Business blossomed when teacher took a chance on protecting skin

Edye Dumhart never envisioned herself as an entrepreneur. Physical education teacher, yes; stay-at-home mom, ditto; business owner, no.

Yet this is where Dumhart, the founder and owner of Edye’s Naturals, finds herself after teaching physical education and then staying home while her now-grown children were young.

After her two children were older, Dumhart, like many stay-at-home moms, wanted to go back to work. Unable to find a full-time teaching position, she became a substitute teacher.

Around that same time, as happens with many men and women of a certain age who had spent too much time in the sun, Dumhart’s skin began showing signs of sun damage, from rosacea to wrinkles.

Dumhart, who lives in Pennington Borough, tried countless numbers of skin care products to mitigate the sun damage, but none of them seemed to work.

That’s when Dumhart literally took matters into her own hands and began to experiment with mixtures of plant oils – from extra virgin olive oil to avocado oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil and carrot seed oil, among others.

Finally, Dumhart found a winning formulation, and Edye’s Naturals was born.

“The first person I gave my concoction to was a friend who had eczema,” Dumhart said.

The mixture contained shea butter and an assortment of organic oils, but no chemicals, water or alcohol.

That concoction, Edye’s Face & Body Butter, cleared up her friend’s skin condition in a couple of days, “and that’s when I realized maybe I could help other people, too,” she said.

Dumhart decided to take a batch of her organic skin care products to the Trenton Farmers Market on Spruce Street in Lawrence Township, and offer it for sale.

“My goal was to make more money than I was making as a substitute teacher,” Dumhart said, adding that she did make more that day than she did as a substitute teacher.

With the success of that initial organic skin product, Edye’s Naturals line of skin care products was launched, in the family’s kitchen, dining room and basement.

“You couldn’t walk through the dining room. The whole house was taken over by the business,” she said.

Edye’s Naturals’ success meant Dumhart had to find a new home for her budding business venture. She found an empty storefront at 152 Altamawr Avenue, Lawrence Township, which is now the home base of Edye’s Naturals.

Dumhart readily admits that starting a business from scratch is “just hard.”

“You have to plan on not paying yourself for a long time. You have to put in a lot of hours, days, nights and weekends. You need to have a lot of patience. It’s perseverance,” she said.

The buyers of her line of natural skin care products are mostly women, although some men have made purchases, too, she said. It’s all about having healthy skin.

“You have to explain why this product is different and better. The best way to explain it is a little tiny drop on the arm (as a sample). It goes a long way,” Dumhart said.

What keeps her going, Dumhart said, is the fact that so many people have been helped by Edye’s Naturals skin care products.

“I find it rewarding. I get reinforcement all day long from people about how it has really helped their skin. That’s what has kept me on my path,” Dumhart said.

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