It is with some sadness that we are announcing the closing of our Simply Soothing Marketplace retail store: effective January 10th.
Retail is very challenging, and especially in small towns. We have struggled for several years to keep this type of store open, but have made a business decision not to continue so that we may concentrate on other parts of the business.
The concept for our Simply Soothing Iowa Marketplace came from attending craft shows and watching people lugging beautiful handcrafted items around from show to show, while charging not much more than what would cover their costs. My vision was to create a comfortable storefront that would showcase these items, and allow people to shop in a relaxed atmosphere. Buying unique gifts made in our home state, while creating a sustainable business for the crafters.
We very much appreciate all the customers that have stopped in to buy gifts over the years. Our vendors appreciate them as well. Although we have had some of the best customers in the world, we have just not had enough of them to support this part of our business.
Please understand that lack of sales is definitely not a reflection of the beautiful items we have carried in our Columbus Junction store. It has always been heartbreaking to me that we couldn’t do justice for the hard work that has gone into the crafting of these gifts.
Over the next few weeks we will be open. There are many gifts left to buy, but when they are gone, they are gone. (Simply Soothing products, including Bug Soother, will continue to be available, but we will no longer have additional Iowa vendor’s items for sale.) Many of the vendors in Simply Soothing Iowa Marketplace are offering amazing discounts. There is not a better time to shop than now during the height of the holiday season, to buy something lovingly made by local Iowa artisans, rather than shipped in from China.
Simply Soothing will continue to make and sell our own products. We are going to put more effort into wholesale and ecommerce with a wider customer base while we continue to bring you natural, nourishing, and affordable products for you and your family. We will continue to keep you updated on what we are doing with that part of the business, in the meantime take advantage of some great sales on the Simply Soothing products you love. If you aren’t familiar with the products we make (beyond Bug Soother), please make sure to take a moment to learn about some of the other soothing products we make right here in SE Iowa.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season,
Freda Sojka, CEO of Simply Soothing
When I first created Bug Soother, it was to help my young grandson Elijah, who had sensitive skin and was getting eaten up by the Iowa gnats. I wanted something safe, natural, and nourishing to the skin…but wherever I looked, I couldn’t find a product that was gentle enough yet still kept the gnats away…and that’s how Bug Soother began!
The best natural mosquito repellent
Bug Soother was originally formulated for gnats, but we were excited to discover that amongst other things, it repelled some mosquitoes too; But something that’s always “bugged us” (pardon the pun) though, is that it hasn’t been as effective on mosquitoes as we would have liked. So, over the past several years we have been hard at work coming up with a new formulation that has the same great scent and works on gnats, but is now more effective on mosquitoes! After A LOT of trial & error, and multiple tests around the country (and even the world), we are excited to announce our NEW formulation of Bug Soother! The best part is that we were able to keep the same light fragrance and natural ingredients that protect your family and pets — but now it’s an even more effective natural mosquito repellent!
Bug Soother has always been (and continues to be) a safe, natural product, made right here in the USA (SE Iowa to be more specific)! Although we continue to be located in the Midwest, we are proud to be a favorite among folks from all around the country (and even other parts of the world) who love being outside and don’t want to be held back by the bugs. Whether you like to golf, hike, camp, hunt, fish, work outside, do yoga, go to baseball games, or just sit on the back porch with your family, Bug Soother keeps the bugs away — without any of the harsh chemicals or greasy feeling.
Our ingredients are easy to recognize and nourishing for your skin. We don’t use heavy, harsh chemicals to get rid of bugs. Instead, we want to be completely transparent about what you’ll find in our products.
That’s why our gnat and mosquito-busting formula has easy-to-understand ingredients.
Why is Bug Soother a more effective mosquito repellent?
Here’s what our formula has inside:
- Glycerin — Glycerin is a kind of fat that is derived from plants. It is used in every industry, from all-natural beauty products to foods. In fact, there are over 1,500 uses for glycerin today. It is known to help moisturize your skin, prevent cracking and chafing, and allow other all-natural ingredients to stay on your skin for longer.
- Castor Oil — Castor oil is a safe, all-natural oil made from castor beans. Castor oil is another popular choice for natural beauty formulas. It has been used since the Ancient Egyptians for lubrication. That’s why Bug Soother goes on so smooth!
