It dawned on me April 6 that I missed Simply Rustic's two-year anniversary on April 4-the day I started selling on Etsy. I thought, oh well, I will run a sale and giveaway soon (Earth Day is coming up). Then look what showed up in my inbox this morning...I only checked for spelling. :-)
Let’s face it, I’m a guy. In my mind, a well-rounded toiletries kit consists of deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, a bar of soap, some shampoo-the latter two being interchangeable if you haven’t run to the store lately. So when Amanda started talking about all the research she’d done about toxins in our everyday household, beauty, and even food products while trying to cope with our daughter’s cancer diagnosis, and that she wanted to develop a line of skin care products that would be free of toxins using only natural and/or organically grown ingredients I was completely supportive. That is to say I looked up from my computer, murmured “That’s sounds nice honey, you should try it” and went back to perusing the local fishing reports. Obviously encouraged by my enthusiastic support, Amanda launched Simply Rustic a short time later.
I have to admit, from there my support was less enthusiastic. I hadn’t considered the time, the conversations revolving around the benefits of organic Shea butter and I most certainly hadn’t considered the impact to my kitchen-I didn’t see the counter tops for weeks on end. (I’m a guy, but I’m a sensitive guy-the kitchen is my domain.) It seemed like a lot of trouble for yet another women’s
skin care line, even if it was healthy. Then it went from bad to worse, she actually wanted me to try them myself. Seriously? I mean sure, a couple of the body butters had a nice, clean scent to them, and my wife’s skin certainly did seem to have a soft, velvety feel to it these days that I found quite evocative. Ok, so I guess the Pumpkin Spice body scrub she’d just developed did have a wonderful earthy Autumn aroma reminiscent of fall leaves and harvest smells but still, those were women’s products, most definitely not for men. Still, if experience has taught me anything in marriage it’s that my wife is almost always right, even if I don’t agree with her-which isn’t the same as being wrong, a subtle but important difference. A long day of ice fishing in some brutally cold weather, curiosity
and dry, cracked knuckles got the better of my resolve one night. After my shower, I snuck some of her body butter-just a tiny bit-for my poor abused hands. It felt nice. Soothing even. I took just a bit more for my hands, deciding that there certainly wasn’t any harm in rubbing the excess onto my arms and shoulders that were dry and itchy from the winter weather. After all, it hardly had any scent at all, certainly not flowery and girly. Just a nice, clean smelling scent so who would know? (Wives, that’s who.)
It was a few weeks later that I discovered one of her body scrubs she’d left out while in the shower. Winters are cold and dry around here, so still believing no one but me would know, I snuck a bit to scrub on my legs and arms that night, and…well, I liked it. There, I said it. I liked it. I felt truly clean for the first time in months. The scrubbing action of the sugar worked better than the pumice soaps I was used to using and, with the Shea butter and oils my skin felt, well, good. Try that with a piece of lava rock. Between you and I, the scrubs with salts in them work even better somehow but make sure you’ve been sneaking enough body butter for your chapped and calloused hands-the salt will tell you exactly where every little nick and cut is. They say curiosity killed the cat, and it’s from there that I have to say mine got the better of me and the slow, but sure conversion began. I began to sneak bits of the face food in the shower, pilfered a lip balm when she wasn’t looking-petty crimes really. Who’d know? In a new found show of support, I started asking questions about this or that product; the ingredients, what the supposed benefits were. I even pretended to help out a little-I’d learned that when she makes this stuff up, there’s always a little extra left over. I’m still a guy-free stuff is still free stuff. Interestingly, I learned a lot more than I bargained for. I’ve been told I’m a slow learner, but it’s not true-I just don’t listen well. I’d always assumed that Amanda had created Simply
Rustic out of boredom or the need to have something of her own. To be deadly honest, I’d actually resented Simply Rustic for a time-the kitchen had been taken over, and frankly the time and expense were two things we didn’t exactly have an abundance of. The fact that she plunged on ahead without seeming to hear or care about my complaints didn’t help a bit. As I said, I don’t listen well.
As the time passed I learned more about Simply Rustic and its products; more importantly I begrudgingly learned the real reasons behind its creation. As I said, I don’t listen well-ask Amanda. Oh yeah-and wives always know, mine scarily so. I don’t even bother trying to hide things these days, she’s usually on to me before I’ve finished thinking of it. She knew all along I’d been pilfering her products, but I wonder if she knew all along it was a matter of time before I got tired of feeling neglected and caved in and started offering to help out, or at least sit and talk with her while she worked? Yeah, I think so too. It’s ok though. I’m still a guy, and we never give up trying. Lately she’s developed a batch or two of oils-yet to be named, but I’m thinking they’d be perfect for massaging the aches and pains out of my back and shoulders at the end of a long day. Who knows? If I show just enough interest-curious, but not too eager-she just might volunteer me for testing. Hey, it could be worse, ask any lab rat. Of course, you and I both know that in the end it’ll be me massaging the aches and pains out of her back and shoulders.
They say that if you can’t beat them, join them, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t feel beaten, but I’ve certainly joined enough to appreciate a good thing when I see one. I’m still a guy, after all. It’s just that I’m an older, wiser guy who’s learned to pick his battles. That’s my story-believe it or don’t. What I see now is a great line of non-toxic skin care products that, to me at least, work better than the stuff you’d find on the conventional market. I see a unique product line and a labor of devotion and love. Amanda conjured Simply Rustic out of thin air with nothing but a burning desire to
reduce the toxins we were exposed to and a desire to create something that changed the world for the better, knowing that it might seem to be a pitifully small contribution in the grand scheme, but also with the courage of her convictions and the knowledge that enough small things can add up in world changing ways. I still don’t see my countertops much, but I’m learning to work around that. I see that I’m secure enough now in my masculinity-or lack thereof, up to you-to say that I love using Simply Rustic’s products and would buy them myself, if I weren’t already married to the creator and owner. Although in truth, I may be better off buying them myself. I can’t keep the daughters from
pilfering the stash I keep in the bathroom cabinets.