About Vermont Cowgirl!
It all started with a simple lip balm. An all-natural chocolate lip balm.
What started this whole business was the fact that we couldn’t find an all-natural chocolate lip balm anywhere.
The lip balm that started it
I absolutely LOVE chocolate but nobody was making chocolate lip balms at the time that didn’t contain some sort of synthetic fragrance … those give me huge & massive headaches, not something I wanted to put onto my lips. So we created our own. We tested, created different recipes and tested some more until we perfected our recipe.
Next came body butters. Then another fridge to store all the products. Pretty soon, we had wholesale accounts with all the major suppliers. The UPS guy started asking why he was carrying 50lb packages on a daily basis. Then came a complete garage conversion so the shop could move out of the mud room. Family & friends were testing products and the feedback was incredible. People loved our all-natural body products.
Then the soap making bug bit me. Bit me really hard. The goal was to create mild, nourishing soaps that looked as good as they smelled and contained only the best oils, butters, herbs, spices, clays and essential oils, never any synthetic ingredients. We put up a little Etsy store and people started ordering. We picked up wholesale accounts by accident and soon realized that we were, indeed, very much in business. Vermont Cowgirl was born, combining our love for our adopted home state and my love for cowgirl boots.
As a Vermont based company, we made it our goal to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible: Vermont Clover Honey, Vermont Maple Syrup, Vermont beeswax, local wildflowers and even freshly fallen snow in our Vermont Cowgirl Soaps. We don't want to take any shortcuts. The same goes for our packaging: our cello bags are 100% recyclable, our bubble wrap is certified eco-friendly and our boxes & wrap are from recycled cardboard. We are also solar powered to keep our footprint as small as possible.
Years went by and we decided to file for a federally registered trademark for "Vermont Cowgirl" in August 2016. That trademark was granted and we thought we were in the clear. We clearly thought wrong. A company named "Cowgirl Cosmetics" who had been dormant for the last 4 years decided that nobody in the entire USA could sell cosmetics that had the term "Cowgirl" in it. We contacted our attorney and learned that being right (which we were) and being found right in a court of law are two entirely different things. Cowgirl Cosmetics filed an appeal to have our trademark cancelled and we received a court schedule that would have tied us up until the fall of 2018 had we decided to fight their appeal. As much as we knew that were were right, as much as we knew that they were just corporate bullies who didn't have a legal leg to stand on, we also knew that they had millions of dollars on their side and could easily drive us into bankruptcy. My initial instinct was to fight this until the bitter end because just for the sake of it and because it just felt so entirely wrong. We were being bullied and there wasn't an awful lot we could do about it. In the end, we decided that it would be best if we focused on the positive (our products), not cling to a name and move forward instead of spending the next 18 months in court. We said "screw it" and rebranded.
As of June 5th, 2017, Vermont Cowgirl is officially North Country Soapworks and we couldn't be more excited. We took the time to completely overhaul our packaging, our logo, our design, our photography and are pretty stoked with the results. The hugest of THANK YOUs to our amazing families, friends, team mates and coworkers who supported us through thick and thin, tested, purchased and cheered us on - you truly are an amazing group of people and we're super grateful to call you friends.
Kat & Damian