COLUMBUS JUNCTION — When Freda Sojka founded her business in 2003, she never would have expected it to be as successful as it’s become.
“We kind had a fairy tale beginning, but that doesn’t happen often,” Sojka said.
Sojka, now 66, founded Simply Soothing, a natural product manufacturer in Columbus Junction. With the help of the company’s most popular product — Bug Soother, a bug repellent developed by Sojka — the company has made about $5.5 million in sales over the past four years, Sojka said.
COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — Freda Sojka looked around at her unfortunate position during the Flood of 2008. She lived at the confluence of two rivers that were both bursting out of their banks — the Iowa and the Cedar and where they meet near Columbus Junction.
“I wanted to make a bug repellant for a grandson, my 5-month-old grandson, that didn’t have DEET in it,” said Sojka, who worked at Monsanto during that time. “I researched a few ingredients, threw it together and we used it. They were measuring for the flood water on the Cedar and my sister had flooding. So I loaned her a bottle to try and it worked.”
Sometimes the best ideas get shelved before they dominate store shelves. That is what happened with Sojka’s idea for Bug Soother, from her Simply Soothing operation in town.
Watch WQAD 8’s video about Bug Soother:
Craig of KIIK 104.9’s ‘The Morning KIIK Start’ fame writes about his experience with Bug Soother.
An important message from Scott Turnage