Ever wondered what scent a horse likes to wear? Or questioned the sad-looking kibble in your kitten’s bowl? Then prepare to be genuinely inspired. Sarah Griffiths of Equus Soap Co. sat down with us to share her story.
Sarah’s is a life that seems to have always centred around animals, from training wolves to working in a homeopathy clinic for animals. But it wasn’t until she discovered her horse had health issues that Sarah began to make her products.
We look forward to seeing Equus Soap grow over the coming years and suggest you all indulge in a bar of gorgeous soap or some natural shampoo for the pets in your life. You can check Sarah’s work out on Instagram or visit her website by clicking here.
Without further ado, why not grab a cup of tea and find out how a labour of love turned into a fully-fledged business.
How did your childhood inspire your business?
I grew up in White Rock, Vancouver. Mom was an outdoor enthusiast and always encouraged me to be outside. We were always taking trips to the beach and going on nature walks.
Animals were always a passion of mine. Dad wasn’t big on them in the house, but I used to “borrow” the neighbour’s pets, so he eventually relented and bought me a cat. I was also obsessed with horses and got excited by seeing them in the fields. My first time riding a horse was at six years old, and I’ve never looked back since.
Now, I live on a farm, with my horse and my dog. Equus is centred around creating the holistic products that I wish existed for my animals.
Have you worked with animals in a professional capacity before?
Of course, when I was younger, I volunteered on film sets because I found out they needed people who wanted to work closely with animals. I spent five years training cats, dogs, and wolves for the camera.
Oh, that’s fascinating, how do you train a wolf?
We would get them to imprint on us as cubs. When they’re very young, they are easy to train, and if you give them the food and positively reinforce any good behaviours, then they are easy to manage. Out of five or six wolves, only two might be the right temperament for all the lights and cameras, so the others are kept as companions off set.
Once you finished training wolves, what happened next?
I decided to head to school and studied for 4 years at the Vancouver Homeopathic Academy to receive my diploma in classical homeopathy while I worked there. I also worked in a holistic veterinary clinic. My boss, Julie Anne Lee, DCH, was a homeopathic practitioner for animals and a real trailblazer for me, and I stayed there for five years, soaking it all up. She runs a supplement line now and gives lectures. Her practice is a significant loss to the animals in the area.
Isn’t homeopathy usually a term associated with humans?
It is! I’ve been using “human” health practices on animals for over 20 years. If you think about it, animals happily ate a “raw” diet for thousands of years before dry food was introduced. Humans are great at taking care of ourselves and know we feel better when we eat fresh food and avoid processed food.
It doesn’t make any sense to me. If a zookeeper fed a cougar kibble, they would lose their zoo licence. So why is it okay to feed our pet’s processed food? If we look at how pet health is suffering, we can see the impact of all this food — allergies, chronic diseases, diabetes, cancer, obesity and autoimmune diseases are more common than ever. When taking care of animals, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves, how many chemicals are we putting in their bodies? And what’s the best way to help them lead long and healthy lives.
Is that how your business came about?
Pretty much, I wanted to make products that worked for me, my horse and my dog. It started as a fundraiser and grew beyond my wildest imaginings. I hadn’t realized so many people were as passionate as me about finding healthy alternatives for their animals.
My horse was my main inspiration because he only has one functioning kidney. The day I found that out I realized I needed to take his health seriously and reduce the toxins going into his body. I wanted to cut out processed food and put less crap on his skin and body.
I started looking for holistic alternatives and was appalled to find it was hard to find products that were exactly what I wanted. Either the consistency or the quality wasn’t quite right. In the end, It was a no brainer to start making my horse fly spray, shampoos, and conditioners. My guiding rule was that I wouldn’t give my horse anything I couldn’t taste or use myself! I only use therapeutic grade essential oils!
Have you tasted the unprocessed horse food?
Yup! It’s not for me, but it tasted like grass and dirt, so I am happy knowing that it’s organic and formulated with the right supplements and vitamins for my horse without any of the usual additives.
If you could only recommend one of your products, what would it be?
My equine field spray, I use it on hot days to protect my horse from flies and bugs in the field. It took two or three recipes before I managed to figure out the perfect combination, and now I can spray my horse and keep him happy in the field all day long. It’s a complete game-changer for my customers and me. I know one girl who was getting ill from constant exposure to the harsher chemical bug sprays that are more common. She switched over and swears it’s not just good for her horse’s health but her own.
Your products are very sustainable, is that important to you?
Yes, I try to keep my products sustainable. A a lot of the herbs used are grown in my garden. Being self-sufficient is a big part of my life. Even outside my business, I look for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I worry about chemicals all the time and try to grow my food and herbs without spraying anything that will harm important wildlife like the bees. It’s important to me that my farm is a place where natural life can thrive.
As a Langley resident, can you tell us why you choose to live and work here?
I’m so grateful for where I live because it’s a haven for horse lovers. Langley is one of the horse capitals of Canada, and I’m a proud member of that community.
I may not be a wealthy person, but I have a lot of friends and family in the area, and I feel like living here gives me the chance to focus on what truly matters in life.
Any advice for those just getting started with small business dreams?
Whatever it is you want to do, go for it! Don’t waste time worrying about what others think or counting what others have. Everyone has their place in this world. Follow your passion and interests.
I know I’m lucky to support myself as living in the lower mainland can be expensive, but I think there’s more opportunity than ever to do what you want. Work from home, tap into the power of the internet and put yourself out there. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try.
My life in Langley might seem simple to some, but that’s how I like it. I’ve work-life balance, and I do what I love. Even when I am working on the farm, I’m just thankful that I have all this time to myself, it brings me peace.
Sarah is the creator of Equus Soap Co., a feline and canine nutritionist, a classical homeopath, and a passionate animal lover. Her unique and deeply caring holistic approach to animal care focuses on providing safe, non-toxic grooming options for animals and people. She’s a strong believer that less is more when it comes to our ever-increasingly toxic environment. Visit her website here, or check out her instagram here.