Stef Mowry is a local artist who grew up in the Pottstown PA area. As a kid, Stef loved to melt old candles to make new ones when she wasn’t busy gluing, sewing and painting things together to make funky art. In Elementary School, her first "business" was making and selling Pom Poms door to door!
After working for awhile, Stef found her way to Kutztown University and was accepted to the Fine Arts program. Two years later, she transferred to Towson University and got a corporate job. Working her way through school part time, Stef earned her degree in Fine Arts (Painting &Sculpture) with a minor in Business Administration. During this time, she also apprenticed with a local sculptor who introduced her to the gallery scene, worked full time at a software company,part time at a frame shop and got involved with the mural arts program.
In 2002, Stef left Baltimore, moved back to Southeast Pennsylvania and once again got sucked in to the corporate world. Art was put on hold due to lack of space, funds & energy. 2007 was when she said goodby to the 9-5 drudgery and she earned her 200 hour Pranakriya Yoga certification. For the next 12 years she built a career teaching yoga & meditation at local studios & colleges, along with Thai Bodywork & personal training. No time to make art when working 7 days a week teaching others how to manage stress!
Stef met Dave in 2008 and they began exploring soapmaking together soon after. Unable to find any vegan soaps for sensitive skin, Dave created a recipe for what is now their trademark Castile Bar Soap. At first he made soap just for them, and then began to share with friends.
Experiencing burnout from the competitive world of yoga & fitness, Stef knew she needed a change. It was 2015 when an acquaintance invited her to "play with clay" and she made a goofy snail that caught the eye of a few people who wanted more. The creative spark was lit and Stef started creating again. Tale of the Snail was slowly born. Working with clay was not time or space efficient, so she moved in to creating with paper, making paper from junk mail & scraps. Her first creations were "Snail Cards" - handcut paper snails made from handmade paper. Several local shops and businesses picked up her cards and she began to step away from teaching.
The Famous "Comfort Snails" were born in 2017 and over 200 of them have found new homes since! First working in clay, then polymer clay and now made from handmade paper clay & junk mail, Comfort Snails were a unique way to show someone that you care.
The Tale of the Snail began slowly, with Stef teaching full time and making art in her off hours. Business partner & husband, Dave had been making soap for a few years, and they began to make candles together. In 2016 they offically created their signature Castile Soap Recipe and began to tell people. With the help of a small crowdfunding effort, in 2017 Tale of the Snail became a real business.
For the first year it was small Craft Shows & yoga studios where Stef was still working. In 2018 they began to rent space at local vegan festivals & farmers markets. Tale of the Snail found a biweekly summer spot at a market in her hometown. By the end of 2019, Stef thought about retiring from her longtime yoga & massage career to focus fully on Tale of the Snail. The plan was to expand to more farmers markets & local stores. Then 2020 "happened"
Since the beginning Tale of the Snail has slowly been building local & website clientele through custom orders & word of mouth referrals. Making it through the pandemic of 2020 forced Stef to figure out her online business model, teaching herself how to create & maintain a websit
e. Creating delivery & pick up services was a must for survival during the pandemic. The great shutdown of 2020 gave her opportunity to take over all of the soap & candlemaking as well as learn how to maintain the website. Having lost her job due to the shutdown, and being ineligible for unemployment, Stef gave all of her time and energy to Tale of the Snail. Thankful to have markets open up in the summer, 2020 was a year of learning and patience with ingredients suppliers. The demand for soap was high, and the availability of supplies was compromised. It was a difficult year for sure.
From 2020-2022, Stef focused on local clientele by remaining at a local bi-weekly market while slowly nurturing online sales. In 2022, feeling stagnant, she began to explore new venues with great reception. Being asked to set up her business at established events & markets felt amazing! In 2023 we TRIPLED the amount of events we went to and plan for more in 2024.
Tale of the Snail LLC based in East Norriton, PA offers Castile Soap (Bars & Liquid), Soy Candles (Tins, Jars & Tumblers) and Bath Treats (Bath Bombs, Shower Cakes, Bath Tea & more). Handcrafted in small batches, everything is made by hand, from scratch with wholesome ingredients. No palm oil, no parabens, no phthalates and no animal products. Handmade Paper Art featuring snails & other “creepy crawlies”, made from recycled handmade paper & other “trash”.
Stef & Dave Mowry have been making "smell goods" together since 2010. They live in East Norriton with their rescue dog and a couple of 40 gallon aquariums. When not creating, they both enjoy board games, sci fi movies & hiking.
stay clean. smell good. live slow.