This monthly blog from The Maker City features a look at some of the Knoxville area’s outstanding makers – artists, crafters, and custom builders. In the spirit of “April Showers…”, this month’s blog introduces three area makers who excel at bath, scent, and wellness products.
Name: Courtney Lozano
Business: Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary
How did you get started as a tea maker/herbalist?
I studied nutrition in college, and herbalism was an interest alongside nutrition for a long time; it was never really separate. I kept learning on my own, eventually studying formally at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville, graduating in 2019.
What do you make and how?
Loose leaf herbal teas and traditional black and green teas, herbal bath products, and alcohol-free herbal extracts. Once I’m able to scale up to a commercial kitchen I’d like to make syrups and oxymels, which are like a like a tonic based on honey and apple cider vinegar.
Where are your products offered for sale?
My products are offered on my website, Facebook, and Instagram. Different popup markets around town -- most often the Maker’s Market at the Sustainable Future Center, 201 Ogle Avenue.
Chattanooga native Courtney Lozano grew up with a love of reading, academics and music -- she is a former clarinet player and self-described “band geek.” She moved to Knoxville 12 years with her husband, who had relocated for his job. She studied nutrition at Pellissippi State Community College, but left to concentrate on herbalism. After planning and working on her idea for her own company for “about two years,” she launched Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary last November. “I have a common sense approach. I want to show people how truly simple and accessible herbal medicine can be, no matter where they’re coming from. You can do as much or as little as works for you.”
Name: Cara Dempsey
How did you get started as a skin care specialist?
I loved makeup and that’s kind of how I got started; I wanted to do makeup professionally. But once I got into the Douglas J. Aveda Institute, I realized I loved the skin care aspect of it more.
What do you make, and how do you do that?
We make art with the canvas of skin! We focus on acne, changes in the skin and corrective skin care. All our products are focused on giving clients results, and we only use skincare products from companies that we really trust and believe in. All are vegan, cruelty-free, free of fillers.
Originally from Myrtle Beach, S.C., Cara Dempsey grew up loving the cosmetic arts. “I was always in my granny’s bedroom doing makeup and jewelry.” She tried a few semesters of traditional college but it wasn’t for her. Moving to Knoxville four and a half years ago after working in the beauty industry in Charlotte, N.C., she entered the Douglas J. Aveda Institute and received her degree in Aesthetics in May of 2018.
SKINCARA opened in June of 2020, and Cara says the drive to open her own business was formed during the early coronavirus pandemic. “During the shutdown a lot of us were reflecting, thinking about the future. I thought, ‘it’s now or never.’ If it weren’t for that, SKINCARA never would have happened.”
Name: Jen Schappel
Business: KindBody Movement
How did you get started as a wellness professional?
Right after the 2008 recession, I took a position as a caseworker with the Department of Human Services. There were so many people that needed help; I started yoga classes at the Glowing Body to help me deal with the stress. Eventually I completed yoga teacher training and started teaching there. I really liked the part of teaching yoga that was hands-on assisting, and I knew that I wanted to be a massage therapist. By November of 2012 I was licensed by the Tennessee School of Therapeutic Massage. This past January I moved to my own space at 4869 Chambliss Avenue.
What do you do and how?
Mostly my time is spent with massage, and it’s unique --I don’t just use my hands, I use my feet for a super luxurious deep tissue experience. My husband Travis is an editor at Jupiter Entertainment. He and I started a virtual studio where we record mat-based movement class videos. It’s $20/month for unlimited on-demand recorded classes. Some are mellow and relaxing, some deal with alignment, some are “let’s get moving.” Also self-massage classes using therapy balls. I release maybe 2-4 new classes per month. There are free classes on there, and every membership comes with a free 30-day trial.
Where are your products offered for sale?
My services are offered on my website.
Jen Schappel came to Knoxville from her native Cincinnati in order to attend Johnson Bible College, but left before she graduated. She worked in restaurants, meeting her husband Travis along the way, then worked for the Department of Human Services. She began yoga classes and quickly became serious in her pursuit of wellness arts, teaching yoga and offering massage at the Glowing Body for nine years. During that time she and Travis welcomed two daughters, now five and seven. In 2019 she struck out on her own, offering massage at the Knoxville Healing Center in Bearden. She experienced a non-COVID-related health crisis during the first year of the pandemic. “That process of learning what happened to me, and learning that I was gonna have some movement restrictions, was really challenging. That’s where the name ‘KindBody’ came from. Everything going on in the world in 2020 - everything going on with me - obviously the world needs more kindness.”