This brilliant blonde is my middle sister (I’m the oldest of three girls, no brothers), and she owns a gift boutique here in Wichita called The Flying Pig. The first question people always ask when I tell them the name of her shop is why she chose it. She has such a good answer, I’m going to let her tell you in her own words.
The Flying Pig was a natural choice for my shop for several reasons. First and foremost, “when Pigs Fly” conveys the idea of always reaching and working towards a goal, however unattainable it may seem, in pursuit of your dreams. I believe that we can all relate to the experience of working hard (pouring our blood, sweat, tears, and most importantly our heart), to get our own “Pig to Fly” in some manner. So the name is personal to me, and it encompasses the feeling of taking on all of the risks, challenges, responsibilities, joys, and rewards that come with having my own business.
Another reason for the name is that it is just a whimsical, fun, classic image. People notice the big Flying Pig sign and are intrigued to find out what’s inside. It’s not easy to forget a name like The Flying Pig!
In 2005, while in still college & working to get her degree in Industrial Engineering, Danielle started making homemade soaps & lip balms at home. She got such positive feedback from friends and family on the quality of her products, and she enjoyed doing it so much, that she started a website to sell them and orders started coming in.
She graduated in 2007, and started working full-time as an industrial engineer for an airplane manufacturer. In her free time, she was making bath & body products in an apartment she rented exclusively for producing & storing them, because she didn’t have enough space for the supplies in her own. She sold her products on consignment in local shops, but had a bigger dream and she didn’t stop in her journey until she had reached it and opened up her own business at the age of twenty-six in 2008, in the heart of the recession.
Despite the floundering economy, in just three years her business has grown to the point where she can support herself with it. Up until a few weeks ago, she was still working for Hawker Beechcraft, but now she is able to devote herself entirely to her true love. The Flying Pig!
Danielle’s soaps are all-natural, made from plant-derived oils and high quality ingredients. Many are vegan as well. Every customer seems to have their own favorite product, and mine are her sugar scrubs and lotions. They smell so good and make my skin super smooth, moisturized, and baby soft. My husband uses her bar soaps exclusively, and his aunt Dorothy raves about them, claiming they’re so moisturizing she doesn’t have to use lotion after her shower. She’s even got her husband hooked.
In addition to the bath & body products, candles, and room sprays that she makes, Danielle sells a wide-array of gift items, many of them handcrafted by local artists who sell on consignment in her shop. Many of the artists have an arrangement with Danielle to work at the shop for free in exchange for her not charging a consignment fee for them to sell their goods there. This allows her to keep the shop open every day of the week without being tied to the register herself. She needs to be able to escape to the back room so she can make the soap, after all!
The place is packed with jewelry, clothing, prints, photographs, antiques, pottery, children’s items, even Amish baked goods, and smoothies are made to order. There is a professional massage therapist with her own room in the back, and gift certificates are available. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a special lady, you’re likely to it Dani’s shop.
Danielle also offers soap classes every Thursday. I sat in on one a few weeks ago and it was so much fun, and not anything like the stiff atmosphere I usually associate with a “class.” Danielle’s teaching style is very relaxed and you feel very at ease with her–all the ladies in attendance never hesitated to ask questions and Danielle had so much information to share.
One of the ladies in attendance had flown in from Detroit just for this class, which she found in an online search. I thought that was pretty neat! Everyone carried out Danielle’s instructions, standing around the messy round table in the back room, putting things into a big bowl, and we all laughed about how much it reminded us of witches making a brew. They all got their own separate bowls of the master batch that they added their preferred scents and colors to before pouring into molds.
For those of you who live outside the Wichita area, you can buy many of Danielle’s products on her website, though she doesn’t have time to keep the site updated with all the new things. Be sure to call or email her if you have a special request because she can makes soaps, etc., to order!
*Update: this giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Rick! What are the odds the only man who entered would win? lol!
Danielle has offered a set of her homemade products for one lucky reader. This bag is filled with 6 bath and body products in “Kumquat Citrus” scent: body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body powder, and massage oil. If you would like the set, leave a comment below about your own what kind of pig you would like to make fly (i.e. your dream), or share what kind of business you would have if you decided to open one.
Giveaway is open until Thursday, 10:00 PM CST. I will draw from the eligible comments using random.org and announce the winner on Friday. Good luck!