Posted on

Interview with Vicki Hinde of The Soap Mine

The Soap Mine

I have known of The Soap Mine for some time by the distinctive and colorful drop pour soaps, however, I have recently connected the name with the company. So delighted to actually meet Vicki Hinde!

Vicki Hinde The Soap Mine
Vicki Hinde The Soap Mine

Read along and learn more about this amazing soap artist.

Social media links: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesoapmine  (@thesoapmine)

 

When did you know soap making was for you? 

At some point in 2010 a friend showed me a small piece of brown soap that she’d made herself, and I realised that I had absolutely no idea how soap was made.  The question had never even crossed my mind, and, as I don’t like not knowing something, I got researching.  I very soon decided that this was something I had to try and my first batch was made soon after. I was utterly hooked from that very first time.

The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine

When did you discover you loved soap making? 

I loved it right from the beginning.  I had quite a few failures, and each one taught me something important – I made batch notes from the beginning, and never made the same mistake twice.  There were many mistakes though –  lye heavy soap, soap that was never going to harden up, vanillin discolouration (boy was THAT a disappointment!), omitted fragrance, the list goes on…  But that was part of why I loved it so much from the beginning. There’s SO much to learn, and there’s as much science as there is art.

What are your favorite parts of soap making? 

I think it would be easier to say which bits I don’t like!  Like most people, the wash up process is probably my least favourite, and if I’m honest, I’m not so keen on the wrapping or labelling either. However I LOVE choosing new fragrances and coming up with new colourways for them – most of my soap-making these days is restocking soap from my core range so I don’t get the opportunity to ‘play’ as often as I would like.  That relatively small portion of time during which I’m actually pouring the soap into the mould and creating the design is really important to me.  I focus quite intently on what I’m doing, and find it a very calming process. My husband knows that I don’t appreciate

The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine

any interruptions at that point!  And of course cutting each bar is a thrill.  I deliberately haven’t invested in a multi-wire soap cutter (yet!) as I enjoy the ‘reveal’ of each bar as I cut the loaf with my single-wire cutter.

What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?

Soap making is MY thing.  I have two young children (aged 4 and 7) and for a while they took over my life; I seemed to have very little time for hobbies.  These days, no matter how challenging the day has been (yes, I’m looking at YOU ‘Butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-your-mouth-four-year-old daughter’!!)  I can always spend an hour or two immersed in my soap business, and all is well again.  I may be extraordinarily busy ALL the time but it does make me very happy!!

What are you favorite oils, butters, micas and/or processes? 

All my regular bars are made using the same six fats – olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, Shea butter and castor oil, so I guess they’re probably my favourites (or at least, they combine to produce my favourite result!)  My go-to place for mica is U-Make it Up in Spain  (recommended to me by the lovely Carolyn of Siennalily Soaps). They have a fantastic range of mica specifically for soap, and I’ve found that even including postage costs to the UK they’re significantly cheaper than the UK based companies I used to use.  And process? There can be no doubt which is my fave – cold process with a drop swirl – my whole core range is made using a drop swirl. 

The Soap Mine
The Soap Mine


What were your hopes for creating your soap business? (To help you answer: What hopes came true, so far, for your soap business/process?)

My first hope was to make enough money selling my soap to enable me to continue making soap!  To begin with, it wasn’t a particularly expensive hobby – basic oils, a bit of fragrance and makeshift moulds are all relatively cheap as far as hobbies go – but as I got more into it and wanted to experiment more and more then the costs escalated.  So basically I started selling to fund my continuing experimentation, but I soon started to wonder whether this was something that could become a bona fide company, one that would allow me to make an income without having to go out to work while my children were young.  

What I didn’t expect is that it would take over my life so utterly and completely.  I work in the mornings, before the children get up, and I work in the evenings, after they’ve gone to bed.  I work after 4pm, as soon as my long-suffering husband finishes work, and I work at the weekend, when he’s not working.  In September, my youngest child starts going to school full-time and I’ll have time DURING THE DAY *gasp* to work and I. Cannot. Wait. which brings me to the next question:

What other interests do you have when not in your soap or bath products laboratory?

Oh so many, and come September I fully intend to free up some of my evenings to be able to enjoy some them!  I’m currently working towards my green belt in kickboxing – it’s just one one-hour class a week, but it’s fun, and it’s challenging. and I leave each class feeling energised and ridiculously happy and motivated.  I also try to get out for a run a few times a week, but that’s fallen by the wayside a little recently, purely down to lack of time.  Another of my passions is linguistics, particularly the history of language/s, and learning languages generally. I’m bilingual (English/Welsh), have a good knowledge of French.  At the moment I’m learning Russian, and I’ve studied German and Spanish in the past.  I used to be an avid reader, but that’s another thing that’s fallen by the wayside due to lack of time, so this coming winter I plan to challenge myself to read more AND to finally learn to crochet.

Do you have concerns and/or hopes for the soap industry?

I hope that I can convert more and more people to the joys of using (and making, if they so desire) handmade soap.   I know of so many people who claim to be unable to use bar soap, but I’m sure that for many this is because they can’t use COMMERCIAL soap. I’m on a mission to convert the public, and it may be a long road but I’m up for the challenge 😊

What do you want people to know about your soaps/business?  

I’m a one-woman outfit, and I do absolutely everything, from ordering the raw materials through to delivering the final product.  I use only the best ingredients and I’m utterly passionate about creating quality products that I can be proud of. 

What makes you laugh about making soap?  

How many people does it take to make a batch of soap?  10.  One to make the soap, and nine more to argue about whether or not it should contain palm oil…  

Only kidding of course, but I have to laugh, somewhat ruefully, at people who just can’t accept that different people have different ways of making soap. Personally I don’t use palm oil, and all my soaps are vegan friendly, however I’m not vegan myself (I’m not even vegetarian, and I have experimented with lard soaps in the past – they’re flippin’ wonderful!). I have no issue with others choosing to use animal derivatives or palm oil in their recipes.  I’ve done my research, and there are arguments on both sides, but I will not decry or criticise any soap-maker for their particular choice of ingredients.

Posted on

Interview with Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks

Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks

I’ll bet you don’t know much of Ami shares in this interview… I didn’t and I love and admire, not just her soap works, which are striking and colorful, but Ami’s kindness and integrity. Get to know wonderful Ami with her frank and open answers. Ami Johnson of Lilyblue Soapworks. 

