Katie Schwerin ’93 (New England, MA in Education) is a lifelong educator, learner, and community builder. The co-founder, along with her husband Bill Whyte, of W.S. Badger & Co., graduated with her master’s in fine arts and interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College in July 2019, and was behind the Kickstarter for the Mount Monadnock Labyrinth, a public sculpture, which opened in October 2018.
Katie now works as the COO at W.S Badger Co. During the early years of the company, when it was small and run by her husband, she taught at a Waldorf School as an elementary school teacher. More recently, Katie has taught economics at the Monadnock Waldorf High School. She graduated in 1993 from Antioch University New England with a master’s in education and Waldorf certification. Katie and her husband received the school’s Horace Mann Spirit of Service Citizens Award in 2017 and the company received Antioch’s Department of Environmental Studies Environmental Excellence Award in 2016. We caught up with Katie to learn more about Badger and how they are supporting the community.
Why did your family start Badger?
We decided to homestead when our children were young, which meant we lived simply. We built our home, we gardened and preserved our vegetables. We are natural, organic people and we have always been that way. During that time, my husband worked as a carpenter and he created a balm for his hardworking hands. He is one of these classic entrepreneurs. He believes in what he is doing. It started as a way to make money but it continued to be what our passion was.
How does the mission of Badger, and its social and environmental business practices align with your family’s values?
We are a mission-based company. Our focus is on making healing products and a healthy business. We make all kinds of choices that don’t save money but they serve the community. We keep expanding into different arenas that resonate with who we are and what needs to happen in the world. We believe that businesses are the solution, they just need to get on the right track and support the community.
How does Badger create community at work and beyond?
Every day, we have a free lunch we offer to our employees so we can all get together for a meal. We provide some of the food for our lunch from our community garden, and some of our employees have their own plots there, as well. We organize public service events, like roadside cleanups, and we donate 10 percent of our before-tax profits to non-profit organizations, including those that support the local community.
to Simplify Your Life
- Clean 4 oz jar and tight-fitting lid (or 2-4 smaller jars or tins)
- Small heat-resistant mixing bowl or glass measuring cup
- Medium saucepan
- Measuring cups (for wet ingredient measurement) and spoons
- Thermometer (optional).
- 2.3 ounces or 4 1/2 tbsp, Organic Sunflower Oil
- 4 tsp, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- .37 ounces or 2 1/4 tsp, Organic Beeswax
- 16 drops, Sunflower Vitamin E12 drops, Organic Rosehip CO2 Extract
- 12 drops, Organic Seabuckthorn CO2 Extract
- 3 drops, Organic Calendula CO2 Extract
You can substitute any of the CO2 Extracts for essential oils)
- Add sunflower oil, olive oil, beeswax, and sunflower vitamin E to your saucepan.
- Put the saucepan on the stovetop on medium heat and heat to 140-150F. Hold at this temperature until the mixture is clear. Once your oil and beeswax mixture is combined thoroughly, add the CO2 extracts. Stir well. Pour your liquid balm into your jar and let it sit until it cools.