When Sarah was little, she got interested in chemistry by reading the ingredients on the bottles of shampoo in her bathroom. (She still does that sometimes, but only if she forgets her phone.) When she found out that each of those ingredients has a 3-dimensional chemical structure and a particular job, she wanted to learn more chemistry.
Her older sister was a pharmacy student and Sarah would look in her books about chemical structure. (She even included the chemical structure of folic acid in a report she wrote in the 4th grade). Even though her sister called biochemistry “bioscum" Sarah decided to major in it when she went to college. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She loves it and doesn’t think it is scummy at all. Although she did make jokes about the art mosaic on the floor of the molecular biology building at Iowa State saying it was the “genetic cess pool”. So maybe her sister did rub off on her after all.
After completing her undergraduate degree she got a job in science research because she was able to answer the question “Where did you go to high school?” to her new boss at Washington University in St. Louis even though her boss had no idea what she was supposed to learn from the answer. After a couple of years in that first lab, she applied to graduate school in Molecular and Cell Biology. She finished with a Master’s degree when her daughter, Laura, was born but continued to work at the university as a Senior Research Technician.
The family moved to the Seattle area in 2009. The following fall, Sarah started homeschooling her kids. This gave her the freedom to explore the area and meet some of the coolest people she knows. And she tried to pass on her love of all things science to her kids. She ended up with an artist, an engineer and a computer programmer. So that part may have not been so successful but instead they all get to be exactly who they are. Her youngest son will be homeschooling high school starting in the fall of 2022. So this part of her life is coming to a close.
Wise Chemistree was dreamt up as a way to use science knowledge and creativity to make things that people use every day. Sarah has always been practical in her creative pursuits. That’s why there are so many knitted or crocheted blankets and hats scattered around her house and not very many scrapbooks (which is why Laura is the Creative Director). Since everyone needs to clean themselves she feels good about making products to help with that. Plus, this new career path allows her to live the life she wants (which includes regular trips in her RV).
Sarah uses the experience of raising her three exceptional human beings as the heart of her business. Each of her kids have had their own unique challenges and gifts which make them so awesome. Through them she has learned the languages of LGBTQ+, ADHD, and Autism. Not a day goes by that some kind of diversity isn’t part of their communication. She values accepting people exactly as they are with the unconditional love and security of the mom that goes to bat for you and is always in your corner.
Laura is one of those exceptional human beings that Sarah raised. She has her own superpower wrangling small children by day at a STEM preschool (maybe some of that love of science did get in there). She has an amazing wit and her stories about the things her kids did at school are hilarious. In her spare time, she loves to create arts and crafts. Her artistic skills are primarily self taught (she never wanted anyone to tell her how to make her art… actually, she never wanted anyone to tell her how to do anything for that matter.) Her artistic eye and attention to detail mean that she is always working to make everything look better and better. And she’s not afraid to say when something isn’t right (at least where her mom is concerned).
It is often said that dogs have owners and cats have staff. But Sarah and Laura have convinced their cats to be their staff. They all have important jobs to do.
Pius came to us as a small kitten. Ever since recovering from a misadventure with a spool of green thread, he has taken responsibility for ensuring the quality of the water. He often dips his paw into the bowl on the floor to test it before drinking and if a glass is left unattended he takes a sample even he isn’t supposed to be up on the table.
Sirius, also affectionately known as the Land Orca, makes sure that the office chair is never left unattended. His chonkiness keeps the chair warm even if he is sometimes reluctant to give up his spot for the more computer savvy members of our staff.
Sadie wakes every morning excited but the prospect of catching any stray red dots. If anyone touches the laser pointer she is anxious to get to work. She is also acts as a personal trainer by demanding pets but staying just out of reach so everyone can get some crunches in trying to give her the petting she requires.
One benefit of working on this business together is that Sarah and Laura get to spend time together working on something that is special. It is their girl power moment. What started out as a Mom’s Soap business has become a Mother-Daughter adventure.
They put their money where their mouths are by donating to organizations that work toward improving equity in our world. Especially close at heart are organizations working toward LGBTQ+ and Autism Equity, focusing on organizations that are predominantly self-advocacy groups. They figure that those are the people who know best what the challenges are and what supports are helpful.