Early Life / Education
Sandy was born in Cheyenne Wyoming on May 18, 1957 to an Airforce military family. As a child she also lived in Japan, South Dakota and the Finger Lakes Region of New York. She graduated from Marcus Whitman High School in Rushville, N.Y. in 1974, Finger Lakes Community College in 1976 with an Associate of Arts degree and then went on to Graduate Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Potsdam with a B.A. degree in Sociology. Post college she studied Wilderness Leadership at North Country College in Saranac Lake and became a freelance part time Adirondack Wilderness Guide until 1988. In 2012 Sandy continued her education by taking an in-depth course by Jeanne Rose School of Natural Perfumery in San Francisco.
Sandy began her career in 1979 when she founded Sunfeather Natural Soap Co, Inc. in her backyard by combining her knowledge of fragrant and medicinal herbs and her fascination for soap making. As the business grew and she was able to hire employees and began focusing more on product development, sales and marketing. In 2011 the brand was sold to Nutraceutical Corporation, while Sandy maintained her factory and employees to continue private label soap and candle manufacturing.
Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm
Using her previous skill of perfume blending and new knowledge from The Jeanne Rose School of Natural Perfumer, Sandy founded Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm in August of 2012. She grows medicinal and fragrance plants on an 80 – acre farm that she shares with her husband (and visiting adult children) in the northwest corner of the Adirondack Park. Many of the plants she grows and wildcrafts are utilized in the production of her farm to customer skin and body care products manufactured in her soap and candle factory 5 miles down the road from her farm. Sandy also works with local cedar distillers and trappers to harvest and source unique regional aromatics and scents.
Adirondack Riverside Cabins
In 2018 Sandy renovated an old cabin on the St Regis River on her property and began to welcome guests from spring through fall. Three other cabins were added between 2019 and 2021. Yoga and Forest Emersion (Shinrin Yoku) retreats are hosted each year as well as a new flower arranging retreat slated for July 2022.
In addition to her successful life as an entrepreneur Sandy and her husband Louis raised three children on their farm in the Northern Adirondacks. They also have one grandchild. Over the course of her career, Sandy has authored three soap making books, a business startup book, and a children’s book about Miracle, the White Buffalo.
Sandy’s sharing of knowledge in the 1980s and 90s about her craft helped inspire many entrepreneurial adventures in the realm of soap and cosmetic micro-business as well as the formation of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Makers Guild of which she was a charter member.
Sandy was the founder and Board President of the non-profit Community Supported Business Start-ups, founded in January of 2007 and disbanded in 2012. CSBU was designed to raise money via grants and private donations to help find, fund and offer business related support to startups in rural Northern NY. Sandy also maintained a place as Board Member for The Reh Center for Entrepreneurship at Clarkson University April 2011 – April 2019, which exists to stimulate local economic growth through small business while fostering relationships between local business and Clarkson University Students.