 

When did you know soap making was for you? 

Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks

In my previous career I was a General Manager, first for the Beauty division of Victoria’s Secret, and after that for Ulta Beauty. In 2009 I chose to leave my wonderful career to raise a family. I don’t think I realized how much confidence I got from my previous position and while I definitely wasn’t unhappy raising my child I knew I needed something for myself. I initially started watching YouTube videos to teach myself how to knit and one day I stumbled upon a Soaping 101 video and was immediately intrigued. Here was something I could do, possibly earn a bit of money doing it, that would also be healthier for my family, as well as others

When did you discover you loved soap making? 

The absolute first time I ever made soap! I really love the science aspect of turning different fatty acids into a completely different thing and the endless variations there are to do that. I also discovered I had an artistic side. I’ve always been very good and seeing beauty in the work around me, but I’d never been able to draw, or paint, or really do anything that I considered to be art, but I started making designs by my third batch and I felt like I’d been doing it all my life. I believe my previous career was my first calling and motherhood my second, but just as I felt I had to do those things I also feel that way about soap.

What are your favorite parts of soap making? 

Hands down my favorite part is when everything is mixed and ready to go. I’m not a fan of the prep work and definitely not a fan of the cleanup, but that 15-20 minutes when it’s just me creating is almost always

Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks

the best part of my day. 

What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?

I, along with fellow soapers Jennifer Kathleen of Treehugger Soap Co., and Tyreese Joseph of ADO Soaps, run The Happy Soapers Facebook group. I’m so passionate about educating new soapers, learning from veteran soapers and creating the type of climate where everyone feels safe enough to ask any question. We encourage open and respectful debate, but we do not tolerate any unkind or derogatory remarks to or from our members. The three of us were so frustrated by the demeaning of new soapers, the unwillingness to hear any opinion that differed from their own and mostly the way some people chose to express those things. It was really bringing us down, so about six months ago we started the Facebook group and in August we’ll launch our YouTube channel and weekly blog. Helping other soapers in a positive and informative way is absolutely what gets me out of bed in the morning. 

What are you favorite oils, butters, micas and/or processes? 

I’ll admit that I’ve never tried hot process and I loathe re-batching, but I absolutely love cold process. I use a lot of Olive Oil in my recipes because I’m completely palm free and I find it the most versatile of oils. It’s soft, yet it creates a rock hard bar of soap. I also use Shea Butter in nearly every recipe as I do Avocado Oil. I also think lard makes an amazing bar of soap although I also offer a vegan option. Some speciality oils that I’m really in love with are Meadowfoam Oil, Laurel Berry Oil, Argon Oil, and Emu Oil, although I typically save those for leave on products. 

Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks
Ami Johnson of Lilybleu Soapworks

I’m a huge proponent of water discounting and soaping at cool temperatures. I find it gives me so much more control over the process. I almost always soap with a 1:1 ratio, room temperature oils, and cold lye solution. It’s the very rare fragrance that causes me to up my water ratio.

I have an all natural vegan line that uses only essential oils and natural colourants, but my best sellers come from my main line where I use fragrance oil and micas from Nurture Soap Supply, some of my favorites being their Vibrance Mica line and Day of the Dead, Breath of God, 25:43, Juicy Apricot, and Soft Cœur Fragrance Oils, among others. I also love the selection of micas from Mad Micas and I still use a lot of their fragrance oils… Earl Grey a Tea, Deviant, Spanish Fly, and Snow Witch, which I don’t think I could live without. I buy a lot of my base oils from Bramble Berry as well additives like silk, colloidal oatmeal and some clays. I have several fragrances from them that are also part of my regular lineup such as Oatmeal, Milk and Honey, Electric Lemonade, Heavenly Honeysuckle, Energy, Karma, and many of their Essential Oils. Apart from supporting a couple small suppliers for speciality oils I get nearly everything from those three places or locally. 

What were your hopes for creating your soap business?

My soap business is doing well despite the fact that we’re currently without a website. That should change soon though. I’m keeping busy enough that I always have things to do, but I’m not yet overwhelmed, well, except from October to December. My goal is to grow my business to the point where I’m able to employ people, continue offering accessible and well-researched education in a positive environment and make enough money to travel more. I really miss visiting Europe and diving in Cozumel, MX.

What other interests do you have when not in your soap or bath products laboratory?

I’m a huge history nerd. I’m pretty well versed on European history, especially that of England, France, and Scotland from about William the Conqueror up through George VI with a particular emphasis on 14th and 15th Centuries. 

We love to travel and we’ve been all over the US, parts of Canada and Mexico and much of Western Europe. These days we’re staying a bit closer to home, but it’s always nice to get away. 

I’m an avid reader and I typically listen to audiobooks while making soap. 

Do you have concerns and/or hopes for the soap industry?

Animal welfare is something I feel strongly about. I’m not vegan, but I do everything in my power to make sure every item that goes into my products is ethically sourced. I buy my lard locally from humanely treated free-range animals and I really admire the lengths companies like Nurture Soap go to for cruelty free and environmentally responsible products. I’ll always pay more to know I’m not hurting animals or humans by using the products I use. 

What do you want people to know about your soaps/business?  

We are a family run business that relies on word of mouth for the majority of my business. We try to be as ethically and environmentally responsible as possible and I hope the quality of the ingredients we use comes across in our products. 

What makes you laugh about making soap?  

Sometimes it’s the worst mistakes that turn out to be your hidden gems! 

Ami Johnson’s Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/lilybleutoo/

Posted on

Interview with Jasmina from Sapolina

Aloha Soap from Sopalina

This interview is my honor to conduct. I introduce an illusive, yet notable soap maker – Jasmina from Sapolina. This it the first photograph of the fairy-like energy of this soap maker. I get to know each interviewee a bit more as the process unfolds, and this opened my heart to someone who has attracted my attention for years. I chose Jasmina for this interview because of her commitment to a complete design, her choice in subtle, yet, dynamic colors and her deft execution of this magical creativity. Introducing Jasmina and her delightfully charming soaps.

Many ways to fin Jasmina and her marvelous soap creations!

www.sapolina.bigcartel.com
www.facebook.com/sapolinasoaps
www.instagram.com/sapolinasoaps
www.sapolina.bigcartel.com

Charming From Sopalina
Charming From Sopalina

How did you arrive at the name of your business? 

