ST. ALBANS –– Chasworth Farm is a downtown retail store, stocked and influenced by products from the owners’ farm.
The store and studio is on North Main Street, in downtown St. Albans, and it’s hard to miss, thanks to Lucille, the mannequin in the bubble bath who graces the large window at the Chasworth Farm store.
The studio/store is where Marcia Hagwood, of Georgia, handcrafts and sells the yarn and artisan soaps that are directly from the animals that she and her husband, Grey, raise on their Polly Hubbard Road Farm, in Georgia. The Farm Soap is made from egg yolks (from their chickens), beeswax, honey, and lanolin.
Another product made from local ingredients is the Vermont Sunflower Oil Soap, which contains sunflower oil from Borderview Farm, in Alburgh.
Marcia also sells her pottery at the Chasworth Farm store. She has been a potter for 10 years and learned to make soap while recovering from an injury.
“I love to be constantly learning new things,” she said recently, during a chat at the Chasworth Farm store.
On 6 acres, the Hagwoods have 11 goats, sheep and about 25 laying hens. They moved to Vermont and bought the farm in 2004. They opened the downtown studio and store in March and April of this year, respectively.
Prior to opening their downtown storefront, the Hagwoods spent 2 ½ years packing and selling their products from home.
“Our intent in moving downtown was to gain studio space,” Marcia said. “We were just overflowing at home.”
After they earned their first wholesale account, business started growing. Outside the store, Chasworth Farm has wholesale, retail and private label accounts, and vends at the Burlington Farmers’ Market. The Hagwoods handle distribution themselves.
“I think our products are unique, compared to what is out there on the market,” Marcia said.
Marcia said that she and Grey strive to strike the balance between being resourceful enough to handle large orders, while still providing personal attention to their smaller clients.
“I enjoy the relationships that we have with them,” Marcia said.
The Hagwoods lived in Virginia before moving to Vermont. Grey is a retired test pilot with the U.S. Marines. Marcia, who has a diverse work history, always wanted chickens and goats, and they intentionally bought the Georgia farm, because it was commutable to Burlington, where Grey was working at the time.
Last January, the Hagwoods launched a Chasworth Farm Web site that features an online Web store and shopping platform – a worthwhile investment, Marcia said. An online store gives a business instant credibility, streamlines the wholesale buying process – because buyers can search the online store – and helps make connections and sales worldwide, Marcia said.
“I wanted it to be easier for the customer,” she said.
Chasworth Farm also carries a full line of skin, hair and shaving products.