We had a blast making this!
"Cynthia's products (Sweet Harvest Farms) have truly made a huge impact on my skin. I am a professional model and take care of my skin the most natural way possible.
Love the acne/ blemish bar with the brush to exfoliate after a long day photo shoot. I also am a huge fan of her lotions, which don't make me break out!
Lastly, the serum is my favorite, it has natural anti-aging powers and make my skin glow. Sweet Harvest Farms products are part of my daily routine.
~Daniela Brands - Fashion:Commercial/TV/Runaway Model
(featured on ShopOpenSky.com)
-Award winning actress and author
- - - - - - - - -
(Featured on ShopOpenSky.com)
- - - - - - - - -
Radio interview with Cynthia A. Young-Jennings
Sweet Harvest Farms
Thousands of miles away, an Indian man painstakingly places 26 individual tiny pebbles in soft cloth and ties each one off before dyeing the fabric to form a print. It becomes a lovely scarf, fashioned by hand from the “Alamwar” brand. It journeys all the way to America and lands like a feather at Cozette’s Boutique in St. Pete.
Worldly treasures dominate the space: one-of-a-kind pieces from France, “Skunkfunk” from Spain, fair trade from a Himalayan village and spiritual beads crafted by an artisan from South Beach. On the side (quite literally on the wall), Cozette showcases two massive mixed-media installations created by her beau, celebrated local artist Ron Francis. She and I take a whirl around, and every collection has a story that sounds like a romance novel.
“I really want to be able to represent artists or local or international designers that just don’t have a platform,” Cozette Roche says of her philosophy for the store. In so doing, she has created a destination — a place you want to be (anchoring the Crislip Arcade at 645 Central Avenue).
A tour of textures begins at the entrance, with silk and cotton linens from Alamwar collectively made by a multigenerational family. French music fills the air, mixing with the fragrance of natural handmade bath products sourced locally. For the last two years she’s been carrying these soaps and lotions “religiously.”
Born in Long Beach, California but raised in Tampa, Cozette says, “At 18 I took off to Europe and stayed for 21 years.” She modeled in the fashion industry there for 13 years, lived in Paris, London, Milan and Hamburg, and took a quick jaunt to Tokyo before returning here to raise her daughter.
Local rock star Geri X brought her to St. Petersburg, where she opened Cozette’s Boutique. “The reason I’m on Central Avenue is because of Geri. She’s amazing as an artist and she’s amazing as a human being.”
Cozette points to a collection of delicate white dresses by Lim’s. “This is the story of a family that escaped the spread of Communism and Nazi occupation before World War II with storage containers of tablecloths saved from their successful home goods business. This generation took those tablecloths and made these one-of-a-kind pieces. Touch it,” she insists. “You can feel what it was before.”
In your travels to Cozette’s Boutique, you may be lucky enough to find dresses by sought-after local fashion designer k.hendrix and jewelry from Albisia’s (based in Hyde Park Village).
Kambodia, a local designer from Safety Harbor, fits right in with her brand, Aspara. Cozette says that Kambodia goes to India for six months at a time to source fabrics and design her dresses, but that she is also an international business and women’s studies student at USF with aspirations to one day create a fair trade facility in an area of India she loves.
It is fulfilling to discover wondrous new things and to share them with others. It is uplifting to provide a platform for artists without one. Cozette’s Boutique is built on these principles, and therefore the energy inside is always positive.
From the most beautiful yoga mat bags to locally fringed ponchos, each piece at Cozette’s is primed for spinning your own new stories. Happy twirling.
Sweet Harvest Farms featured on KTLA:
Tampa, Florida -- On any given day, you'll find Cynthia Jennings tucked away in her garage, blending, molding, and slicing her way to success.
"It just took on a life of its own," Jennings said of her natural soap company, Sweet Harvest Farms.
She's been making soaps from scratch for about ten years. The military wife has packed up and moved all of the pots, essential oils and packaging every few years or so, and now the persistence is paying off. Jennings says her business just got picked up by a national distributor, which means her soaps, candles, lotions, balms and fragrances will soon be found in spas and boutiques across the country. This means she'll be mixing up enough of her formulas to produce 2,000 bars of soap each month, in addition to the soaps she already produces for current clients. You can find a bar of Sweet Harvest Farms soaps in boutiques throughout the east coast.
