COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa – (CBS 2/FOX 28) –
Remember how bad the gnats were this summer? Well, so do the owners of Simply Soothing, the makers of an all-natural bug spray Created in the Corridor.
“There are only a handful of people-and it’s family members-that know how to make it,” says Freda Sojka as she discusses the secret recipe for Bug Soother, a product she created five years ago and produces at the family’s small facility in Columbus Junction. It was selling okay…until sales exploded at the end of May.”We had no idea to project what happened this year,” says an astonished Sojka. “We blew through last year’s inventory in 6 days.”
Freda’s daughter remembers being alone in the shop when the orders started pouring in the day after Memorial Day.”They were gone, they were on vacation and that’s when it hit and it didn’t stop until a couple weeks ago,” recalls Nikki Salek who has been with her mother’s company since the beginning. As a result, retailers struggled to keep Bug Soother in stock. Freda’s staff had enough of the liquid but they couldn’t secure enough bottles fast enough to put it in.
Bug Soother is an all natural bug spray and is safe for children. But it’s also being used on animals from dogs and cows, to horses and more. Explains Sojka, “Chicken will attack each other because of the blood drawn from the gnats and then they kill each other so we started selling it to people and they’re putting it on their chickens.”
Freda Sojka likes to call herself a “second wind entrepreneur” – she started Simply Soothing after retiring with creams and bath products. But now 90% of her business is insect repellant. She’s on track to gross about a million dollars this year… mostly due to an all natural bug lotion. “We’ve had people when they find out we make it they’ll hug us, total strangers. We go out somewhere and we’ve kinda become little mini-celebrities,” laughs Sojka.
Bug Soother is sold all over the country and Freda is talking with a potential distributor for the United Kingdom. You can get Bug Soother at any Ace Hardware, Casey’s, Hy-vee, Fareway and at the company’s website… Read more →