My shopping cart
Your cart is currently empty.Continue Shopping
It may come as no great surprise that we’re crazy about small business. For every big conglomerate, there are a dozen little shops and countless creators making or doing cool stuff. One of our favorite small makers, Hudson Made, dual-wields these qualities, making handy and useful products in an entirely radical way.
You’ve likely seen the name among our shelves attached to some of the finest smelling and performing soaps in the shoppe since the very beginning of Beardsgaard - in fact, this shop was one of the first retailers to link up with Hudson Made when both burgeoning businesses were new to the cool kids’ lunch table.
Hudson Made is a bath and body goods company based out in New York state. A small operation with a big mission, Hudson Made does their best to make sustainable and naturally conscious products, sourcing a selection of their plant- and flower-based ingredients locally and organically whenever possible. They're a unique brand in the grooming world for a lot of reasons, but Hudson Made’s commitment to continually searching for better ways to do their thing that makes us admire them so much.
We sat down for a digital interview with Hudson Made founder and creative director Bill Hovard, a bonafide Green Knight and a good friend of the Gaard. A transplant to the land of the Catskills from the sunny western shores, Bill made his way into the world of fine soapery after a long career as a marketing and branding expert.
Bill helped develop and get the word out on a whole flock of brands, but after a decade of career success, he became a little disenchanted with the assembly-line world of corporate branding. “I just got very discouraged by not having a connection to the product, not knowing where the products were coming from,” Bill said. “I wanted a product that spoke to me personally that I also had a connection with.”
Bill wanted more out of the brands he was working for. It wasn’t enough for things to exist - the products he wanted to work with needed to be cool. Bill wanted sustainable products made by people focused on doing a greater good. Realizing this was a hard ask in a corporate centered world, Bill began formulating his solo dive into the product world. He found inspiration among his bouquet of clients.
A constant draw for Bill was a German bath-and-body company called Weleda. Weleda was the kind of company that Bill wanted to see in the world: a brand with human-centric values, Earth kinship philosophies, and a pledge to sustainability. “I was really drawn to [Weleda] as a business and their ethics,” Bill said, “It was a real inspiration point to see how business could be done in a good way.”
The philosophies of Weleda opened Bill’s eyes to what good business could be. When it came time to decide what Bill would build his business out of, it was a no-brainer. After working with so many bath and shower brands, Bill had suds on the brain. “Soap is one of those items that everybody needs,” he said of his soapy ambitions.
In 2012, Bill officially launched Hudson Made. The very first product launched through the Hudson Made brand happens to be our personal favorite: Worker’s Soap. A powerful pumice soap with a deep and earthy scent designed with workers in mind, this soap can scrub darn near anything right off you. Bill found that product-consumer connection he was hoping for, a handcrafted soap made with organic and sustainably sourced ingredients whenever possible. It’s no wonder that this lathery legend took off.
The Hudson Made inventory has grown a lot since then, expanding to beautifully scented body washes and beard-friendly washery. With expansion in mind, Bill wanted to find green solutions to ingredient sourcing. He started by experimenting with growing ingredients out of his own garden, but soon found himself looking outwards to nearby growers for help as demand increased.
One of his first partnerships was with a cool farming group called Star Route Farm, located in the upper Catskills, whose location and philosophies both trend closely to Bill’s own. It’s important to Bill that he gets his supplies nearby. “Local” and “sustainable” go hand in hand. “It’s always better to keep it local,” Bill said, “The money and resources go back to your community, and that’s better for everyone.”
Community is a big part of the Hudson Made experience. Bill encourages a healthy work culture within the company, and makes a point to treat his suppliers and partners fairly and kindly. Hudson Made also establishes itself as a community pillar by donating soap to hospital workers on the frontline of Covid response. These kinds of community-centered policies are also a part of Hudson Made’s sustainability pledge. “Sustainability isn’t just your carbon footprint,” Bill said, “sustainability is also how you treat your employees, how you treat your manufacturers - it’s full transparency.”
Sustainable products are not just better for the environment and community, but for the products as well. Bill noticed a drastic increase to the quality of the product when he began growing and harvesting materials locally. “I couldn’t buy [this] quality on the market,” he said, “the only way to do it is to grow it.”
Bill is the first to admit that there’s more work to do. At present, not every single product in his brand is fully organic and locally sourced. There’s only so much material Bill can grow, even with the help of his farmer neighbors, and there’s only so much local manufacturing to rely on. Sustainability is a constant quest to do better - you find lots of ways to make differences in the world, you make good changes when you can, and you just try your best.
As a true champion of responsible Earth consciousness, Bill is always researching alternatives to do a little better, right down to 100% post-consumer plastics and compostable paper packaging. “We do what we can,” he says of his progress, “You’ve got to start somewhere.”
There’s a lot going on for Hudson Made these days. Bill just found the perfect building for a brick and mortar store. Soon, this once neglected building with a ton of history will become the new Hudson Made headquarters (sound familiar?).
You can follow the Hudson Made adventures on their website, Instagram and Facebook, and you can find our favorite selection of their goods on our shelves to explore in person, or on our webshoppe to shop around the world.