It's not just about earning a paycheck though. It's solving ailments like her granddaughter's eczema or a client's allergies to soaps.
"The thing about succeeding in business is to fulfill a need, so if you see the need and know how to fill it …then fill it!" she explained.
Growth didn't happen overnight for her and it took some time to find the right mix for her recipes which she says are all her own.
"The old cliché is finding something you love and then finding a way to make money at it," she said.
As she expands her small business, she's hoping to encourage other people out there to take that great idea and go for it.
"Take the bull by the horn and run with it. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it, you've got to have a strong belief in what you're doing," she advised.
Her business is a family business with a strong support system that she says any successful business owner needs to have in place.
Cynthia "C.J" Jennings remembers the first time she picked up a paintbrush as a child. She didn't put her brush to canvas or even paper. Instead, a pair of her father's old Army boots — souvenirs from Korea — caught her eye. Jennings painted a landscape on the boots, inadvertently foreshadowing a major decorating trend decades later.
"I was doing primitive and shabby years before anyone had ever heard of it," she recalls. "I was painting on old things before it was the thing to do."
These days, Jennings puts her artistic talents to use in her small family business, Sweet Harvest Farms, www.sweetharvestfarms.com. The farm is quasi-fictional, just a cute, two-story yellow house off Interbay Boulevard that she leases with her husband, Duane, a training director at MacDill Air Force Base Central Command.
Her Web site, filled with old photos and uplifting quotes, looks much like the inside of her home, which is layered with antiques, quilts, estate-sale finds and Jennings' own handmade primitive dolls and folk art. The best part of the house is the way it smells: A blend of botanicals, herbs and spices permeates every room. The good smells are the result of her latest venture: luxurious goat's milk soap that she makes by hand in her kitchen.
"This is true soap," says Jennings, who also adds things like olive oil, shea butter and avocado oil.
Her clients rave about soft skin and sweet-smelling houses.
"I have people who use my soap and won't use anything but," says Jennings, a regular vendor at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg, at the Base Exchange at MacDill Air Force Base, and at the Blue Moon Trading Co. in South Tampa, where she works part time.
"She's amazingly talented," raves Blue Moon owner Katie Gagnon. "Her products have a vintage look and feel so they fit in very well in here. I like to arrange them in vignettes around the store, which is kind of fun."
Jennings also makes a richly scented potpourri that she stirs and "melds" over several weeks to create a scent that lasts longer than usual. One summer variety smells like the ocean and contains bits of sea glass and shells. A winter version delivers the heady fragrance of Christmas trees and comes with real jingle bells tucked inside the package.
"I've had people tell me that it still makes their homes smell good months later," she says.
The beautiful chunks of handmade soap are cured on Jennings' dining room table. When finished, the soaps wear the earthy Sweet Harvest Farms paper labels.
A style all her own The Sweet Harvest brand extends to Jennings' personal decorating style, something she developed living in far-flung places as an Air Force wife. The couple, who will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, have moved 15 times. Jennings manages to make every home beautiful. The proof is in the pictures she whips out of the neglected plantation house in Camden, S.C., that she transformed with a collection of antique furniture and flea market treasures.
"It has to have character, old or new. I only surround myself with things that make me smile," Jennings says.
She's a fan of antique tarnished silver, old wooden wardrobe cabinets, even an 1800s French dressmaker's mannequin that stands in a hall bathroom. The wooden swan atop the fireplace mantel rests on an antique ammunition box; the primitive wooden cabinet next to the TV is actually an authentic grain bin, probably a century old. The secret to her uncluttered look?
"It's really funny," she says. "I'll pick up things because I like them. Then I'll live with them for a while and then rotate them out of my collection."
Jennings, who once owned her own boutique in Destin (customers included Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and Jim Carrey) explains that another secret to keeping a house looking put together and uncluttered is investing only in furnishings that have a double use. The antique pine chest in front of her gorgeous, pale-blue sofa doubles as storage for games and magazines. (The sofa, a secondhand find, was purchased for $350 on Craigslist.)
