In 2017 I was honored to be chosen as a Maker’s Mart Finalist at Catalyst University.

Who would have thought!? Hilltop Designs has grown! We are more than just the great little bar of Gardener’s soap that started this all.

Setting goals for yourself is a valuable exercise, whether the goals relate to your job, your family, or your personal well-being. Goals give us benchmarks that we either reach or miss. They help us visualize how far we’ve come and give us the energy to keep pushing ourselves to go farther and try harder. Four years ago when Hilltop Designs was a still brand new venture, I set the ultimate goals: to have 175 consultants by the year 2017; to host and hold a consultant meeting for our team of consultants; and to have our business be steady enough that when our youngest child goes off to kindergarten, I wouldn’t have to go looking for a “real” job. It appears that we are going to achieve ALL of these goals!

It started so simply. I took the old advice of writing down my goals, making plans, and sticking to them. A few bars of soap turned into many different products and exciting new recipes. A few local consultants became a huge team of over 100 bringing our simple, handmade products to people across the country. When we think of the future, we can’t help but feel excited. This journey has been a crazy and wild ride, and we can see so clearly that we as a family and as a company have been blessed over and over by God.

Starting a business from scratch feels much like creating our all-natural From Scratch products. With our products, we figure out how to deliver the best natural ingredients to our customers without unnecessary fillers, additives, or chemicals. In business, you define your core principles and focus on executing them well without getting distracted by outside noise. At Hilltop, we are committed to living up to our mission: “Simple. Natural. Handmade.” These principles guide all of our business decisions, building an authenticity that can only develop when you stay true to your primary values.

The handmade nature of our products is a special point of pride for us. Sometimes it can feel like the “human touch” is disappearing from daily lives. So much of our time is spent online. Our communication is instant, and the satisfaction from a few “likes” is fleeting. Nothing replaces a true connection with another human being! Hilltop products bring the human element back into our lives. Each bar of soap is cut and packaged by hand. Our body butters are expertly whipped to perfection (when they’re in season, of course!). Our consultants want to help you with any skin issue that you’re facing. We value the hard work of every single employee because it would be impossible to spread Hilltop across the country without them.

So here is to another great year! A new year means setting new goals, which we will faithfully write down. We will strive to excel in everything we do and aim to bring you even more amazing products. May you feel as enthusiastic about the future as we do!

Many blessings to come,


From March 2014:

christine-workI “lost” two jobs in 4 months. First time in my life. And really, it wasn’t THAT big of a deal. The first one crushed me. The second one I feel, now looking back, I only cried because of pregnancy hormones. When I left that last day from my job, I called my mom and in the back ground my dad said, “Don’t worry, God’s got something better out there for ya!” To which I’m pretty sure I hung up and rolled my eyes. But he was right.  God did have something better.

I’m a big prayer. BIG. A constant prayer of mine is that what ever I do in life, I live my life in accordance with the Lord’s will. I don’t pray this alone either. My husband and I pray this together. It’s something that over the last five years or so we have leaned on tremendously. It’s what we know has led us to today.

When I lost my opportunity for employment, I began to pray for a new job or some kind of employment or work. With NO idea what that would LOOK like for someone in my pregnant condition and low expectations, I held on to the fact that they said they would call me back by Easter.

As it was, when the time came to accept the job I could not due to complications from my pregnancy. Simply put, I would not have been able to do this new job they offered.

So I continued to pray and I found comfort in the verse Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A little over a year ago I was cleaning out my Willow House office cabinet, and found this old folder. It was a folder I used to hold all my clippings. You know, OLD SCHOOL from-real-paper magazines. 😉 For years I have kept things that inspire me, for crafts, canning, cooking, baking, you name it. I hadn’t used it in a while because I had started to use Pinterest.

As I purged I started to notice a trend in my inspiration file. Pages and Pages of business owners. Small business owners. Some men, some women. Young. Old. Married. Single. Husband and wife businesses, best friend businesses, but all small, local business run by people with passion for their craft. Inspirational.

I had always wanted to run my own business. I had the floor plan in my head and I knew what I items I would sell. I knew the classes I wanted to hold and even the hours I wanted my store to be open. I even had the employees pictured with hot pink hats on their heads.

Feeling all nostalgic and wishful, I picked up two books I had read recently, The Accidental Bee Keeper and The Dirty Life, BOTH of these books are similar in concept, and then it struck me.

NO wonder these people are so successful. Nearly ALL of them have really nothing to lose. Nearly ALL of them had some epiphany while at their job, their job that paid insanely well, that they just “needed” to quit and follow their heart.

Crap. Well, that’s CLEARLY not me.

I still felt like I wanted to try and I REALLY had nothing to lose. Nothing.

I prayed. I talked to my husband about some ideas for me to do for work and about starting a business and being the best husband that he is said, “I don’t care what you do, as long as we don’t lose money!”

Don’t lose money. I can do that. I pinch pennies so hard they are starting to become nickels. Check!

I didn’t leave a six figure job. But it was a job. I traded that in to rely on my talent and passion. I had a loom I bought with my birthday money, and my mom’s sewing machine. I had twenty bucks in my wallet, my husband’s permission, and I started a business at 4.5 months pregnant.

I started with my soap. I began with a simple melt and pour base recipe I had found in an old Martha Stewart Living magazine article I had saved and re-found in that folder. I reintroduced the world to a bar of soap I had made a few years back. I sold every single one of those bars before I bought more supplies. I continued this way: investing most of what I had sold back into my business and selling more. Preparing for my first holiday selling season, I did six craft shows and made more in those six weeks than I did the entire time I worked for that last job that let me go. I was able to do it on my time, around my family, and it felt good.  And man, when our computer crashed, and my car battery died, it was nice to say, “Hilltop helped pay for that!”

Now, one year later I have sold hundreds of bars of soap. Nearly 40 rugs. I’ve expanded to BALMS and quilts and I have an INTERN! Me! Hilltop! Crazy.

Turns out my parents were right. God did have something better. I thank God. All the time. I have NO idea what Hilltop will look like a year from now. I have ideas that are mine, and but they may not be the direction of the Lord. In the mean time. I enjoy his blessings. I bask in his goodness.

Living according and in step with Him,


(Huge thanks to Denise from Life with Four Boys Coffee Please for helping me edit this. Thankful that she is able to see in seconds what I never would )



My Why | Hilltop Designs West Michigan