- Soy Lecithin — Soy lecithin is found in many foods as a natural “emulsifier,” or smoother. Soy lecithin is derived from animal fats and gives many natural beauty products a smooth texture.
- Vitamin E — Vitamin E is a “super vitamin” for skin. Found in many anti-aging formulas, Vitamin E gently nourishes your skin as an antioxidant. Studies claim that Vitamin E can prevent itchy skin — a bonus if you’re putting it on after you’ve tangled with bugs.
- 100% Pure Lemongrass Essential Oil — Lemongrass’s bright, citrusy scent is loved by humans. In fact, it’s used in spas because it encourages relaxation and contemplation. Some people claim that it can treat anxiety and depression. But the most important thing is — bugs hate the smell. One whiff of lemongrass, and mosquitoes, gnats, and more flee.
- Vanillin — Finally, just a touch of vanillin to give Bug Soother the sweet vanilla scent that completes that Bug Soother “scent of summer” you know and love!
Why Choose Bug Soother
Bug Soother has become a beloved staple around our home in Columbus Junction, Iowa. Thanks to our growing sales and hard work, we are pleased to offer Bug Soother in over 6,000 retail locations across the country and around the world, plus you can also find us on Amazon, or purchase directly through our own website.
We are proud to offer an insect repellent with no harmful chemicals — and an amazing product at a reasonable price.
If you’re struggling with bugs, give Bug Soother a try. We’d love for you to join our family of highly-satisfied customers. To order, click here — and take your summer back from the bugs.
Tell us what you think! We are proud to be a small family business and we take all feedback to heart. Take a few minutes to complete our customer satisfaction survey and you’ll be entered to win a $25 Gift Certificate to use on any of our retail Simply Soothing products at simplysoothing.net.
Thank you for trusting us to protect your family,
CEO & Creator of Bug Soother, Mother, & (most importantly these days) Grandmother to Emilee, Austin, Ethan, Elijah, Xander, and multiple “fur babies”
Jim and Freda’s journey together may not be your “typical” love story, but what REAL love story is?
Once upon a time, Jim and Freda ( having both experienced a couple of failed marriages) decided that falling in love (and staying in love) was not in their cards. It would turn out, though, that God had other plans for them. When their story began, Jim had been a bridge builder for 40 years of his life, traveling all over the state of Iowa to supervise and build bridges while Freda had worked a swing shift for 20+ years at Monsanto. Having both struggled with alcohol addiction in their earlier lives, Jim and Freda each felt that God needed them to carry a message of hope. What they were to discover, was that they wouldn’t be carrying that message alone.
In 1996, Freda took some time off of work due to some health issues. Little did she know that taking that time off would change she and Jim’s lives forever! Jim and Freda were introduced by friends during that time period, and they were able to spend time getting to know each other. Ultimately, as with any love story, they fell in love!
Two years later, in 1998, Jim and Freda were married on the beautiful Cedar River. As fate would have it, Bug Soother, our famous natural gnat and mosquito repellent, was to make it’s debut in nearly the same spot, 10 years later, almost to the day!
Through out their relationship, Jim and Freda discovered they had shared values and purpose. Both of them possessed a strong faith that would carry them through good times, as well as some rough patches due to the loss of family and friends, health issues, and the normal challenges of everyday life.
In the early years of Simply Soothing, Freda was able to retire from Monsanto and devote her time to the fledgling business while Jim continued working full time building bridges. Freda built a workshop in the basement of their home, making and creating products. One day Jim joined her in the workshop, fussing with some candles…and that’s how “The Butt Crack John’s Sticky Stinkbait Candle” was created by Jim the Bridge Builder. From that moment on, Jim and Freda’s lives were blended in a new way, as the two came together building a business that was to take them from SE Iowa, around the US, and as far away as London.
With a blended family of 2 sons and 2 daughters, their lives were further enriched. 3 of their children are an integral part of the business while the fourth is a successful conductor and musician. Even the grandkids take an active part in growing the business as well. You can find Jim and Freda’s 3 oldest grandkids (when they were a little younger) on displays, brochures and other promotional materials. Many of the pictures on our social media pages highlight their youngest grandson. The grandkids are great promoters, giving out Bug Soother, helping fill orders, and entertaining Jim and Freda in their spare time.
More than 20 years after Jim and Freda’s love story began, they continue to carry their message of hope in their personal life, as well as in business.
