Kate McLeod is many things—former bakery owner, pastry chef and, more recently, creator of the wildly popular body stones. These deeply emollient, stone-shaped moisturizers have become a phenomenon; not only because they really work, but because they live at the place where soft skin intersects with the mindset of today’s self-care movement. Please join Kate and me as we dig a little deeper into her story…
Martha: When I was first opening the shop, a close friend said, ‘I just received this new thing called a body stone. You must order one for yourself and you must get in touch with the company.’ It was such an emphatic recommendation that I did just that … and, I immediately fell in love.
Kate: What an introduction!
Martha: I know… it’s all true! I’m not the only who’s experienced an immediate connection to the product. I’ve watched this pattern… when someone buys a stone for themselves, they’re back within a week, buying more as gifts. It's almost like required sharing. Do you hear that all the time?
Martha: What does that mean to you?.
Kate: It means the world to me! It means that they get something from it—whether it’s moisture, nourishment or the deeper message of self care.
Martha: It’s different from other moisturizers. The time and attention it asks for makes it feel like a ritual.
Kate: You can’t rush it. It requires just enough time to warm to the touch. That’s intentional—a form of awareness and communication. Touch can be more than just touch, it can be so deeply healing.
Martha: The bamboo canisters, the way each stone is wrapped in cheesecloth is lovely. Opening it also feels quite ritualistic.
Kate: Yes, the bamboo containers were sourced from spice containers, the cheese cloth is super high quality and... all roads lead to, and from, the kitchen....
Martha: So many women started their companies at a kitchen table, and you started yours literally in the kitchen.
Kate: Yes. I had been given cocoa butter by my sister-in-law to moisturize my skin. It wasn't melting on my skin. I thought, there has got to be a better way to put this on. I was, at the time, in the middle of yoga teacher training and learning about ayurvedic base oils. So I decided to return to my roots in the kitchen. I started with my favorite ganache recipe, and a glass bowl over a copper pot. I melted down the cocoa butter and started mixing in oils. For years I tinkered with the recipe, putting it in mason jars, digging it out with a wooden spoon to lather on my skin. When I was getting married, I poured them into old pastry molds and gifted them to guests. Those were the first stones. And people really LIKED them. Interestingly, the scent was of the grounding stone, which is vetiver, which we launched last year.
Martha: I love your story and how this all came about for you. It feels like such a personal quest. You’ve also struck the cultural zeitgeist of self care, particularly in this moment, when it doesn’t feel like a nice-to-have but a need-to-have.
Kate: Our grounding stone could not have come at a better time. Especially this past year. Having said that, I can’t take credit for any of it. My sister-in-law was so ahead of her time. She was the one who saw this coming culturally. She was the one who saw what I needed, in myself. She is no longer with us… we lost her to cancer. But she set this ball in motion and taught me something that was so vital and needed for myself. And I wanted to share that. It reminds me that we are not isolated and alone in our troubles, that we’re all the same underneath. So if it resonates with you, it will probably resonate with others..
Martha: You have built such a beautiful brand. It is amazing to see your growth. I know you relocated the business this year from Brooklyn to Upstate NY.
Kate: We did. My husband and I moved upstate with our baby last March. While living in the Hudson Valley full time, I decided to start looking at spaces and found the perfect spot in an old chocolate factory in Red Hook. Not only have we been able to move our production, but we’ve also been able to expand it. Every stone is still poured, wrapped and tucked into the bamboo boxes by hand. It's a lot of work and as a result, we’ve created many full time and part time local jobs and continue to grow our team. We are so grateful to this incredible community we’ve found..
Martha: That’s a big move… how are you finding the transition personally?
Kate: I’m very happy. I work a couple days from home and a couple days in the factory and have so much more time with Ollie. Plus our town is fantastic and supportive and lovely..
Martha: Could you have imagined two years ago this is where you would be?
Kate: No! And I know we’re just getting started. We have new products launching this year—our limited edition sex stone launched last week (it’s enriched with argan oil to make it even more nourishing) - and we’re excited to start sharing even more… like recipes from my culinary days. Truly, when I look at where we are, it's beyond my dreams. I’m incredibly grateful to my co-founder, Nichola, who joined this wild and crazy ride with me, and feeling beyond blessed to have such a supportive, hardworking team.