When IBN formed in 2000, several “Seed Members” were invited to help Donna Maria, our founder, plant the seed and provide expert input and guidance on a regular basis. Our Seed Members committed to a certain level of participation to assist IBN as it ramped up its members services and departments. In exchange, they received complimentary membership. Since 2000, our Seed Members have moved onto other ventures, but we are forever in their debt and stay in touch as much as possible.

We invite you to meet them below, and visit their websites and see what they are up to today!

Vicki Bedell: Cape Cod, MA

When we first met Vicki, a former graphics artist and textile designer, she owned Essential Restoratives. Today, Vicki goes by the name MAHARA, and owns Fresh Made With Love on Cape Cod in Massachusetts where she formulates herbal remedies, essential oils blends, and self-care products such as herbal tinctures, toning sprays, clearnsers, herbal teas and natural perfumes. She also offers natural facials and customized skincare consultations in a lovely apothecary setting on the beautiful peninsula that extends into the Atlantic Ocean.

Visit Fresh Made With Love on Instagram.

Click here to order Fresh Made With Love products.

Scott Blackson: Roadtrek

A former freelance photographer, Scott was the CEO of The Soap Fairy Lewes, Delaware, when we met him. He specialized in natural handmade soaps, bath salts, lip balms, aromatherapy products, and lotions and his store was a fun destination location for people from across the nation. Scott taught people from all across America how to make their own soaps and bath and body products. He appeared on talk shows, was a staff writer for the Delmarva Parent magazine, and earned a Master's Degree in Natural Health from The Clayton College in Birmingham, AL. Today, Scott is a licensed massage therapist and lives a nomadic life in his Roadtrek van. He is currently traveling the southwestern United States.

Charlon Bobo, Santa Cruz, CA

When we met her in the late 1990's, Charlon had been making her own bath and bodycare products for many years. She was the organizer of the popular California Soaper's Gathering, an event had become a mainstay of the California handmade soaping community, and she owned The Utopian Garden Soap Company and The Packaging Goddess where she scoured the globe to provide the industry with hard to find packaging materials. Today, Charlon owns Alchemical Book Coaching & Editing where she helps people write and publish their own books.

Ricey Clapp, Silver Spring, MD

When we met Ricey, she was living close to our founder in the Washington, DC, area, where the two of them had been collaborating for years as they learned about all things aromatherapy and natural skincare. (If only there were pictures of them blowing up their kitchens back in the day!) Ricey Clapp has been making her own aromatherapy blends since 1986. She has owned multiple businesses in the industry, including Inner Sanctum Salon & Day Spa which she ran from her Maryland home for years. She has also served as massage therapist and physician assistant at Crossings: A Center for the Healing Traditions in Takoma Park, MD. After residing in Asheville, North Carolina for many years, today, Ricey has returned to the Washington, DC, area where she continues to work in the health and wellness arena.

Leslie Plant, Riverdale, MD

We have lost touch with Leslie, who was one of the first soapmakers our founder ever met. Leslie owned Leslie's Garden Handmade Soaps while working full-time as a bookeeper. She grew many of the herbs she used in her soaps, which she sold by mail and at craft shows throughout the mid-Atlantic United States. She taught hundreds of soap and cream making classes at , local recreation departments, nurseries and museums. She co-founded herbal networks, volunteered at herb gardens and did more than just about anyone on the planet to teach people about the value of herbs.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Esq.: Washington, DC

Donna Maria is IBN's founder and president. Donna Maria has been intimately involved in the indie beauty industry since 1992.

Donna Maria is a graduate of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy and has authored several self-published books on handmade toiletries making. Her book, “Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions,” was published by Storey Books, and has been available for purchase online and in bookstores nationwide for nearly a quarter century.

As an attorney, Donna Maria has several years of experience representing companies before local, state and federal regulatory bodies. Her unique legal skills and advocacy talents, coupled with her experience as a handmade toiletries manufacturer, retailer and entrepreneur, combine to provide IBN members with the most effective representation available in the industry today.

Over the years, Donna Maria has served as a member of the public affairs and small business standing committees at the Cosmetics, Toiletries & Fragrances Association in Washington, DC. She has also been a member of the the Aromatic Plant Project, the American Society of Association Executives, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, and the Handcrafted Soap Maker's Guild. She has subscribed to dozens of trade journals and online resources that are pertinent to the indie business market in order to remain up to date on all things small business. She has been a speaker at several industry events and has authored dozens of articles for industry trade publications including The Natural Foods Merchandiser, The Handcrafted Soap Maker's Guild Newsletter, The Aromatic Thymes, the Aromatherapy Journal (a publication of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) and The Saponifier. Donna Maria has also been featured in several publications and media outlets including Entrepreneur Magazine, Black Enterprise, Forbes.com, ABC World News This Morning, Women Today Magazine, Natural Health Magazine, Pregnancy Magazine, and others.

Donna Maria is at the forefront of small business and is highly qualified to represent IBN members' interests before policy makers, fellow toiletries manufacturers and consumers.