March 26, 2018
I’ve always been intrigued by the beautiful bars of soap I saw in my travels, so learning how to make soap was on my “someday” list. After I retired I took several soap classes. The combination of design possibilities, chemistry, recipe development, and making something both beautiful and useful hooked me. When I made soap I was in the zone where the rest of the world fell away. I followed Joseph Campbell’s advice and followed my bliss.
There is only so much soap family and friends can use, so I thought that starting a business would allow me to share my passion with more people while at the same time being a compelling challenge. I developed So and Soap with a travel theme and a bit of a sassy attitude, so my tag line is “impudent soaps for adventurous folks.” Each soap comes with a little story tying it to a place I’ve been or would like to go.
Early on I found out that soap making isn’t a profitable business unless you are making soap as large scale manufacturing and selling almost all that you make. At the same time I didn’t want to work as hard as I had when I was in tech. I was essentially burned out for more than 30 years.
Everyone assumes that if you have a business you want to grow it, but I decided to keep So and Soap intentionally small so I can concentrate on new designs and small batches and work as much or as little as I want. I have two online stores and I vend at about six crafts fairs a year. I send out a news letter every couple of months. If you want to be on the mailing list send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So why do I need a soap making studio? When we lived in San Jose I made soap in the garage. As time went by I was taking over more and more of the garage and my husband had less room for working on his car and his various other projects. Once we moved to Santa Cruz we had a smaller garage, so I’ve been storing my equipment and supplies in the garage and making my products in my kitchen. I’ve been keeping the finished products and packaging materials in my study. It’s been a big effort to haul in what I need, clean up, and then put it all back. And again my husband wished for more garage space for his projects.
We have some extra land on our property, so we decided to build the studio with the thought that it increases our property value and that whoever owns the home next could convert the studio into a dwelling space if they wished. My neighborhood isn’t zoned for retail, so I will make soap in my studio and sell it on Square, Etsy, and selected crafts fairs. My husband and myself have been working hard to paint and furnish the studio. I am about a week out from being able to move into the So and Soap studio!
Your guide to soapy adventures