Now, if this were a fairy tale, we would end Jim and Freda’s tale by saying “and they all lived happily ever after,” but this is real life, and REAL love, so we will end by saying this instead – Each day of their love story has brought them joy & love, and sometimes even sorrow…but through it all, it’s brought them closer to each other, forever changing their lives for the better.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May you find love and laughter along the way!
2018 was a big year for us at Bug Soother. And as the end of the year quickly approaches, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on this past year, and let you know what’s in store for 2019.
Perhaps one of our biggest milestones this year is that our all-natural bug repellent, Bug Soother, turned 10 years old! I originally created Bug Soother in 2008 for my five-month old grandson, (pictured below, now 10 years old, promoting Bug Soother at the John Deere Classic), and 2008 just happened to be the year that a huge flood hit our little town of Columbus Junction. But despite all the devastation that came with the flood, when I look back, I can see some good that came out of it. We were able to repurpose three flooded buildings, which now house our store, warehouse, and production facilities. And in honor of the tenth anniversary of the flood, we donated tens of thousands of bottles of Bug Soother to flooding victims across the country.
This year, we also expanded our online presence and jumped head first into the world of Amazon. With help from our friends at 50 Pound Boson, Bug Soother had huge growth on Amazon Prime. If you walked into our warehouse on any given summer day, you would have seen people frantically filling orders and working to send Bug Soother to Amazon. In addition to Amazon, we also made big improvements to our website, in an effort to better serve our customers. Big Imprint got us on the web early on in our endeavor, and they worked with us again to revamp our website and make it even better! So while you’re here, look around our new website! Leave us a review, check out new products, or read about all the cool things we’ve been doing here at Bug Soother. Plus, if you just can’t talk enough about Bug Soother, apply to join our Bug Squad https://simplysoothing.net/pages/be-an-ambassador for a chance to receive free product and help spread Bug Soother around the US and beyond.
From the very beginning, golf courses have been a big part of the success of Bug Soother. This year was no different, as we were selected as the Official Bug Repellent of the John Deere Classic. This golf tournament takes place so close to home, and we were so excited to take part in even a small way. We also provided Bug Soother for the players and caddies of the Sanford International tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, The Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, The 3M Championship in Minnesota, and so many more through our friends at The Iowa Golf Association. We’re VERY thankful to be a part of these tournaments, but we’re also thankful to all of the golf courses and pro shops, big and small, who trust us to keep their players bug-free on the course! Thank you Golf Community!!!
Finally, we would be amiss if we did not say thank you to our customers. It has been a great year, but we could not be successful without all of YOU! From our long-time customers, to first-time buyers, it has been a pleasure to serve you, and we hope to continue to work with you for years to come!
So with 2018 nearly behind us, it’s time to begin looking forward to 2019. And boy, do we have big things planned. Justin, John, and Tessa have been hard at work in streamlining the process for making and bottling Bug Soother. After much research (and even a trip to the Pack Expo in Chicago) they are automating the production lines, with an automatic bottle capper installed and an automatic filling machine and more on the way.
2019 also looks promising as we are teaming up with partners across the country to bring Bug Soother/Medella Naturals to stores near you. Medella Naturals, our private label partner, has seen much growth in Kroger stores across the country, much expansion to other stores in the Kroger family planned for 2019. Medella Naturals was the #1 selling natural bug repellent by bottles for Kroger. (Look for the green bottle!). Bug Soother will be in many more Walgreens and working with other large retailers nationwide! We’re also partnering with Bug Shield out of Georgia, as we broaden our reach and keep those pesky bugs away, along the east coast and especially in southern states.
Persistent Willie Petrie of Bug Soother UK is still heading up our European manufacturing and sales, has seen great growth in many Scandinavian countries, working on an account with Holland and Barrett, a chain of health food shops with over 1,300 stores in 16 countries, including a substantial presence in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, China, Hong Kong, India and UAE for 2019. We are also working with others to expand Bug Soother to Costa Rica, Mexico and Taiwan, and are currently seeing growth in Columbia, Panama, and Grand Cayman under the Medella brand.
2019 also promises to bring a BIG announcement. But, it’s not 2019 yet, so stay tuned for some exciting news, coming SOON! 😉 (We Promise!)
From our family to yours, We wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!
Bug Soother Owner and CEO