I had a few things in mind – I wanted it to be one word name, to be easy to remember and to associate it with a soap somehow. That’s the way I came up with Sapolina (sapone – italian, sapun – serbian are the base and just a little tweak to make a melodious, feminine name).

 

How long have you been making soaps? 

It all started out of necessity, back in 2013. I have very sensitive skin, every single product on the market just made my skin to be more dry and itchy, especially during winter months. I had to do something and begun to search for a solution. Handmade soaps were a logical point of interest but, since I am a very curious person, I couldn’t resist if I hadn’t investigate how it’s made. I discovered a whole new world of soap making, learning, reading and getting supplies long before my first ever soap. It was without any colorant and fragrance, but the only one my skin feels pleasant after. Of course, my family members were amazed at difference and feeling on the skin too, so I had to make more and more.

Jasmina from Sapolina
Jasmina from Sapolina

What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?

Everything. I am in love with soap making, I will cut a loaf today with the same passion and curiosity I had the first day, like a child with a long desired toy. I love design planing, melting oils and butters, working with raw soap, cutting a loaf, making packaging, soap photography, even the dishes after making aren’t a problem because I think of soap magic I just made while I am doing them. Also, when I can’t fall asleep I often plan the next soap, so it is like a therapy – it helps me to live a happier life.

Your soap color palates are distinctive, wow do you come up with your color designs?

I don’t know exactly. Yes, I plan design and colors, I visit web pages with color schemes as an inspiration but at the end it is sort of a feeling. I love bright colors, clean lines and simplicity, maybe that is the answer.

Where do you find your inspiration for your unique soaps? Are there things in your environment that aid in your creativity?

Inspiration is everywhere, you just need to recognize it. It is personal, what inspires me doesn’t mean you will be inspired too and vice versa. It can be a moment, emotion, event, object, some action etc. I remember when someone asked me where did I find inspiration for my soap Romance, I hesitate to tell the truth, it is maybe weird to hear it but I did – Novak Djokovic’s win in Wimbledon 2015. With all those golden spheres on the top like a crown.

Sea Salt Bar Soap from Sopalina
Sea Salt Bar Soap from Sopalina

What is your favorite part of soap making?

There are many parts I adore. The moment when I mix the oils and lye solution as a beginning of a magic, coloring, swirling, all those fragrances I enjoy, full table of soap loaves I made, cutting, waiting them to cure, taking photos, everything.

What do you do that is not soap related, but aids in your creative thinking?

Gardening – at the first place in this time of the year. We have garden of roses, but I am interested in cacti too and plants generally. All those colorful flowers and different shapes are breathtaking. I also love baking, home organizing and of course photography.

What do you want people to know about your work?

I frequently use soap spheres on the top of my soaps. I adore sphere as a perfect form from nature (planets, stars…), simple but strong and complete. If you leave out spheres from any of my soaps it is not the same anymore.

Romance From SopalinaRomance From Sopalina
Romance From Sopalina

What have you done that surprised you?

Became a soap maker. I am still surprised, that wasn’t in my wildest dreams!

What makes you laugh about making soap?

The fact soap making is never ending game. You never know exactly how will all go and what to expect at the end, despite all the plans ahead of time. That’s the charm of the game which fascinates me since the beginning.

What do you want readers to know about you or your soap making business i.e. other products, ingredients, research… Anything you’d like to mention here.

As a soap maker, I am trying to make high quality soap at the first place, but I am customer too. I also like to see things from that point of view and offer something I would expect myself. I like eye catching product, able to attract my attention in any way, to have packaging which is easy to open (I need a device to open many of everyday commercial products), I like to see the product (at least partially) through packaging and regarding soaps, to be possible to smell it. My goal is to fulfill all of this and add a personal, artistic touch to my soaps.

Sunny Mold from Sopalina
Sunny Mold from Sopalina
Honey Dream from Sopalina
Honey Dream from Sopalina
Lavish from Sopalina
Lavish from Sopalina
Passion from Sopalina
Passion from Sopalina
Sunny Fiesta from Sopalina
Sunny Fiesta from Sopalina
Posted on

Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone

Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone
You probably already know some things about Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone like her luxury soaps, her wonderful vibrant attitude and now, brilliantly colored hair, but you might not know some of the insights to her creativity she reveals in this interview.

1.)  What was the first bath and/or body product you created? 

       Oh wow, EVER?  If I had to go way, WAY back… I made jars of “perfume” as a kid and sold them door to door in my neighborhood.  (Along with grasshoppers on leashes because I truly believed that they made wonderful pets.)  I would load up my little red wagon with jars full of water and flower petals… and sell them to people who were too nice to tell a little girl that she was selling jars of gross, stinky water.    However, my first real foray into the world of bath and body began when, as a baby, my son had horrible diaper rash.  I had heard that handmade soap was best for sensitive bums, but I was too nervous to start with cold process so I found a melt and pour kit at a hobby store as a little test run.  I made a simple, single-color molded melt and pour soap that was plain as plain could be, and from there, I wanted to learn everything I could about making soap.

2.)  Was there a moment you knew soap making was for you? 

Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone
Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone
       The moment that I cut my first completed batch of cold process soap, I was hooked 100%.  Like many first-time cold process soapers, I geared up for that first batch like I was working with the world’s deadliest virus… in a construction zone, and there MIGHT be a chance of a fire.  I wore every piece of protective gear known to man and I had read so many books and done so much research, yet I still felt terrified that I was going to blow up the house.  Once the batch was made, I must have checked it at least a hundred times that day (no exaggeration).  When it was finally time to cut it, I sliced it and this amazing feeling came over me while I looked at those short, dumpy bars of soap.  I had made this.  I had made it from scratch.  That’s when the soap bug bit me and I wanted to make a million more batches right then and there.
3.)  Were there creative endeavors in your past that you can see contributed to discovering soap making?  What do you see, in hindsight, that prepared you for your soap endeavors?

      I have always been a creative person who likes to learn new hobbies.  I bake, sew, crochet, paint, sculpt, dabble in glass blowing and woodworking, you-name-it. I’ve always had an interest in how things are made and love being able to express myself through different creative mediums.  I am a very hands-on person who refuses to pay for something if I think that I can do it myself.  Even if it costs me more to make something, I see the value in making it myself… in understanding the process behind it, and having the

Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone
Spicy Pinecone Soap

ability to tweak things and put my own creative spin on them.  I believe that being exposed to my various hobbies allowed me to give myself the freedom to try new things in my soap making process.  I’m not afraid of loud, fun colors, obscene amounts of sparkle, and/or trying a new technique.

