This is what you can use and that’s it,” or whatever. But really, to break down the ingredient list on what she might see her friends using and explain to her why I don’t want her to use those products or I’d rather she not gives her the education and the knowledge to say no when something new comes out and I haven’t had a conversation about it with her. And just that education as she grows, becomes an adult because people say, “Oh, you know, you can shelter your kids while they’re in your home, but when they leave, they’re going to try all the things that they couldn’t have.” And really approaching it from a not “you can’t have it, but this is why you shouldn’t” attitude and that education for our children, for our family members and just approaching it from education period helps them make better choices in the future for their health. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. And you made such a valid point. You know, a lot of girls are marketed to on Instagram and Facebook, and it is right at the time they’re coming into those years as a young woman thinking about getting married, having kids as a young adult, 20s, even in your 30s. I mean, I see so many women, even in their 30s just using horrible ingredients. And so those things make a difference, especially if you’re using them every day. I was having a conversation the other day with one of our raw herdshare owners, and she was talking about Alzheimer’s. And, you know, you and I are in the health industry, right? And so when we hear things like that, we automatically think, “Oh, yeah, deodorant has aluminum in it, and it’s led to Alzheimer’s.” Like there’s studies about this. And so I mentioned this to her and she goes, “What?” She’s like, “Wait a second. I didn’t know that.” And I’m like, oh, you know, these are things that…

Emilie Toups You forget that not everyone knows that information. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. You forget. And so, you know, sharing that with people. You’re right. Educating people as to why these simple ingredients are so important and just breaking away from mass produced bad ingredients is really just as important as breaking away from the food system and the health system, because all of it contributes to your body and whether you’re healthy or not. And so your body, you know, it can take months for stuff to get out of your system that you’re putting on your body every day, on your skin, or under your arms or whatever. So we appreciate those products. 

Emilie Toups Yes. And there’s really a misconception that if it’s on the shelf, then it must be safe. And, you know, in the food, just because it’s on the shelf does not mean that it’s good for our bodies to consume. And same thing with personal care products. Just because it’s on this shelf doesn’t mean that it’s safe. And when you really start to just educate yourself on ingredients and be accountable to what you’re putting on your body, you know, know better, do better. And I never really… I never look at what someone’s using or the information and knowledge that they have and judge them for it because everyone is on their own journey. They’re all on their own journey to health, and like you said, they just don’t know. And that’s almost 99% of the time they just don’t have the knowledge or they weren’t told, they didn’t hear. And so that’s why education is super important. And I love what Homesteaders of America does with education, because there’s so many different facets of education coming and so many different awesome speakers that are there. And yeah, it’s really just all about education. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. All right. So last thing, and I ask this for all of my people that come on here. And I just love it because sometimes I get a lot of crazy things. And then other times it’s so inspirational. So as a mom, as an entrepreneur, as a homesteader, as a skincare advocate, what do you have to say to our community of people? You know, what is something that you’re really passionate about, that you really just want to say and inspire others in the homesteading community? 

Emilie Toups Well, first I want to say that, living this life and this lifestyle, it can be hard. I think that people get the idea that—especially on Instagram—it just looks so easy and you’re out there milking the cow and it’s so fun. And, you know, Emilie, it’s so easy for our family. We have all these skincare products. We don’t have to think about it or whatnot, but really putting in the hard work and just getting up day after day and going after it, what we do and the lifestyle that we live as homesteaders, as homeschoolers, as entrepreneurs, and in every facet of what we do in our life is hard. And so my husband and I often talk about, like, wouldn’t it be so easy if we didn’t have any animals and we could just leave our house and we didn’t have to worry about an animal dying or a garden shriveling up? Wouldn’t it be so easy if we could just send our kids to school and we didn’t have to worry about their education? Wouldn’t it be so easy if we just worked for someone and they gave us a paycheck, and we didn’t have to do the millions of things that entrepreneurs do? And the answer is yes, it would be easier, but is it worth it? And so to us, the hard is worth it. We would rather put in the extra labor that it takes to run this homestead because we’re providing nutrition for our children. We would rather homeschool them because we are providing their education and we know what they’re being educated and what their minds are absorbing. And we would rather be entrepreneurs because, one, we’re able to create an amazing place for people to work. Yes, I’m biased. And two, because we’re controlling the ingredients that are going in these products and we’re able to offer these amazing products to other people, and it affects other people’s lives in a great way. Sometimes we forget that. But when I get one or two or these reviews that come in and they’re talking about their kid’s eczema or their own rosacea or just other issues that they’re coming with, and they’re just like, “Thank you so much for creating these products.” That gives me the gumption to get up the next day and continuing on and to make better products because it’s worth it.

Amy Fewell Absolutely. Here, here on that one. I mean, we’ve had that conversation too, right? Like, wouldn’t it be easy? But would it be worth it? And I think that’s such a great thing to carry us through to the next day. Right? All right, guys. Well, thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of the HOA podcast. Emilie, thank you for joining us. We have really enjoyed having you with us today. And thank you again for being a sponsor this year. If you guys are coming, check out Emilie’s vendor spot that she has and she’ll be there to talk to you and have fun. All right, we’ll see you again next time. Happy homesteading. 

Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s Homesteaders of America episode. We really enjoyed having you here. We welcome questions and you can find the transcript and all the show notes below or on our Homesteaders of America blog post that we have up for this podcast episode. Don’t forget to join us online with a membership or just to read blog posts and find out more information about our events at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. We also have a YouTube channel and follow us on all of our social media accounts to find out more about homesteading during this time in American history. All right, have a great day and happy homesteading.