Antique picture frames dress up her bathroom mirrors, and vintage mirrors hang in an artful cluster off the front hallway for fast primping. A cabinet in the front hall serves as a display case for family heirlooms. Atop the cabinet and in an antique child's rocker are handmade primitive angel dolls that Jennings makes from muslin. The dolls, which retail for around $200, have soulful, decidedly noncute faces and often wear the antique christening gowns Jennings collects. And true to her childhood passion, her folk art paintings adorn all sorts of utilitarian objects, including New England sap buckets.
Sweet tea, anyone? Jennings, friendly and down to earth, still speaks with a hint of her native San Antonio, Texas, accent. She greets guests with Handmade sweet tea and a plate of hummus and pita. She has raised four kids and has six grandchildren. The two-story yellow house that is Sweet Harvest Farms is usually filled with friends and kids and the Jenningses' dogs, a goldendoodle named Teddy and a rescued bichon frise, Collette.
The couple plan to have their family gather around them when they renew their vows at Blue Moon in a few weeks. Jennings said she picked the store for the same reason she picks her own houses and furniture.
"We could have rented a fancy hall," she said, "or had the same event in a place where I can be surrounded by things that have a history and a story behind them."
C.J., “soap aficionado” of Sweet Harvest Farms, actually started out as a Folk Artist! Having trained at The McNay Art Institute and under such noted artists as Robert Huntsinger and Patricia Sapp, she was selling her art at shows and special events. As luck would have it, she eventually opened a boutique featuring her own work and that of Deb Strain and Carol Endres while offering other items such as clothing, primitive antiques and Handmade soaps.
Having a medical background and knowing what is nurturing and vital for healthy skin, she came to realize that not all “Handmade soaps” are created equal. She found that many left you itchy, dry and with taunt skin. Always up to a challenge, CJ decided she would find the secret to creating a cleansing soap that is luxurious and nurturing as well.
After years of research and suggestions from other soap makers, CJ formulated her own patented cold-processed soap recipe that leaves your skin clean, soft and hydrated.
Using only the highest quality organic oils such as Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil (and others), CJ also offers soaps for Eczema, sensitive skin, Acne/blemishes and even an all natural dog soap for…well, your dog! No chemicals or harsh detergents of any kind are ever used.
Sweet Harvest Farms is a cottage industry which is growing by leaps and bounds! A family business, CJ’s husband, daughter and son help with the everyday logistics of wrapping and packing each bar for shipment. CJ remains hands on and creates 40-50 pounds of soap each day.
All of Sweet Harvest Farms products are exclusive family recipes and can be purchased online, in Spas, Boutiques and Specialty Stores around the country.
It is estimated that there are less than 100 true soap makers left in the US today. CJ, of Sweet Harvest Farms is proud to be one of them!
“We are making skin happy one bar at a time!”
- - - - - - - - -
Online PR News – 21-April-2014 – Tampa, Florida – Popular Tampa-based soap company Sweet Harvest Farms (www.sweetharvestfarms.com) will have its all natural, handmade Amore soap bar and Amore Belle Parfume included in an exclusive The Artisan Group® Earth Day 2014 Gift Bag, to be delivered in time for the holiday to 25 of Hollywood’s most eco-conscious celebrities.
The Artisan Group® Earth Day Gift Bag, which is comprised entirely of eco-friendly handcrafted items from members, will go to Jessica Alba, Emma Watson, Edward Norton, Adrian Grenier, Will.i.am, Robert Redford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Drew Barrymore, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Ted Danson, Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz, John Mayer, Geena Davis, Barbra Streisand, Alicia Silverstone, Ian Somerhalder, Lisa Kudrow, Mark Ruffalo, Natalie Portman, Rachel McAdams, and Neil Patrick Harris.
