Who knew that a wine fueled conversation about a hypothetical zombie apocalypse would lead me to create Canard Labs. The year: 2012. The wine: something red, I can’t remember. The new baby: asleep in his crib. There we were: Clay, Me (Tanya), Sean (brother-in-law) and his wife Alisa chatting about a post-apocalyptic zombie world. Sean cast all of us into roles, except me.
“Well I mean what are you gonna do? Entertain zombies to their deaths?” Sean says obnoxiously. A dig at my musical theater degree, no mention of my psychology degree... that when combined, made me an excellent bartender. Who wouldn’t need a drink in this hypothetical zombie filled world? Needless to say, I was irritated to be cast in the role of instant zombie TV dinner so easily.
Two weeks later: Seething with anger towards Sean, I re-told this story to our next guest, Craig (another brother-in-law, yeah there’s a whole gaggle of Rasley boys). Craig in his wise + infinite wisdom said, “You know, in that kind of dystopian future the only true currency would be soap. It’ll help stave off disease. Whoever controls the soap, controls the world.”
Hmm... good point Craig. Also... way to ignore my anger and bring up a perfectly valid point that had zero to do with what I was talking about. This mention of controlling the world with soap though, that stuck with me. So much so, that I became slightly obsessed with learning how to make it.
Thanks to YouTube Videos + Google I taught myself how to make soap. The first batch that I ever made, was our still very popular: Oatmeal Soap with Goat Milk + Oatmeal scented with Orange + Clove Essential Oils. it was a 5 pound batch, Because I don’t do things on a small scale. Clay encouraged me to list it on Etsy and the rest as they say, is history.
Not really, there’s still a lot of story left. I’ll be quick though.... Etsy led to Farmers Markets. A move across the country from Tennessee to Oregon brought us back to Coos Bay and to our local Farmers Market. Which was awesome and constantly filled with people eager to have access to my smelly creations at all times.
This need led to the opening of our storefront in October 2015. Clay was still cheffing away at his full-time Chef de Cuisine job while Liam and I (Mostly me, Liam was only 4. Child labor laws. What are you going to do?) ran the shop. Big fast-forward, a shop move from North Bend, Oregon to Coos Bay, Oregon (literally 10 minutes away from the original location), lots of wholesale accounts, a Jordan, followed by an Amy (our first employees/ family/ people we love and cherish), followed by the opening of our second storefront location in Florence, Oregon.
The good with the Florence Storefront: it was the catalyst that led to Clay quitting his Chef career after 20+ years.
The bad with the Florence Storefront: HUGE money suck, BIGGER time suck, TERRIBLE location by a mere half block.
Super long story short, we shut that money-munching monster down in 6 months. Luckily the Coos Bay Shop + Wholesale were such popular gals that Clay still works with me full-time. No need to go back to cheffing. (Knock all the wood). Without the failure (Or “opportunity for learning” if you’re feeling positively positive) of our Florence Store, Clay would’ve never left his job and we wouldn’t have grown to where we are now.
Now, we run our 2400 sq ft storefront in Downtown Coos Bay, Oregon where we make and sell our products. You can find us in over 100 shops across the country, in our storefront and right here on this little ole website. We’re joined by our new favorite employees/ family/ friends Lexxi + Kass who help us keep up with all that is Canard Labs. (Liam still isn’t slinging soap yet but he will be one day!).
If you’ve gotten this far, and you’ve ever purchased our products (and fingers crossed...loved them) thank Sean for being a turd and Craig for being a super nerd. Without them, Canard Labs probably wouldn’t be here today.
Oh yeah, and zombies! Let’s not forget the zombies. They helped too.