Melissa Klimo-Major is the founder of Terra Verde Soap & Candle Company, a green company offering unique and locally made products at an affordable price point. Her popular products will be featured at the upcoming Made in the 216 shopping event in the Gordon Square Arts District on June 11 and 12; you can also find her wares at Salty Not Sweet Handmade Boutique in the Waterloo Arts District. In this Q&A, Klimo-Major shares some insights on the power of local businesses and great Terra Verde gifts.
OhioAuthority: How long have you been making soap and candles? What got you started?
Melissa Klimo-Major: I started last summer, to do the Salty Not Sweet craft show in fall 2009. There's no cutesy story to how I started ... I just wanted a hobby, and realized pretty quickly that I was decent at this!
OA: What are some things you've learned through the process of trial and error. For example, have you ever discovered anything wonderful, completely by accident?
MKM: Cleveland Gray Soap was born when I ordered a whole mess of Australian clays and fell in love with experimenting with them. Clays are also very skin softening and silky feeling, so they are great additives to any soap.
OA: What do you like best about events like Made in the 216 and shops like Salty Not Sweet? What kind of difference does it make to you, as the creator of these products, to be featured in environments like these?
MKM: I adore being involved with indie businesses like Salty and Room Service. I feel strongly about doing what I believe, supporting and partnering with local small business owners, and it has proven to be a smart decision all around. We all work hard, but we're working hard doing what we love, and it's very "anti-corporate." I was born and raised in Cleveland, so I love being surrounded by this blooming movement of creativity and success right at home.
OA: In one sentence, tell what sets Terra Verde apart.
MKM: Unique scents, attainable prices, personable and environmentally responsible in a real-world fashion.
OA: What are some of your favorite products right now? Anything that makes a great, one-size-fits-all, all-occasion gift?
MKM: Lotion bars are handy and convenient, and they make great girly gifts. There are lots of scents to choose from, and the tin packaging has a unique, kitschy feel. The response to the recycled bottle candles has been overwhelming - I talk to shoppers in Salty all the time who are picking up candles for gifts. I recently sold a number of the wine bottle candles for end-of-the-year teacher gifts.