Kay Brown is one half of Scent of the Sun, Gallatin's own mother-and-son vegan soap company. A Gallatinite for nearly 15 years, Kay is an artist, gardener, hiker, animal lover, amateur beader, and soapmaker. She has also always had an entrepreneurial spirit. It was that spirit that led her to create Scent of the Sun in 2014.
That year, Kay became curious about soapmaking and how to create her own bars while working as a Career Counselor at the Gallatin Career Center. With nothing more than a few YouTube tutorials and a handful of oils and ingredients, Kay made her first bars of soap. Countless soapmaking sessions (and many, many test batches) later, she gradually learned how to refine her recipes, turning plain, brittle test bars into beautifully designed soaps with a nourishing lather. She made her first showing at the Gallatin Farmers' Market that year with a single table and a smattering of hand-wrapped soaps.
Since then, she has worked with her son Rick after his return from grad school to expand Scent of the Sun, and what was once a side business is now her full-time job, with displays at farmers' markets in Gallatin, Hendersonville, and Murfreesboro, as well as numerous craft shows and in-store showings. It's been a wonderful journey, and it's one that continues to teach her new things everyday.
While the company has expanded, Kay's approach to soapmaking has always been the same: as an artistic and personal outlet. A painter and drawer, she tries to bring an artistic touch to every soap she touches. For some bars, like Chai Tea, she has been inspired by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway. For others, like her floral soaps, her inspiration comes largely from her garden and the flowers she works with everyday. She has also worked with her son, a fellow animal (and especially cat) lover, to make soaps with cruelty-free ingredients without animal products.
It's been a learning process all the way, but with the help of friends and fellow vendors in Gallatin as well as so many wonderful customers, Kay continues to expand Scent of the Sun to produce the best vegan soaps, lotions, bath bombs, and accessories possible. There have been setbacks, of course, and 2020 proved especially challenging when Kay had to overcome a double knee replacement before she could return to the business later that year after relearning how to walk, stand long enough to make soap, and (eventually) to be able to return to hiking trails and farmers' market alike. But with two new knees, the help of her son and co-owner, the love of her cat Minnie, and her passion for soapmaking, she has never been more excited to return to the soap vending season as she is now.