POTSDAM -- Sandra Maine, a 1978 graduate of SUNY Potsdam and president and founder of SunFeather Natural Soap Company, will be honored with the 2013 Leadership Through Service Award at SUNY Potsdam during commencement weekend.
In addition to being an artist and mother, Maine has distinguished herself as an entrepreneur and author. She leads a successful company producing quality, handmade bodycare products.
Maine earned her bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from SUNY Potsdam in sociology and wilderness leadership.
In 1978, she combined a $15 investment with interests in gardening and natural healing with her skills as a craftsperson to develop what would become one of the most successful all-natural soap producing companies in the U.S. SunFeather Natural Soap Company currently employs 15 in a production facility in Parishville. Maine has created an inventory of more than 150 kinds of soap and related products, including herbal soaps, gift sets and custom packages for special occasions and corporate programs. Several product lines have received awards.
Newsweek Magazine featured the company's socially responsible business practices as part of a feature on innovative work environments. For Oprah Winfrey's 50th birthday bash, SunFeather produced all-natural soap customized with the embossed logo of her California ranch. In 2005, Sandy was a finalist for Inc. Magazine's Business of the Year Award. Maine has authored numerous award-winning books, including "The Soap Book: Simple Herbal Recipes" and her most recent title, "Clean Naturally." Maine sold her company in 2011 to Nutraceuticals Corporation of Park City, Utah, and continues to run her company locally under their umbrella.
Maine established a non-profit organization, Community Supported Business Start-Ups, to provide microgrants to economically and educationally challenged entrepreneurs in St. Lawrence County. To date, her organization has assisted nine local businesses.
Maine is a board member for Clarkson University's Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and developed curriculum for its My Small Business 102 program. Recently, she has begun to work on a research and educational farm, with the goal of developing economically viable fragrances and flavors in the North Country.
SUNY Potsdam established the Leadership Through Service Award to honor those outstanding individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment of service to the Potsdam community. Each year, recipients are acknowledged for demonstrating a special commitment to the betterment of the North Country through dedicated service.