Acres of Grace expands into soaping business
Published 10:48 am Thursday, November 9, 2023
DOWAGIAC — For more than a decade, Jen Eby has been known regionally as “Jen the Soap Lady.”
Beloved for her handcrafted all-natural soap, Jen the Soap Lady has been a familiar face at craft shows and seasonal events throughout Southwest Michigan. But for the last couple of years, Jen and her husband Matt, owners of Eby Farms LLC in Cassopolis, have been looking for ways to slow down their lives. Besides farming, Matt has worked full-time in construction off the farm and Jen has been soaping at home for 13 years.
“While soaping has been good for our family, we have been far too busy to keep up with everything,” Ebay said.
Last year they quit farming, but still needed to slow down more. A serendipitous conversation with customer-turned-friend Mandy Wallace opened the door to selling the soaping side of the business.
On Oct. 10, the soaping business was purchased by Wallace and her husband Shane, owners of Acres of Grace. A Dowagiac native, Wallace has worked locally in public accounting since 2014 and is currently a Client Accounting Senior at UHY Advisors Inc. in their downtown Dowagiac location. She is the treasurer of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, and is involved in the local homeschool community.
“Shane and I live with our four kids on acreage in the country, but we don’t have tillable land,” said Wallace. “For the last two years we had been brainstorming on what we could do at our homestead to make the property feel more useful. We do a lot of foraging, hunting, and nature study with the kids. We garden, have chickens, have a mini-orchard, and are in the early stages of growing shiitake mushrooms. Those are all great things for our own family, but we still wanted a way to share our blessings with others. We are a health-conscious, naturally-minded family, so the opportunity to make natural soap and body care products out of our home is the perfect fit.”
The Wallaces first became customers of Eby Farms in 2017. As a family with food sensitivities, they found themselves becoming increasingly aware of what they put on their bodies, in addition to what they ate.
“In our home, we strive to use as many natural and homemade products as possible. I first tried Jen’s products because the ingredient lists met our high standards for natural products, and I was hooked right away! Her soap smelled amazing, and she did it all with natural essential oils, no artificial fragrance oils. She has put so much time and thoughtfulness into perfecting these recipes over the years. This new chapter is going to be great for everyone involved,” Wallace said.
Current product offerings at Acres of Grace include all-natural body soap bars and deluxe facial soap bars, body butter, lip butter, and deodorant. Everything is made in Wallace’s home kitchen, and ingredients are locally-sourced and/or organic whenever possible. Purchases can be made in-person at seasonal area craft shows, or online year-around. Visit www.acresofgracemi.com for online orders and upcoming craft show dates.