4.)  Are there any aspects of soap making that others may not know about you?
      When I make a batch of soap, I like to keep design planning to a minimum.  I plan out the recipe and fragrance, of course, but as far as design, I may have an IDEA, but I rarely plan it out 100%.  I like being able to throw in a new color because I feel like it or swirling when I wasn’t originally going to.  Being fluid in the design allows me to come up with ideas in the moment and keeps things fun and interesting.
5.)  You attended the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Conference in Las Vegas this year.  What were your favorite aspects?
     This is actually the first time I’ve been able to make the HSCG Conference!  Every other year, things have conspired to keep me away, so I was determined to make it this year.  I purchased the tickets way in advance and set the trip in stone… at least as much as I possibly could.  I was thrilled to get to meet so many soapers.   It was a gathering of MY PEOPLE.  Looking around the conference, it was a bit mind-blowing.  To have that many fellow bubble nerds and soap supplies in one place was incredible.  Meeting soapers in-person and making that face-to-face connection was just invaluable and was definitely my favorite part of the conference.
     Along with meeting new people, the presentations were fantastic.  Many of the speakers had an abundance of great information on a variety of different topics.  There really was something for everyone there.  Plus, once the conference was concluded for the day… you were in Vegas.  Not hard to stay entertained there.  😉

6.)  If you could change something about our industry, what would that be? 

Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone
PInk Spicy Pinecone Soap
      I think that in the soap making industry, there is an incredible amount of information out there for new soap makers.  There are amazing books, YouTube videos, and blog articles that are fantastic sources for beginning the research process prior to making bath and body items.  However, with the abundance of information, I also believe it’s easy for a new soaper to find themselves following a recipe or trying a technique that may not be safe.  I am all for sharing knowledge and experience, but I think that when one does so, they have a moral obligation to ensure that they are presenting the best and safest method they can for the goal they are trying to accomplish.  And for those that are just beginning in this industry, make sure that you have reliable information from different sources.  Research, research, research.
7.)  What is your favorite part of soap making?  
    Oh my goodness, there are so many fun things about making soap.  I think if I HAD to choose, my favorite part has got to be cutting into a soap loaf.  One of those soap loaves where you did a crazy, funky swirl with weird colors and you’re just dying to know what’s on the inside.  You slice it, pull up a bar, and it’s like Christmas morning when you discover that you did, in fact, knock that latest batch out of the park.
8.)  What makes you laugh about soap making?

     I always find it funny when something goes crazily, horribly awry.  It could be that you have a fragrance that is SUPPOSED to be well-behaved, but it decided to turn Cujo on you and you’re left scrambling to create

Interview with Sarah Milroy from Spicy Pinecone
Spicy Pinecone Soap

something that may be salvageable.  I used to get upset about soap gremlins but you have to realize that if you make soap long enough and/or try new things… sometimes you’re going to have a batch that goes nuts.  It’s easier to laugh about it and know that you’ve learned from it, than to regret it and pine for the soap that never was.

9.)  Is there something not many know about you?  
     Something that people may not know is how much of a role that music plays in my soap making.  When I make YouTube videos, I don’t allow the music to play in the video (hello, copyright!), but the vast majority of the time, once everything is measured… I pull up my playlist and let the music play.  It helps loosen me up and get me in a creative mindset.  I make some of my best batches with music to support me… and my lab doesn’t care if I sing out of tune.  😉

For those who have read this far… Here is your reward!

Spicy Pinecone: coupon code “SORCERY15” for 15% off orders until August 31, 2017.  

Posted on

Interview with Beth Cole Byrne

Soap and Garden

There is a kind yet elusive person in the ethers of the soap community on-line… At least for me. Beth Cole Byrne. You might know her from her works with Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild or her work with Making Soap, Cosmetics and Candles Magazinebut did you know about her soap making business? I didn’t either! Along with all the other colorful details, here is Beth Cole Byrne’s interview with Sorcery Soap.

 

Was there a moment you knew soap making was for you?  

Beth Cole Byrne
Beth Cole Byrne

Interestingly enough, I started making bath and body products, but was firmly against making soap. You see, I began reading about soap making before the stick blender was in use and so many soap makers were flying by the seat of their pants, reporting their results, which were not always good! Well, after reading about it enough, I knew I had to make it myself, but I was nervous. I saw a demo at the New York State Fair and thought, “That’s what I was afraid of? I’m going to make cold process soap!”

I did and as hooked from the first batch.
Were there creative endeavors in your past that you can see contributed to discovering soap making? What do you see in hindsight prepared you for your soap endeavors? 

I have always been a creative and artistic person, but never an artist. Therefore, I was interested in a number of crafts and other endeavors. The one that got me into soap making was gardening. Early on, I discovered herbs, which led to my bath and body product making and then soap.

Are there any aspects of soap making that others might not know about you?  Probably not, I’ve been around so long, lol. I guess the fact that I am not a soap artist might not be well known. I am too impatient.

Does your activities with the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild influence your creations?

My activities with the HSCG do indeed influence my creations and not because it gives me less time. It makes me more focused on my goals so I don’t follow all of those wonderful rabbit trails that pop up. In addition, I am more focused on business and safety, correct procedures and so on, than I would otherwise be.

What prompted you to specialize in body care products for gardeners?

Soap and Garden
Soap and Garden

Gardening is in my blood. Like a dog on a scent trail, I am in the garden as soon as weather allows. It’s hugely enjoyable and rewarding, but it is hard on the body, particularly the hands. Who better to develop products for gardeners than a gardener?

You attended the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Conference in Las Vegas this year. What were your favorite aspects?

Ah, so many things come to mind. . . the people, first of all. As part of the Board of Directors (for a few more days) I worked with an amazing team getting ready for and running the conference. I was able to see friends I only see at conferences and meet new soap makers I previously communicated with online. It was so much FUN!

After that, I have to say the lotion making seminar I led was the next best thing because I love teaching, especially when I have interested and engaged students. They were incredible.

I also enjoyed the soaps entered in the Soapers Showcase; seeing the beautiful creations in person is a feast for the eyes. Catching a few seminars is helpful in motivating me to be the

Soap and Garden Body Scrubs
Soap and Garden Body Scrubs

best I can be. Meeting vendors face-to-face and sampling their wares is a treat! That is what the conference is about.

