By Kate Devine
I adore a good love story. Just thinking of all the beautiful and unlikely forces that unite people over time and circumstance makes me swoon! As we near our Valentine's Market (this weekend!) we're celebrating our family of vendors and their love stories.
Matt and Amy, the couple behind Big Spoon Little Spoon Naturals create handmade soaps and products for our bodies, spirits, and planet. The story of how they met, fell in love, and started a business, is rooted in fate and heart.
When did you meet and what brought you two together?
We first met at a punk show at Hamilton Street Cafe in Bound Brook, NJ when Matt was probably around 16 and Amy was probably 13. Matt was from a suburb outside Philadelphia and Amy grew up not far from the venue in NJ.
Matt: My old band played a show there, and we first crossed paths at that show when we were kids, not yet knowing I was standing in the same room with my soulmate, the mother of my future children.
Maybe 8 or 9 years later, Matt was on tour and played a house show in Los Angeles and Amy just so happened to attend another one of Matt's band's shows, but this time, on the other side of the country, all the way on the west coast, while Amy was living out in LA.
Amy: I actually recognized Matt from when we were teenagers, which was strange for me because I have the worst memory, it's somewhat of a problem, and I'm especially horrible at remembering faces and people in general, but not him. It wasn't until we crossed paths again while both living in Philadelphia a few years later that we finally "got together." Our first date was in my tiny cement patio backyard in South Philadelphia. We lit a chiminea fire, and sparklers, and we haven't left each other's side since then. We've been together every day, making a life together.
What was it like deciding to start your business together?
It was a pretty easy decision, since we kind of stuck together like magnets right from the start of our relationship. We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to work together and work for ourselves. We never really felt that we "fit in" with any of our previous jobs. Neither of us felt complete in the job department, and we wanted so badly to carve something out for ourselves. Right before we ditched our jobs to pursue soapmaking full time, Amy was a substitute teacher and Matt was a bartender at a local TexMex restaurant. Soapmaking sort of fell into our laps like fate much like how we fell together.
We started making soap not long after our first kid was born in 2013. Lake, our oldest boy, was born with rashy, super sensitive skin; his rashes seemed to be triggered by washing him with certain commercial baby soaps. Seeking a gentle, more natural alternative to clean our then little baby's tush, while on a limited budget, we started making our own soap from scratch using soothing herbs from our own backyard and organic, high-quality nourishing food-grade oils we'd get from the local Trader Joe's. We took out books from the library and watched Youtube videos on how to do it, and got pretty damn good at it.
Matt: Amy apprenticed on a medicinal plants farm for a few years so knew the basics of natural, plant-based ingredients, and is naturally so very talented at everything artistic, especially when creating packaging and display designs; she's a genius.
Amy: Matt is a natural artist also. He's more attune to rhythms and motions. I think because he's a natural born drummer, he's really good with his hands and has a genuine connection with the manual, handcrafted scope of our business; he's the true soap artist, and our company would be incomplete without him and the passion for his craft that he brings to the table.
Soap making, product design, and now store design, really gives us an outlet to do what we always felt we were meant to do as humans. It allows us to create and to put products that are meaningful, useful, and sustainable out into the world for our fellow humans to really bond with and enjoy.
What is your favorite part about working with your partner?
Amy: For me, it's that he completes me in every way. We always joke that we are two incomplete halves. Only together, do we make up a complete whole. I feel so lucky to be in such great company all the time and you can't complain about having nothing but love in the workplace. Don't get me wrong, it's not all sunshine and lollipops always, running a small business when you started out dirt poor with a little baby to feed and bills and real life to juggle is TOUGH; we bicker and disagree all the time, but at the end of the day, he's me and I'm him, and our kids are us, even the people who work with us have turned into family and joined in on the oneness all around. We all carry each other, and it feels great being a part of the Big Spoon Little Spoon Naturals work family community. It feels like home all the time.
Matt: We work hard for each other, and for our kids and have all the same motivating and driving forces. We're doing this to give our kids a good life and future. It feels good to be in it together, building something for them and creating sustainable products for the future of this planet. And not to mention, It feels good to be able to make soap naked if I wanted to (I don't for safety/hygiene reasons!!! BUT...) if I wanted to, I could and she wouldn't mind a bit. It's nice working around your wife while being your own boss because the option of working naked without shame is always there.
What will you be offering at the Valentine's Market?
We're so excited to be a part of the Sunday, Feb. 12th Asbury Park Bazaar Valentine's Market! In addition to all the usual products we offer this time of the year, such as an array of handcrafted plant-based soaps made with love, natural body products, dried flower bouquets, and all kinds of gifts inspired by nature for everyone you love, we are teaming up with The Market's Winter Workshop Project and offering a Soapmaking Workshop for those interested in learning how to make soap during the Sunday Valentine's Market. See The Market Asbury Park's event page for more information on how to sign up.