Walking through the door of All Walks Trading Co. in downtown Sioux Falls, 605 multimedia designer Jordan Cushman and I were enveloped in a blanket of lemongrass, lavender, and more calming scents.
“Being Native American and having things like wild medicinals growing on our farm, I just knew I needed to make that accessible to our community here,” said owner Miranda Koltze. “The store has been buzzing.”
From the display of crystals, blankets, and beaded jewelry, to shelves upon shelves of soaps, candles, and herbal wholesale, artisanal items from local businesses and products of her own making fill the shop.
Miranda gets help with the business from her young daughters, Bridget and Claudia, and from her new employee. Her husband, Alex, also plays a role.
“We started out as local food producers with veggies and things like that,” she explained. “As time went on, we started raising animals.”
As their farm stock grew, Miranda says she wanted to find a way to utilize everything she could.
“It was just a necessity to use every part of the animal and give honor to that animal for feeding and taking care of us,” she explained.
With that in mind, she discovered a passion for making bath and body products and founded Sweetgrass Soapery.
“Farmers’ market has been crazy this year. At the farmers’ market, I probably move 200 bars of soap a week.” –Miranda Koltze
“There’s so much you can do, especially natural and herbal based,” said Miranda. “We’ve got solid lotion sticks, we do balms, healing salves, shave soaps, deodorants, and shampoos and conditioners.”
For the last 10 years, Miranda has been making her own soaps. And for seven years, she’s been selling her products at the Falls Park Farmers’ Market.
Some of her soaps include bars like Smoke Signals, Willow Woman, Mocha Mint, and Lavender Lemon w/ Poppy Seed.
In March of 2021, Miranda retired from being a tattoo artist after 16 years and opened All Walks Trading Co. to sell her own products and those of many other local artisans. Opening day brought about 250 different customers.
“It’s been really neat to get to know the community through this place and to foster an appreciation for the artists and the makers who have been doing this work and didn’t have an outlet for it previously,” she said.
Miranda and her daughters welcomed Jordan and I, walking us through how she creates her bath salt soaks.
“We do a ton of baths at our house, my husband and I especially. Anytime we’re feeling a little off or sick or having a bad day, my husband runs a bath.”
We started with a base of epsom salt and pink himalayan salt. Then we each got to choose from a vibrant array of herbs to mix in, including calendula flower, rose pedals, hops flower, hibiscus flower, and lavender flower.
Because the Koltzes value creating a sustainable business and enduring through time, they grow many of their own herbs, including those that are sacred to indigeonous cultures like cedar, juniper, and mullein.
“You’re going to treat it like a tea,” explained Miranda. “They all have really great properties for skin and great properties for tea.”
I opted for all but the sleep-inducing hops flower, wanting lavender for relaxation, hibiscus for the fun pink colors, calendula for skin wellness, and roses for some self-love.
“Who doesn’t want roses in their bathtub? I love roses, and they hold a lot of the same properties as lavender: soothing, calming, and metaphysically will promote self-love and healing,” said Miranda.
Jordan, on the other hand, went for them all. When I asked, he was adamant in his excitement to use his bath salt soak. I guess his girlfriend is out of luck. Sorry, Whitney.
We then were able to choose between buttermilk and coconut milk for either the soothing nature or the yummy scent, respectively.
“We do cater more toward the native community because we’re the only place you can find medicinal herbs that we need, like sage and sweetgrass done in a clean way and produced locally.” -Miranda Koltze
Knowing the skin soothing benefits of oat baths because of my hedgehog Pepper’s dry skin, I also added oats for good measure. Jordan followed suit.
Miranda gave each of us a small canvas bag to fill, cinch, and hook around the faucet to steep our bath soaks into the water.
It’s safe to say that the end of my work week will be a relaxing one.