More than 20 years ago, Paul Barrett picked up a book at a little farmer’s market outside of London. The publication was a “how to” on concocting soaps, and its content sparked an interest in the Englishman that literally changed his life. After frenzied market research that uncovered the harmful effects of specific chemicals found in bath and body products, Barrett began to craft natural soaps with pure ingredients—a hobby that propelled him to open an all-natural body shop, 4,000 miles from home.
Located in the hub of downtown Franklin’s Main Street, Barrett’s Bathos boutique offers handmade bath and body confections in a variety of natural soaps, lotions, baby products, shampoos, facemasks, scrubs and skincare products. The British transplant says his motivation for opening the brick-and-mortar store began to snowball as he researched the industry further.
“Most of our products were created out of a personal desire for natural alternatives,” he said. “Once I started researching, I became increasingly aware of the harmful long-term effects that chemicals can have on our bodies and health.”
Since the store opened 16 years ago, all of the products have been made by hand. With the help of his wife, Stacy, Barrett uses 100 percent natural ingredients and incorporates essential oils such as lavender, patchouli, and tea-tree oil.
They also use as many local ingredients as possible, and they say that many of the items can be used as remedies to certain skin conditions.
“The best part of my job is having a customer give me positive feedback about how one of our products changed their life,” Barrett said. “A lot of the ingredients we experiment with come from recommendations from clients. They come in and ask for help with a certain condition, then we try to find a natural remedy for it.”
Born and raised in the English countryside, Barrett was convinced by a friend to come to Tennessee in 1997. After his first downtown Franklin visit, he immediately knew he wanted to open a store in its historic district.
“I still remember seeing Main Street for the first time,” he said. “I have always wanted to own my own business, and when I saw it something clicked inside of me. Main Street reminded me so much of home, it just seemed like the perfect fit!”
Ten years ago, Barrett bought the Bathos building on 416 Main Street. After the flood damaged their home in 2010, Barrett and his wife moved upstairs above the store.
“I live in the best location I could ask for. This is such a lively town,” he said. “What makes Franklin so special, besides Main Street, is the people. They are so friendly and welcoming here.”
Bathos is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more, visit the store’s website www.bathosfranklin.com