In honor of Women’s History Month, we are excited to feature Theresa Hein, an outstanding example of entrepreneurship and passion here in our own Wenatchee Valley. We spoke to her about her inspiration behind her handmade and sustainable home and self-care company, The Old White House. Since creating the business in 2010, Theresa has learned an extraordinary amount about what it takes to be successful as a woman in business and has shared her story with us.

 What inspired you to start the Old White House?

 “I have always had a strong connection to the Earth. In 2009, my oldest son was studying environmental science, and knowing that his Earth-loving mom would be interested in everything he was learning, we had long conversations about what he was learning, which led me to start swapping out chemical laden products around our home for green products.  Natural laundry soap was not easy to find, so I did my research and went through a few trial runs before making the laundry soap that I then started selling by the scoop in 2010. My Natural Lavender Laundry Soap, along with four other home care goods started this maker's journey.”

 What's your connection to Wenatchee?

 “I am originally from a small town in Michigan and moved to the Seattle area in 2017.  I missed the quality of life that living in a smaller community brings, and was beginning a new chapter in my life, so my son and daughter-in-law who lived here in Wenatchee suggested that my youngest and I move here.  It’s always been a dream of mine to live in the mountains and near water.  Once here, I joined the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market where you can find me most Saturdays.  Moving to Wenatchee has been one of my best decisions ever!”

 How do you hope to make a change or impact in your community through your business?  

 “As one of the “senior” makers at most of the markets I attend, I hope to always encourage other creatives who want to start selling their products and offer some of the lessons that I have learned over the 14 years of attending markets, as well as selling my goods wholesale.  My hope as a small woman-owned business is that selling products that are safe for us and the planet will help persuade others to read labels, search out sustainable locally made goods, and support local makers.”

 Tell me about your creative process when producing your products. How do you come up with new and innovative products?

 “After quite a few years of making home care products, I decided to add self-care products to my line of goods, so I started making Lavender Eye Pillows. While selling them at Pike Place Market in Seattle, customers asked if I could make them bigger, as a heat pack for their neck and shoulders…. hence the Lavender Comfort Wraps were born, which are now my best sellers.  

 Often new products come from a way I aim to add value to our life, along with requests from my customers.  I have always collected fabric,it inspires me so much.  I’m pretty basic in my personal style, but I love creating with a variety of patterns. Some way out of my comfort zone, but this allows me to make something for everyone.”

 What's next for the Old White House?

 “I am currently preparing for summer markets, adding to my wholesale client base, and I’m always thinking of something new to add to my line of products. I recently added reusable washable covers for the Comfort Wraps, due to many requests over the years.”

 Any advice for other women hoping to start their own business?

 “Take that idea that keeps you up at night and run with it! As a woman who was a stay-at-home mom, only working jobs that allowed me to be home as much as possible and being able to run a business out of my home has been the best experience ever. I didn’t begin my business until most of my five kids were grown and on their own, but the positive impact that it has had on not just my life, but theirs as well, has been worth all the long hours, and ups and downs that owning your own business can bring. 

 This business not only brought another income to our home, but my kids grew up helping out at home, making products, running markets, and thinking outside the box in terms of what they can do with their lives. Almost all of them are entrepreneurs, and absolutely all are incredibly creative. My own belief in myself and what I bring to the world grew by leaps and bounds when I started taking my creations to markets, which is maybe the best thing to come from all of this.”

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