Sweet Harvest Farms' proprietor, Cynthia Young-Jennings, chose to gift celebrities the Amore soap bar and Parfume because it is considered one of the company’s most popular scents by both men and women. The Amore soap bars are handmade with organic shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and sustainable palm oil; rosemary extract; orris root; vitamin E, molasses and other oils and herbs that are good for your skin. The bar has colloidal oatmeal within and sprinkled on top. Colloidal oatmeal helps calm and soften itchy skin, molasses is said to provide healing qualities and brown sugar is then added for a light exfoliation. The scent is reminiscent of all things alluring and sensual yet has a subtle, refreshing quality that works for both sexes. The soap doubles as a beard-softening, rich-lathering shaving bar. A 7 oz. bar retails for $6.98 and lasts 6 to 8 weeks in the shower.
Amore Belle Parfume is a roll-on for scent lovers who want a more natural choice of what they apply to their skin. Organic coconut oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E form the base of the perfume; and there are no Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates, Phosphates, Harsh Chemicals, Mineral Oils, Petroleum products, or scent extenders in any of Sweet Harvest Farms products- just pure unadulterated oil. The generously sized 1.25 ounce glass vial is perfect for purse, drawer, and car and makes on-the-go touch-ups easy. Belle Parfumes start at $25.00.
“Amore soap bars are natural, organic and nurture and pamper the skin; they're the perfect gift for eco-conscious friends and loved ones!”
Recipients of The Artisan Group's® gift bag will find their Sweet Harvest Farms Amore Soap Bar and Parfume wrapped in a soft burlap bag with 100% cotton muslin and natural twine. The bag is the perfect size for creative re-purposing. Both the soap (http://www.sweetharvestfarms.com/handmadesoap.html) and the parfume (http://www.sweetharvestfarms.com/belleparfume.html) can be purchased on the company’s website and at boutiques and spas worldwide.
Cynthia is an award winning photographer, folk-artist and writer, who has enjoyed creative endeavors since her youth. Her interest in handmade soap blossomed when she realized the handmade soaps she was familiar with were not as handmade, nurturing, hydrating or pure as she thought they should be.
Sweet Harvest Farms was founded in 1994 which carried Cynthia’s own line of dresses, hand-painted Folk-Art and antiques, but the business quickly turned into a serious “bath and body pursuit” after Cynthia’s No More Eczema Bar and Raze Acne Bar became a must have by customers who wouldn’t use anything else. Today, Sweet Harvest Farms caters to bath, body and home with a full line of luxurious, natural handmade soaps, body lotions, Shea Butter bars, aroma beads, all natural dog products and spa essentials.
Every Sweet Harvest Farms product is handcrafted in small batches from Cynthia’s own recipes, which are the culmination of on-going research and meticulous testing. Standards like African Black Soap and Pine Tar Soap share the stage with lighthearted choices like Girls Grigio and MaMa’s Merlot. Sweet Harvest Farms’ Dog Soap and steroid free H-Spot Allergy Ointment are lifesavers for those whose pups have sensitive skin, allergy hot spots or who simply want to treat their dogs to an all-natural, organic grooming regimen.
Sweet Harvest Farms has been profiled on Tampa Channel 10, KTLA in Los Angeles, Keep America.org, in FOLK Magazine and the Tampa Daily News. The company’s products have been endorsed by Mariel Hemingway, on www.ShopOpenSky.com, who describes the Shea Butter Bar as her “cure all for areas that need a little extra TLC”. Blog founder Gina Harney said the Goat’s Milk Soaps “leave your skin feeling like ‘buttah’…”
Cynthia emphasizes that this is a family business and would not be able to continue to follow her dream without the support of her husband Duane Jennings. Retiring after 24 years in the US Air Force, Duane now works for the US Government on MacDill, A.FB. in Florida.
"Duane has a stressful position but still finds time to measure and pour the oils needed for my soap once he gets home, helps at the markets and various shows and is an integral part of my success."
Other celebrities who have enjoyed Sweet Harvest Farms products include Tom Cruise, Jim Carey and Robe Lowe.
To learn more about Sweet Harvest Farms, visit www.sweetharvestfarms.com or contact Cynthia Young-Jennings by email using the Contact Author button to the right. Follow Sweet Harvest Farms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. While on the website, sign up to receive her monthly newsletter. It will not only enter you in the random drawing for a $50 Gift Basket, given at the first of every month, but the newsletter will keep you informed of any new products or “specials” that might be offered.
- - - - - - - - - -