Katy Miller never intended to go into the soap business. But her mother-in-law’s sugar scrub recipe changed all her plans. It’s a future her teenage self never would have envisioned.
“I would love to see my 16-year-old face if someone would say, ‘Hey little girl, not only are you going to move back to the Quad Cities one day, but you’re going to make soap with your mom, and this whole thing will have been your idea.’ No way. This is a case of mistaken identity. Not me. I am moving away forever. Family business? No, thank you.”
But that’s exactly what she’s doing. Today Katy is the owner of Lillie & Pine, a natural skin care business based out of Moline, Illinois. Lillie & Pine refers to the streets Katy called home growing up in Davenport. When the business started, she worked out of her basement. Now she creates, packages and ships orders out of her space in the Spotlight Theater and Event Center in downtown Moline. Katy’s mother Kathy recently joined the business as a full-time partner.
I invited them on the podcast this week after meeting Katy in her shop back in August. Lillie & Pine generously participated in a fundraiser I helped organize through The Market benefitting Dress for Success Quad Cities. Her shop smells like a dream, but what really attracts you to her is her radiant smile. That day I bought her “Bath Bomb in a Jar” in a soothing marigold and lemon scent. She actually mixed it up special for me and delivered it to the newsroom. My 3-year-old Abram loves to help me scoop the light yellow powder into his bath water using the little wooden scooper. I love how fresh and clean it smells. My other favorite is the Body Balm. I keep it at my desk, and I’m instantly rejuvenated when I roll it on.
Katy and Kathy walked into the podcast studio looking and smelling like they just stepped out of an ad for a laundry detergent. They won me over with their positive energy. They often looked to one another to make sure each could share their part in the stories they told. I learned that Katy is a mentor for women in the Scott County Jail, in addition to being a wife, mom and business owner. I watched Kathy’s eyes beam with pride as Katy talked about her “triplets” – running 2 businesses and a baby that came all in the same year. Mother-daughter relationships can be challenging, and I sensed that their journey together hasn’t always been smooth. But I admire the way they acknowledged they’ve both had to work hard to keep their partnership successful.
“We have this relationship now where we can call each other out and still sleep at night,” Katy explained.