What do you want to for the future of your soaping endeavors?

I want to finish my book, first of all, but I will also work on my wholesale side and work at teaching more. 🙂

If you could change something about our industry, what would that be? 

In my many years in the industry, I have met many soapers and bath and body makers who are knowledgeable, yet kind and helpful. For the most part, people do well. Unfortunately, a

few are not quite so accommodating. If I had the influence to change that, I would. I would also like to be an influence for good practices in manufacturing, labeling and so on to continually raise the (dare I say it?) bar.

Soap and Garden Soap
Soap and Garden Soap

What is your favorite part of soap making?

I cannot decide. It is either when the oils and lye water emulsify or when I cut the soap to reveal a bar that usually looks better than I imagined it would. I am obsessed with emulsification, but a cut bar of soap is truly beautiful.

What makes you laugh about soap making?

For me, it’s how my soap rarely turns out as planned! I have illusions of grandeur, but accelerating soap or soap that won’t accelerate or colors that disappear or morph force my sense of humor.

Is there something not many know about you? Another activity that supports your soap making and endeavors indirectly?

I am Managing Editor of Making Soap, Cosmetics and Candles Magazine, I make candles, I write and copy write and edit on the side. I can’t help it; it is a compulsion.

What do you want others to know about you?

I am happily married, the mother of six and grandmother of 12. I have two grand-puppies and love animals, especially puppies and kittens. My second ideal career would be as a puppy

Soap and Garden Lotion
Soap and Garden Lotion

cuddler (I don’t however, want to clean up after them or house train). Spending time with my grandchildren is the best thing ever and is why I put up with my kids as teenagers! My husband recently sent me a meme that said, “Grandmas don’t babysit; they have play dates.” That describes me perfectly.

Ways to find Beth Cole Byrne’s soap works:

Posted on

Interview with Annie of Arachnes Demise A Modern Apothecary

Interview with Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap

Maybe a year ago I saw a video of Annie, Arachne’s Demise; A Modern Apothecary, molding soap dough where Sorcery Soap was mentioned. Her highly creative design was hindered by not have simple hand tools. I

Annie of Arachnes Demise A Modern Apothecary
Annie of Arachnes Demise A Modern Apothecary

knew nothing about her, but saw she needed something that I could provide so I sent her a Sorcery Soap Dough Kit.

It seemed logical to spotlight Annie of Arachnes Demine Modern Apothecary with her fairy-like alchemy yet grounded in a warrior goddess determination.

What piqued your interest about soap? 

My journey into soap making has been a long and drawn out one. I first started my Etsy shop in 2012. I had a wide, and frankly quite random, assortment of offerings. Embroidered pillows, coin purses and hair bows, but also soap, other bath and grooming products and eventually mineral makeup. All I knew at that point was that I wanted to make stuff, and if people bought the stuff, well that was a bonus. I thought the idea of making my own soap, specifically Castile soap, would be not only fun but something that would treat my skin well, too. 

Describe the moment when you knew soap making was for you.

Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap
Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap

Before I made my first batch I had read every book at the library on soap making. I researched essential oils, carrier oils and butters, and various herbs and natural ingredients, but, cold process still intimidated me so I bought the Castile shreds from Bramble Berry. I decided I would make milled Super-fatted Castile soaps. I was in love with my plain looking soaps.

I finally tried cold process about a year and a half later. Of course, it was no where near as scary as I expected it to be. I altered my line up of soaps to reflect my new technique. At that point I was not selling any sewn items, but  still struggled with an over extended inventory and really had not settled into where I wanted my shop to go. I was attempting to take my uncolored “boring” soap and take it to another level.

I was making cold process for over a year I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a nice tall and skinny mold with a silicone liner. I had been using mostly individual cavity molds. That was truly a game changer for me! I was able to try out new designs and techniques; most of all I was having success that I hadn’t experienced in all my years of soaping and attempting different designs. I really began to enjoy the challenge of a new technique. It forced me to understand my soap on a deeper level. The more I learned, the more fun I began to have. 

What is your favorite part(s) of making soap and why? 

I love the challenge because it’s incredibly satisfying for me to achieve something. So, when it goes well and my soap turns out just how I want it to, it makes up for all the attempts along the way. I also love that I have a functional piece of art, even with the ugly ones! 

Who or what do you look to for inspiration for your unique soaps?  

I can find inspiration in practically anything. Whether it’s the cup of tea I’m drinking, the colorful pile of clothes hangers on the floor, or a Design Seeds color scheme, it can be as simple as that. Sometimes a soap is planned out for a year before I even attempt it and other times I am so struck with inspiration that I drop everything to make that soap. Lately I’m really inspired by Mama Bass Handmade Soaps, Euphoria Soap Works, and L3O Soaps. I find that when someone is inspired you can feed off that creative energy and come up with something all your own. All of their soaps just put me in the mood to create! 

Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap galaxy
Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap galaxy

Are there any aspects of soap making that others might not know about you? 

There isn’t much about my soap making life that I keep private. Let’s see… I’m somewhere between 150-200 batches under my belt. I didn’t start making soap that was not Castile until last year. I also really enjoy making liquid soap and cream soap paste and have been doing it a lot more often lately. 

How often do you make a youtube video?

I had stopped making videos there for a while, but I’m trying to get back into it again. I don’t have a schedule to it, but it would probably be beneficial to implement one. Typically I make a video every time I make a soap that I feel is worthy of sharing. My goal with getting back into YouTube would be to make more tutorial style videos, actually going into my recipe creating process and hopefully teaching the viewer something new. I’m hoping I can publish at least four videos each month.

What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?

I’ve gotten up early to cut into fresh loaves many times; the customers that keep coming back for more, stocking up when I have sales, and constantly supporting me – those people make getting out of bed to make soap pretty awesome, too. 

What do you do that supports your soap making, creatively? Are there other things you do that support your love of soap making?

Annie of Arachnes Demise Shea Butter
Annie of Arachnes Demise Shea Butter

Living in such a connected world, it was a combination of soap making and the internet that happened to have me cross paths with a woman in Ghana by the name of Ajike. She’s the founder of a women’s center in rural Savelugu, Northern Ghana where they produce unrefined Shea butter by hand. I knew I just needed this Shea butter for my soaps so I ordered 50 kg. I shared this news with my followers on Instagram, a lot of which are soap makers, and many people were interested in this Shea butter as well. I took a risk and bought another 500 kg.

