Back in 2007 I was a full time IT Recruiter in Toronto and was working long hours in an industry that had become nearly 100% phone and computer work. I missed the one on one interaction and relationship development that was a main part of my job in the beginning of my recruiting career. I started being attracted to making things with my hands. I was knitting a lot, learning to bake bread, gardening and so on but still wanted more. I was in Chapters one day looking for more knitting patterns when I came across a book about soap making. I sat on the floor in Chapters reading the book fascinated. So I bought it and read it in its entirety that day.
I was a little bit scared about working with lye at first. The warnings about the dangers of lye, the stories about the disasters with soap batches worried me. So I started with melt and pour, using fancy molds, bright colours and scents. Everything was cosmetic grade and so many of the recipes I was reading called for them, so I figured it OK. As I researched more about soap and handmade soap I learned that I could make all natural soap using only vegetable oils, natural botanicals and essential oils. YES. This is what I want to do. So I took all the precautions in working with lye - gloves, goggles, vinegar near by and dove in.
My first batch of cold processed soap was one made with 100% olive oil. It took forever for me to get the oil to turn to a saponified substance so I could pour it into the molds. The next day it seemed really soft, in fact many days it seemed it would never turn into a solid bar. I checked on it every day and finally in 8 weeks it was soap!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was hooked. I ordered more books, had my husband make wooden molds, purchased more lye and vegetable oils and our kitchen became a soap lab/ manufacturing plant and our dining room a storage facility and the bathrooms the testing lab. If you came to our house or if I went to yours - you got soap. I researched and created recipes and tested and finally started packaging soap and selling it at an artisan co-op in Port Carling and at craft sales.
In 2010, we decided to move to Westport. We sold our house in Toronto and put our cottage up for sale. Very quickly we found a house we loved, well should say a property we loved. The house needed total renovation. It was a lot of work but now we live in a beautiful house on a lake outside of Westport. We’re very happy here. Now I make my soap in the laundry room in the basement, I cure and store the soap in the storage area of the basement. I have an office also in the basement where I display my soaps.
I’m having so much fun going out to farmers markets, craft sales and shops to sell my soap. I love meeting people; chatting with them about my soap and ingredients, seeing their reactions to my soap, what they pick up and smell, and buy and buy again. During this process I decided to make my soap and products with organic vegetable oils. This is a big step because some of these oils are literally double the price of non organic oils. I decided I wanted to make the highest quality soap which means using the best ingredients. I don’t fuss on making fancy soap shaped like cupcakes etc. my goal is to make a bar that is good for your skin. I have a good variety of soaps that are great for dry skin, another variety for normal skin and a few for oily skin. I’ve just started making a shampoo bar and am going to produce a laundry stick and dog shampoo as well. As I said I’m hooked!! I love it! I love buying as much of my ingredients local such goats milk, honey, hemp and sunflower oil. I love creating new recipes. And I love hearing from you, learning what products you would like. For example, I created the Activated Charcoal Soap because I was asked about a teenager soap for problem/acne skin. I continue to read a lot about soap and ingredients. I always will, the information available is endless.
Thank you for reading about my soap beginnings!