From Where I Stand: Newport

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as told to Anna Bird | photos by Renascent Photography


I always wanted to live where the mountains met the sea. It’s picturesque here, and I love the local vibe, but if I could change one thing about Newport, I would crank up the dial on the temperature a little bit. Six years ago, my husband, two daughters and I moved to Lincoln County from Arizona.

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When we were still in Arizona, I started making soaps for my oldest daughter, who was having skin problems at the time. When you make one bar of soap, you might as well make fifty, and I suddenly had more soap on my hands than I would ever use in my lifetime. I had been looking for a homebased job so that I could stay home with my girls, so I started selling my soaps at a farmers’ market in the teeny tiny Arizona town. That transformed into Calise Soapworks and Such (named after my daughters, Camille and Elise).

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The Newport farmers’ market is one of the oldest in Oregon, and when we moved here, I found a natural community among the other vendors. Along with selling my own products there, I try to get all my veggies and most of my meats there. I would argue that the Newport farmers’ market has the best apples and hazelnuts in the world.

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In addition to 7- and 8-year-old daughters, I now have a son who’s almost 2, and I’m 40, so they keep me busy. When I do have free time, I like trail running down by Cape Perpetua or drawing and painting. I’m an artist at heart, which is why I like to create designs in my soaps, so they’re not just good for you—they’re also nice to look at.

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As a 4-year-old, Camille inadvertently created my logo for Calise Soapworks. It’s three crabs—a mama and her two daughters, all with eyelashes—and when I saw it, I thought it was the perfect logo. I have turned more of their drawings into greeting cards that are sold at my stand. I want to foster an independent, small business spirit in them and teach them that anything they want to do, they can do—no matter the size of the town in which they decide to live.

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