Shea Queen Fuseina was in charge of my order. The Shea nuts are sun dried, crushed and roasted, then ground into a paste and boiled. The paste is then kneaded by hand for several hours adding only water to remove the bits of Shea nut from the butter. After the butter has been separated from the impurities it is heated again and strained, then stirred by hand again until it becomes creamy. Having the luxury of seeing my Shea butter created from start to finish, by hand no less, was absolutely incredible. The Shea Queens working at the center were able to purchase books, pencils, and other learning materials for the school in the village with our groups purchase, too. Every product I make with this Shea butter and every order I get from fellow soap makers and crafters helps bring it all full circle and I’m really grateful to have been a part of that. 

 What were your hopes for your soap business?

I did start this business with the hopes that it would create livable income… Eventually. I quit my day job in January 2014, which in hindsight was too early. While I’m certainly no millionaire, I have heat, electricity, a reliable car and a full tummy so I’m not complaining.

I will say that the majority of my income isn’t even from soap. I manufacture beard products for a company called Mr. Rugged.  I make a mud mask for a company called Spa’s Premium. I work with the same guy for all of these

Mr Rugged Pump Beard Oil Conditioner
Mr Rugged Pump Beard Oil Conditioner

products. He came to me with a few comparable products in mind and asked if I could create something similar, but not exactly. He wanted to chose the ingredients. Mr. Rugged Bold Beard Balm was born and I’ve produced over 5,000 units since December 2014. I was 7 months pregnant at the time and in a serious financial dilemma. It’s hard to say what this business would be today if it weren’t for that opportunity that has blossomed into many others. If I had to guess I’d probably be making ten bucks an hour in a dead end job while I paid the equivalent on eight bucks an hour to a day care facility with zero time or energy to spend on Arachne’s Demise. I am truly and deeply grateful for what I’ve been able to build this business into and my ability to do it all while staying close to my daughter! 

Do you have concerns and/or hopes for the soap industry?

I hope the soap community continues to flourish and build each other up. Most (99%) of the people I’ve come into contact with over the internet through soaping are true gems and I’m happy to be a part of that community. I don’t have a group of people like that around me in the real world.

If anything were to concern me it would be the quality and source of our ingredients. One of the many things that importing Shea butter has taught me is that I really have no idea where the rest of my ingredients come from. It’s hard not to assume the worst when I find a great deal on something. I learned the hard way, it is very very expensive when done ethically and in small batches. That being said, I’m really taking a step back and reevaluating where I purchase my ingredients. I still have a budget to mind, but utilizing things like local animal tallow have made a big difference. 

What do you want people to know about your work?

I’d love for people to know that by supporting me you really are making my dreams come true and quite literally helping me dig myself out of poverty. Every purchase, review, nice comment and is noticed and appreciated! It fuels me to push my boundaries and try new things.

What are your favorite parts to making soap? 

Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap
Annie of Arachnes Demise Soap

I love a good fragrance oil! My favorites are the ones that just scream out a color scheme when you smell them.

I’d have to say my favorite part is planning out a specific soap. For example: every now and then I get an inquiry about a custom loaf. These are my favorite! I will immediately go down and see what I have in stock, asking what sort of scents they like, color schemes, any skin sensitivities or allergies. I absolutely love these custom batches! 

What makes you laugh about making soap? 

I’m at a point where I feel like every disaster has already happened, until a new disaster happens. Luckily I’m also at a point where that makes me laugh now, instead of scream. 

What do you want readers to know about you or your soap making business?

I’ve got one potentially huge idea, and a few little ideas bouncing around my head and at least one of them is almost guaranteed to happen so stay tuned!

Instagram @arachnesdemise 

YouTube 

Etsy 

Amazon

Instagram handles for soapers I mentioned as inspiration Mama Bass Hand Made Soap @soapgirl62 @l30soaps

More on the Ajike Shea Centre 

Posted on

Interview with Katie White from Royalty Soaps

Royalty Soap

When I became interested in soap making I watched Katie White’s youtube channel with intensity (before she became Carson). Katie is funny, charming and delightful AND I was learned about soap. That is magic, to teach without someone knowing they are being taught. Katie sprinkles magic in all she does and has a unique voice that is not lost in all her activities.

Katie has accomplished much and has a generous heart; because of this I wanted to highlight her. Here she is: Miss (now Mrs.) Katie White – Carson from Royalty Soaps! 

 

When did you know soap making was for you? 

Royalty Soaps
Royalty Soaps

I was first introduced to soap making when I was about 11 but didn’t experiment with cold process until high school when I took a class at my home school co-op. I had read “Soap: Making it, Enjoying It” by Ann Bramson a year or two prior and I was extremely excited to try it. While I can’t remember exactly what my first soap was (pretty sure it was just a scented, uncolored batch poured into a PVC pipe) I do remember that cutting that loaf with my kitchen knife, feeling pleased as punch, and thinking “I want to make 50 of these!”. By the end of the semester, I knew I wanted to do soap making as a career.

How did you create your signature style soaps? (Not the specifics, but how did this come about?)

I had watched Karen from Eden’s Secret pipe soap cupcakes and I loved the foody appearance of bath products in general. I figured there was no reason I couldn’t pipe onto the top of regular loaves and cut them up like normal so I made a few batches with the piping tips I had on hand and a recipe I found online and was hooked. From then on I worked at perfecting my piping recipe and quite frankly was never interested in anything but high tops from there on out!

Royalty Soaps
Royalty Soaps

What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making? 

I love that each batch is different no matter how many loaves of soap you make. It makes every day feel like a brand new adventure.

What were your hopes for creating your soap business?

Royalty Soap’s started as a way for me to fiscally maintain my growing hobby. I started the business aspect at 17-years old and was hoping to save enough money to buy a used car and maybe set a little aside for whatever future I might have as an adult living outside of their parent’s house. As I continued to grow, I transitioned from hobby to very small business with the intention of reaching more people with soapy love and providing an affordable luxury. I feel I have achieved my ultimate goal and for that I’m very grateful. On a smaller scale, I also hoped to be interviewed for the Soap Queen Blog, work alongside one of my favorite suppliers, and reach 10k subscribers on YouTube. I’ve seen all these come to pass so everything from here on out is sprinkles on top! J

What are your favorite parts of soap making? 

