Eileen and James Ray, the husband-wife team behind Little Seed Farm, craft humanely produced soap and skincare products. Taking sustainability to heart, the Rays plant seeds that unfold into healing herbs and pastures. They use recyclable and reusable packaging materials, solar panels that generate electricity and maintain a grass-fed goat herd.
In 2012, the Rays moved from New York City to Wilson County, Tennessee. Prior to moving, Eileen worked in fashion and James worked in finance. “We had different aspects of our lives outside of work dedicated to sourcing local food and supporting local farms and it was just something that really resonated,” James Ray says. “We started thinking about marriage and what that would be like and kids and what that would be like, and just realized that doing that in New York City, and pursuing our current careers, was not something that either of us really wanted.”
The Rays lacked prior farming experience, so they traveled the country and researched various agricultural practices to help narrow their focus. “I kind of like not having known anything,” Ray says, “because then you can kind of do whatever you think is right.” When it came time to search for land, the Rays were looking for a combination of the right amount of space and an adequate amount of rainfall with a property near a major market to sell their goods. Little Seed Farm, located a short distance outside of Nashville, boasts 84 acres, 50 goats, a flock of laying hens, Guinea hens, one duck and five dogs. “So originally, we were going to do cheese,” Ray adds, “and then over time, that kind of evolved into using the milk for soaps and beauty care products.”
All Little Seed Farm products are made from start to finish on the farm. The ten-person team makes, on average, between 1,500 and 2,000 bars of soap per week. “Kroger stores sell the soap, and bar soap has been a very popular local item and gifting item,” Ray says. “But nationally, and as a business, our most popular product and what we’re most known for, is our deodorant cream.”
Little Seed Farm’s natural deodorant is comprised of coconut oil, arrowroot powder, magnesium, jojoba oil, bee’s wax and essential oils. “It avoids all of the things that conventional deodorants use,” Ray says. “Baking soda is the most common deodorizing ingredient in natural deodorants, but baking soda is also very irritating to many people’s skin. By using magnesium instead, we are kind of the best of both worlds.” Little Seed Farm deodorant is applied like lotion. Free samples can be ordered online.
Little Seed Farm’s product line also includes body oils, scrubs, serum, hand balm, herbal lip salves, beard oil and more. Their cleverly packaged green gift sets are crowd favorites. Special holiday offerings, including for Valentine’s Day, pop-up annually.