Tawnya Walsh.

Tawnya Walsh.

Tawnya Walsh: Coming clean

Chilliwack's Tawnya Walsh, 38, as featured in The Chilliwack Progress Forty Under 40.

When Tawnya Walsh kicked off her small soap-making venture, she never imagined it would change the face of Chilliwack.

The 38-year-old first started making all-natural, chemical-free soaps for her son who readily developed eczema at the first touch of mass-produced, grocery store soaps.

Soon, she realized she had a business in the making.

“I had never heard about handmade soap, but because my son had a lot of eczema and dry skin problems, I started doing research on the soaps we were using,” said Walsh. “Most commercial soaps are not even called soaps because of the chemicals they use to colour and scent them. I wanted to take that out.”

The owner of Rustic Soap Co. in Greendale wanted to be more than just a business owner, she wanted to be a community promoter.

Twelve years in, that’s exactly what she’s become.

When Walsh was invited to participate in Chilliwack’s inaugural Christmas Craft Crawl 10 years ago, she didn’t think twice. The crawl was an event showcasing an assortment of small, women-based businesses in Chilliwack.

“The big thing was women promoting women in business,” she said. “Women are so competitive, and it was just nice to be encouraging each other and looking out for each other instead of being so catty towards one another.”

When the original organizers moved on six years ago, Walsh, and Holly McKeen of Greendale Pottery took over. Now in its 10th year, the three-day crawl regularly brings in upwards of 600 attendees from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Langley, Coquitlam, even as far out as North Vancouver – many of who are repeat visitors pushing dollars into the community.

“We love highlighting new businesses and new artists in the area,” said Walsh.

“That’s what the crawl’s about, keeping people connected with their community, with other businesses, bringing them new customers, and getting the word out.”

Walsh is also a founder of the Greendale Sampler, which highlights where food comes from, and where locally made, one-of-a-kind products can be purchased.

“We’re trying to educate people on what goes into naturally raised beef, chicken, cheese, milk,” said Walsh. “I think we’re far too removed from the end product nowadays. Knowledge is power. Hopefully this would make people question the products they use.”


Just Posted

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Most Read