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Family business goes big on Amazon

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Family business goes big on Amazon

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You wouldn’t think one phone call would alter the course of a small company selling handmade bath and body care products. But it did for Holly Rutt and Little Flower Soap Company – and in a big way. Rutt already knew she was a finalist for a national advertisement featuring a small- or medium-sized business that’s selling on Amazon. She was about to find out she got the gig.

“I remember trying to play it cool on the phone because I didn’t want to scream in their ear,” Rutt said. “Having a company as big as Amazon pick you out of more than a million other businesses validates what we are and what we do.”

Every little bar of soap we’ve wrapped making the bow perfect, with each handwritten gift note, we’re creating this emotion of joy and gratitude and contributing to the love someone feels when they receive it.

Holly Rutt – small business owner, Little Flower Soap Company

One month later, Rutt and her husband, Justin, were in Greece where Amazon filmed the ad. It features Rutt and her business – her logo appearing on the side of train cars and container trucks making the journey from customer order to delivery. It’s dusk in the commercial, and we see her flipping the “Open” sign on a storefront to “Open on Amazon.” She then delivers the closing line: “Half of all items sold on Amazon come from small and medium businesses, just like mine.”

Three woman stand at the entrance of a tidy, red barn that has been converted into a workshop. All three women are wearing aprons.

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Little Flower Soap Co. headquarters in Chelsea, Michigan.

A woman's hands grasp a sprig of lavender, in the garden it was grown.

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Holly Rutt farms her own lavender for her products.

A woman stands in a lavender field. In her right hand is a bunch of lavender, in her left is an herb snip scissors.

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Holly Rutt harvests lavender from her garden.

A woman pour's jojoba oil into a large, glass measuring cup on a scale. Other ingredients for soap making are already in measuring cup. Behind the mixture are jars of ingredients for the company's soaps and candles.

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Soapmaking at Little Flower Soap Co.

A woman mixes a small batch of soap with a power-mixer. In the foreground, are tanks used to heat and melt materials for the soaps and candles to be sold. Above her are several empty pots used for production.

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Soapmaking at Little Flower Soap Co.

A large batch of soap is mixed inside of a large bucket, using a power drill fixed with a paddle attachment. The woman mixing the soap is wearing jeans and work boots and is seated in a chair.

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Soapmaking at Little Flower Soap Co.

A woman (left) and man (right) hold large measuring cups filled with a liquid and pour the contents into small, metal containers.

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Holly and Justin Rutt making products for Little Flower Soap Co.

A woman hand-cuts a block of soap on a large, wooden cutting board. In front of the soap block are small bits of shavings from soap cuttings.

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Soapmaking at Little Flower Soap Co.

An employee at Little Flower Soap Company cuts a block of soap by hand, to create bars of soap to be packaged and shipped to customers.

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Soapmaking at Little Flower Soap Co.

Small- and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of Amazon’s stores, and it’s estimated those businesses have created more than 900,000 jobs worldwide. Amazon’s national ad recognizes that reality and celebrates business owners like Rutt and her husband Justin, living their own version of the American Dream.

Rutt has a degree in business management and a background in floral design, and her husband is an osteopathic doctor with an interest in herbs. With their combined expertise, they started selling their handmade, small-batch soaps and body care products on Amazon in 2016 and sales have nearly doubled since. The business had taken over their home in Chelsea, Michigan. “We were making the soap in the kitchen, assembling gift boxes in the living room, and doing all the packaging and labeling in the dining room,” she said.



Little Flower Soap Co.

In 2017 they moved into an old farmhouse with a big red barn on two acres where they could also grow and farm their own lavender to use in their products. They renovated the barn and converted it into their studio, where two full-time and five part-time employees are working harder than ever. Amazon’s national commercial means a boost in brand recognition and could drive up demand.

Rutt’s soapmaking that started as a side hustle is now a company on the rise and for her, a business that will always be personal. “We make small things with great love, that’s where my heart is,” she said. “Every little bar of soap we’ve wrapped making the bow perfect, with each handwritten gift note, we’re creating this emotion of joy and gratitude and contributing to the love someone feels when they receive it. You’re a part of something. And for me, that’s everything.”

Amazon.com will be profiling U.S.-based small- and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon, like Little Flower Soap Co., throughout the month.



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