Karen Williams owns and operates River Oils, which sells handmade beauty products in Wyoming, where she also manages Reruns Consignment Shop. She is a native of Forty Fort and a graduate of Wyoming Valley West High School and Star Beauty Academy. She has a daughter, Autumn River, 4. They live in Forty Fort.

Meet Karen Williams…

River Oils has been open in Wyoming since in May. Can you tell us a little about how the business got started?
I started it at my house a little over two years ago. I actually started selling the essential beauty oils at the house. I’ve also always made my own beauty products, and people would ask, “Can you make me this?” or “Can you make me that?” And so I started doing it at home, and it kind of got too big for my house. Initially, I didn’t want a storefront or anything like that. I just wanted a place to make the products and just have a pick-up spot, instead of at my house. But this opportunity came along, and it was really cute, and I ended up having a little display area. It ended up becoming more.

Tell us a little about the products. They’re all skin-care products. Bath bombs, body butters, soaps … and I have a whole face-care and skin-care line. Everything is natural and organic as possible. My skin-care line is something I do that’s reoccurring. I always have that on hand. But everything else is always different. I’m constantly making different stuff. And I try to buy everything local.

What do you enjoy about it?
I like finding different things and using different products, like chocolate and coffee, in my products. I just love it.

And what about your work at Reruns Consignment Shop?
I really like seeing all of the fashion that comes in. We have a lot of designer stuff. And I love the people. We have lot of repeat customers at both River Oils and the consignment shop, and they keep me busy.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
We like to spend a lot of time outside, no matter what it is. We’ll just go up to the lake, or hiking, or country rides. I try to keep my daughter outside.

Any hobbies?
It’s a little silly, but I collect rocks. And when my daughter was born, she started doing the same thing — rocks and seashells and things that we can find in nature. And we actually make really pretty things out of them.

Favorite music?
I like country music. But I always find myself listening to vintage music, like Sinatra.

Do you follow sports?
I’m a hockey fan — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Pittsburgh.

Favorite city?
New York. And Park City, Utah. It’s just beautiful there, everywhere you look.

Favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere there’s a beach.

Favorite thing about NEPA? 
My family is here. And I like the change of seasons.

All-time favorite movie?
My daughter tells me it’s “Wreck-It Ralph.” And she’s kind of right. (Laughs)

Favorite TV show?
“Once Upon a Time.”

Favorite food?
Sushi. But I like steak, I like pizza. … There’s very little food that I don’t love.

Favorite holiday?

Favorite book or author?
Anne Rice.

Biggest pet peeve?
Unfinished projects.

Guilty pleasure?
Binge watching “Once Upon a Time” on Netflix.

Is there anything about you that might really surprise people?
Over the past year, I’ve been working with my uncle, doing side jobs, and he’s taught me everything from electrical to plumbing. I could probably rewire your whole house. And do all of the pluming. (Laughs)

Have you had a moment in your life that really helped shape you or define you as a person?
I can’t really remember my life before my daughter. I feel like I didn’t even really start really living until she was born. I just looked at the world differently. And she’s a “miracle baby,” in that I wasn’t supposed to have her. I wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant, because of some health issues that I’ve had. And then I was so high-risk, there was only a 30-percent chance of a successful birth. It was a tough ride … but look what I got. (Smiles)

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.

Photos by Emma Black