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23 Mar

Figuring it out

Posted by Wendy Ives

I set out finding ingredients and learning about their properties, their origins, business practices behind an ingredient’s origins, how the ingredients are farmed and how they are processed. There’s a lot of history behind soap making, especially the perfumes used. It took me 2 years of experimenting every day, tweaking my process and recipe to make the perfect bar of soap. I learned industry lingo, about harmful chemicals and environmentally harmful agricultural standards that are “acceptable” in body care products. I learned about what these harmful processes and products do to the natural world and to our bodies. How they can make people sick with a bunch of unidentifiable ailments. During that time, I sold my average mediocre soap to keep funding my learning, while I was on the road to the perfect bar. Every batch was better than the last. I sold at craft shows, college bookstores, and farmers’ markets.

 

Once I arrived at the perfect bar, we applied to and were accepted into the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, the biggest market on the East Coast, and most diverse in the country. It is a destination tourist attraction and a meeting place for locals to get the very best in high quality organically grown foods, all within a 30 mile radius of Ithaca. At this point, soap production became too much work for one person and Andy was ready for a job change and jumped right into the soap kitchen. He took my cake baking method of soap making and translated it into science and numbers. Every batch was exactly like the last batch. He’s an expert soap maker. He also started cutting the soap, so each bar is uniform and perfect. He’s so good at soap-making, I wasn’t needed in the kitchen anymore. That’s when we started selling our soap in retail stores. We developed a loyal following, and decided right then and there to keep up with our core values, which are so easy to let drop for a little more money.


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