Royalty Soaps
Royalty Soaps

I LOVE mixing the micas into the raw soap batter, piping the tops and putting in the embeds (of course!), removing the first cut bar, and collecting the products that have been purchased to put in boxes!

Do you have concerns and/or hopes for the soap industry?

My main concern for the soap industry is the drive for financial success becoming more important than kindness among peers, honesty with customers, and giving others the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen the internet soap community become more competitive and petty over the last few years but my hope is that we will revert to being a community of friendly, helpful individuals with a true passion for our craft and dedication to supporting others.

What do you want people to know about your work? 

My work is labor of love. It takes a LOT of time to create my artisan soap loaves and I dedicate hours to each one, thinking about every individual bar and holding it to “royal standards”. I want people to know that when they purchase from me, they will receive a gift worthy piece of soapy art that I created because I love what I do and want others to feel happy inside. That’s also why I publish YouTube videos, to bring others joy and hopefully brighten up their day with a little silliness and a whole lot of pretty!

What are your favorite parts to making soap? (Colors, fragrance oils, research, whatever inspires you.)

I’m a HUGE fragrance oil junky. I like to think I’ve probably smelled 50+ vanilla variations and have way too many in my storage area. Fragrances are my favorite but a close second are vivid colorants. I’m not a fan of micas that require you to dump the whole bottle in for a decent shade to appear. I want to be able to add a teaspoon to a large bucket and it color the whole thing turquoise. When I find that level of pigmentation, it makes my heart sing! haha

Are there things about soap making that you hope to pass on to your children?

Oh, absolutely! Soap making requires dedication, determination, a good work ethic, patience, and a love for your art, all of which I think are essentials for children to be exposed to. Of course I intend on using soap making as a science lesson too! There are so many different things this craft teaches us and hey! Maybe if we’re lucky, Royalty Soaps’ will become a family business. J 

What makes you laugh about making soap?

I would say soap’s ability to go wrong even when you think you’ve done everything right. Instead of getting angry when a soap I’ve made five times already decides to separate and never get back together again, I laugh in its face and try again. It’s a constant war it would seem. It also gives me a giggle every time I think about how much attention my soap gets, especially on YouTube. I still don’t fully understand why it’s so entertaining to watch someone else make something you clean your body with, but apparently it is and that baffles me while making me laugh too!

 

What do you want readers to know about you or your soap making business?

You can find me over on my blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter, Instagram and purchase my products in my Etsy shop! Also, I have a special coupon for the Sorcery Soap blog readers!

Type in “SORCERYSOAP” at checkout for 10% off any order with no minimum purchase!

Watch Katie work with her Sorcery Soap Creations here:

Posted on

Interview with Carrie Thornsbury from Nurture Soap Supply

NURTURE SOAP'S 25:43 TYPE FRAGRANCE OIL

Most soap makers take such great care in their creations that understanding how our ingredients are sourced, researched and affected before they arrive adds to our pool of knowledge.

Last month I had the opportunity to interview Carrie Thornsbury from Nurture Soap Supply. Nurture Soap Supply supplies almost everything. This interview took a month to complete, not just because Carrie has a business to run, but also because she gave measured, but still enthusiastic responses. (Read the entire interview to receive your sorcery coupon for Nurture Soap.)

Nurture Soap Supply

What prompted you to look into how micas and fragrance oils were made?

Carrie Thornsbury
Carrie Thornsbury

I’m more concerned with how they perform in certain mediums – particularly soap. I had started testing micas for soaps many years ago, when there were no bright mica colors available for them. I carefully sourced suppliers around the world and tested hundreds of colors. This was the way I learned about different color additives and how they performed in high pH. There were no other companies to follow and no one to guide me, so I learned through trial and error. I am still convinced that this is the best way to learn, even though it can be very frustrating at times!

I started get interested in fragrances about 2 years ago; At first my interest was out of necessity. Many other companies were starting to sell colorful micas, and I knew that to remain a viable competitor in the marketplace I would have to diversify my offerings. At that time our business was dependent on micas and molds, but we needed to offer something more so our dependence on these products was lessened. When I first started buying fragrances I was more concerned about the smell than performance. This was a huge mistake!

Some of the fragrances didn’t perform well in soap at all, and I had to get myself together and start researching and testing more. I started sourcing from several different companies and testing the fragrances very thoroughly in soaps.

Fragrances at that time bored me and didn’t look forward to testing them like I did colors. It wasn’t until a customer sent me a sample of 25:43 (Lush Dupe fragrance) that I really started to love fragrance. It was the perfume that changed my life! Before I received the sample of 25:43.  25:43 was like a concerto for my nose! There were so many notes and once the perfume was on the skin it developed into something more wonderful than out of the bottle. It had depth and richness and it was beautiful. This fragrance sang to me! It wasn’t until then that I developed a deep appreciation for scents.

What do you look for when researching a micas and/or fragrance oils?

There’s so many things to look for! The first thing I look for now is stability in soaps. I test everything very thoroughly and make sure it will perform in a way that is satisfying for other soap makers. I also verify the integrity of the suppliers. If I start seeing rapid changes in ingredients on the MSDS sheets I am alarmed. One supplier even accidentally sent me an MSDS with animal testing results, even though they have a no-testing claim on the front page of their website. For Nurture Soap Supply, it’s not just about how the colors perform but how they are sourced and the stability and trustworthiness of the manufacturer. We are very choosy about who we work with.

Fragrances are the same. We have a very close relationship with the fragrance lab and we help each other as much as we can. To build trusting supplier/client relationships is so important to Nurture Soap Supply. When this kind of relationship is strong the communication is also strong and this is important to product stability and development.

What are some things to be aware of when purchasing a new mica?

This is a great question!  Depending on the product application, you should be aware of how the mica will perform. If your bright blue mica contains ferric ferrocyanide as the coloring agent, your beautiful blue soap you planned will go tan or fade completely almost immediately. The same is true for carmine. Carmine makes a beautiful pink color in micas, but will fade to nothing in soaps. We don’t carry carmine-containing micas because it is not vegan or cruelty free. Many people believe that reds used in soap might contain carmine. This is just not true. If you have a mica with carmine as the coloring agent, it will fade in soap in about 5 minutes. Reds that stay bright in soap don’t contain carmine or they would fade.

