Herbal Cosmetics, Rickshaw Taxi, and Other Profiles

A mother-daughter team who developed their own line of herbal cosmetics and a man who put together a rickshaw taxi are among the people profiled in this installment of a regular feature.

| May/June 1981

  • 069 profiles - rickshaw taxi
    Tom Hatcher of Kalamazoo, MI build his own rickshaw taxi for about $20.
  • 069 profiles - herbal cosmetics
    Connie Serrett and her mother Betty Strong turned a family custom into a successful herbal cosmetics business.

  • 069 profiles - rickshaw taxi
  • 069 profiles - herbal cosmetics

The following profiles celebrate little-known MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type folks from all over. 

Connie Serret and Betty Strong: Herbal Cosmetics

What began two generations ago as a family custom has grown into a burgeoning business venture for Connie Serrett and her mother Betty Strong: The women produce herbal cosmetics for retail sale.

To date, the mother-daughter team has marketed a clay/mint facial masque and an herbal skin moisturizer (they are available, in two-ounce jars, for $4.95 each) under the brand name "Fair Hill." The duo's offerings will soon include a hair rinse, an under-eye cream, a scented lip balm, a cleanser for oily skin, and an after-bath splash, as well. All of the herbs used to prepare the cosmetics—which include comfrey, chamomile, rosemary, sage, and various mints—are grown organically at Fair Hill Farm, and the essential oils that are numbered among the ingredients are also extracted from homegrown plants.— Ed Webber.  

Tom Hatcher: Rickshaw Taxi

When Tom Hatcher came to the conclusion—about three years back—that Kalamazoo, Michigan was sorely in need of an alternative taxi service, he knew just what to do to remedy the situation: Tom scrounged up some wood scraps and a couple of old bicycle tires, and put together the city's first rickshaw taxi ... for a total investment of only $20!

The novice cabby managed to support himself, through his first summer in business, on an average income of $1.40 per hour... which he earned by both transporting passengers and selling four hand-built rickshaws (he assembled them at a cost of just $10 per unit). The carriers were snatched up by a collector, two prospective cabbies, and a farmer who found the two-wheeled device excellent for hauling firewood.

This summer Tom plans to turn his rig into a roving rickshaw (the seat of the vehicle pulls down to form a sleeping platform). He'll set out toward the Mississippi River, dividing his time between touring and taxiing. Even though Hatcher could head for the big city—where traffic jams and transit strikes might provide moneymaking opportunities—he prefers to rickshaw for pleasure and isn't much concerned with profit. Tom's only advice to those interested in taking up his trade is this: "Avoid steep hills and long rainstorms. And—above all— keep a good sense of humor!"—Glenn R. Meyers

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