A Clean Break with Workplace Tradition

Thriving soapmaker Sandy Maine explains why her emphasis on the things that make a company good to work for reduces employee turnover

Sandy Maine's SunFeather Natural Soap Company makes soaps, lotions, and insect repellent that it sells both retail and wholesale. Based in Pottsdam, N.Y., in the Adirondack Mountains, the $1 million company is also a private-label supplier to Oprah Winfrey. With only 14 employees, SunFeather is not required to comply with the Family Medical Leave Act, but Maine offers her mostly female staff an innovative leave policy. SmallBiz contributor Jill Hamburg Coplan recently spoke with Maine about her business and the social goals it embodies. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow:

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