There is also a lot of misconception about mica being natural. 99% of the micas used for coloring soaps are naturally mined. For some reason there are many that believe that micas are lab-created. If a mica is synthetic, the label information will contain ‘synthetic mica’ or ‘fluorphlogopite mica’ or other common synthetic mineral compounds. However, just because a mica is naturally mined does not make it natural. The color additives used to color micas are lab-created such as ultramarine blue and several colors of oxides. This, in my opinion, makes them not natural. As we all know, the term ‘natural’ is up to interpretation, since there is no regulated use of the term.

In purchasing micas for soaps, it is important to read the description to see if the mica is soap stable. There is nothing worse than make a masterpiece in soap and having it fade to an unwanted color. Also, be sure to verify the mica is approved for the use that you are intending. For example, if you are making lip balms be sure that the mica is approved for use on lips. The best resource to use if you’re unsure is the FDA color tables located here: https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/IngredientNames/ucm109084.htm

How do you choose a fragrance oil?

It completely depends. First, I will smell the fragrance and see how I like it. Then I pass the bottles around to the employees and see how they like it. It’s good to get impressions from other people, because smell is so subjective. There are times that I don’t like a fragrance, but will carry it anyway because I know other people will. A great example of this is fragrances containing indole an ingredient in Jasmine fragrance. I can’t explain how I much I abhor indole, but other people love it. Some people think it’s the greatest thing in the world.

The second thing I do is test the fragrance in soap. I use our 25 cube mold for testing and had my husband build a wooden surround with a clear lid for me. I love this mold. It makes 25 testers at a time weighing about 3 ounces each. I take notes on discoloration, acceleration, etc. and when I un-mold the soaps I place them in a special spot to let them cure. If the fragrance passes the cure test and still smells great they eventually make it on to our site. With that said, however, I do choose to carry a few fragrances that accelerate or might act wonky because they are that good.

These fragrances should be used in melt and pour or bath bombs. These are the scents that have many layers and depth just like 25:43 I mentioned before. They are magic in a bottle. I love, love, love them! If a fragrance is like this, I note it on the site and on the label of the bottle as well.

Can a fragrance oil or mica or oxide go bad?

Yes they can. If wet ingredients are added to a mica it can grow bacteria just as anything else would. It is important to keep micas dry to prevent any nasties from growing in them. As long as they are sealed and stored properly there will be no issues. Fragrance oils are a different story. Oils can go rancid, including fragrance oils. It’s important to keep them in dark containers and in a cool place. Good places to store fragrances are in a cabinet that remains closed unless you are taking something out. The darker the space and the cooler the place the better. My fragrance oils for personal use are stored in my basement in a cabinet. This kind of place is ideal. If a fragrance is getting more than a year old, you will want to check it often to ensure it’s not rancid. It’s also important to buy only the amount that you will use within one year to prevent any issues.

Why are some fragrance oils not body safe?

Oils that are not body safe have a high level of aromatic compounds that are irritating to the skin. The IFRA rates will often be low on these fragrances, even for soap. Often these fragrances have spicy elements such as cinnamon or clove. These types of fragrances are best suited for products that don’t come into contact with skin, such as air fresheners or candles.

What is your favorite part of soap making?

Everything! When I was young and other girls were asking for dolls, I was asking for chemistry sets. I would stand in the kitchen and mix different ingredients together just see what would happen. I’m probably lucky I haven’t blown myself up by now.

Soaping incorporates all the things I love dearly: nature, chemistry, and creativity. When I first started making soap I was in a miserable spot in my life. Making soap was incredibly healing for me. It gave me something to look forward to and I would get so excited.

There is something spiritual for me about making soap and that’s the thing I love most about it. It’s the aspect of creation and making something beautiful from seemingly random ingredients. To me, soap will always be amazing. It’s something I will never grow tired of, because it’s always different.

What do you want the readers to know about you or Nurture Soap Supply? 

Carrie Thornsbury and Family
Carrie Thornsbury and Family

Nurture Soap is my life, my heart, and my everything. It encompasses everything dear to me – Family, close relationships, giving back to the soaping community – Everything! Nurture was started out of a 10 x 10 room, and was started because I need a good mold and wanted pretty colors for soaps. Upland Soap Molds had recently gone out of business, and there was no place to buy a mold at a reasonable price. I had a little 2.5” x 9” mold from Upland. I wanted another one and couldn’t get it! When Nurture very first started, this was the first product we offered- Our 2.5 pound soap mold.

At the same time, I started testing colors. I was using neons at the time for bright soaps, but I didn’t really like them. I wanted bright micas because they performed better. I started sourcing micas from all over the world and testing to see what worked and what didn’t. The first colors we offered were the Rainbow Mica Set – 7 colors for soaps.

Soon more companies were seeing that we were selling a lot of our colors, and others started selling them as well. We saw the need to expand our product line and started offering more micas for soaps. My little 10 x 10 room wasn’t cutting it, and I expanded into a 13 x 13 room! Yay Nurture! We also started offering our 5 pound mold.

Soon after this I realized I needed to hire an employee or two. I also needed a bigger commercial location. Nurture was growing at an exponential rate and had become a force of its own. “I” wasn’t Nurture anymore. Nurture was something that we cared for and became like a child to me. I was watching my baby grow up! I still equate Nurture to a child. I cherish it and nurture it and watch it grow into something more beautiful than I ever imagined.

Our company is completely grassroots. It was built from the ground up with innovative ideas born out of necessity. There were no other companies selling similar products at the time and countless hours of research and dedication went into sourcing what we had to offer. Many other companies followed in our footsteps, but we were the original. This does give me a sense of pride, and having to test so diligently also gave me a depth of knowledge (of colors especially) that many don’t possess. When you have to work hard for something it tends to be more and mean more. Perhaps that’s why Nurture means so much to me!

Behind the scenes, Nurture is run much like a cooperative. My husband and I don’t get paid more than our highest-paid hourly employees, and we get paid for 40 hours when we often work 60-70 hours per week! We know happy employees means more productive employees, and this trickles down to customers and translates into better customer satisfaction. It’s very important to me to keep Nurture Soap a happy company. In my eyes, a happy company corporate culture with a family-like atmosphere equates to success.

Nurture is my dream come true!

Carrie of Nurture Soap Supply offers this coupon:

Use ‘sorcery’ for 10% off all items in our store. The coupon may be used 1 time per customer and is good indefinitely.