Monday, February 12, 2007

Why Soap making?

So why did I begin soap making? It is a question I get asked often believe it or not. It isn't a hobby you just pick up or, for most, born into or handed down from generation to generation like knitting. (speaking of which, my grandmother did teach me how to knit, but I guess that is another posting)

When I was very young, younger than my soon to be four year old, I'd venture to say even a baby, my Mom noticed that I would get rashes very often. She took me to the pediatrician who was a very famous doctor in our area at the time and proclaimed that I had eczema amongst other dermatitis type rashes and that he wanted to patch test me on all types of soaps, lotions and other topical ointments which he then proceeded to do. Turns out I was allergic to them ALL. I became one of those people who would say, I am allergic to soap and lotion. I of course, did not know any better at the time.

Over the course of the next several years I was covered literally from head to toe in some rash or another prescribed some cream, soap, shampoo, ointment, steroid cream, experimental whatever, even my uncle, the doctor, from Colombia got in on the act trying to give me some kind of relief from the itching and the scratching. I was constantly switching and changing what I used so my body wouldn't get to used to it and fight it off, which usually happened anyway. Thankfully, amazingly, I never got one of those rashes on my face.

I bought those very expensive soaps with cocoa butter or Shea butter, unscented of course, natural soaps in the natural stores with no fillers or junk added to them. I bought large varieties and if i found one that I could tolerate, I'd buy them in the case load and rotate them so that I could keep using them (I still rotate soaps, btw)

As for lotions, I could never really used them. Some pure Shea butter, which was hard to find. Some unscented stuff and some stuff i am ashamed to mentioned I used so I am blocking it out of my memory.

So, about a year after having my oldest, a friend at the time says to me lets make holiday gifts this year. I thought, well she is crafty, why not. Then she says, lets make those cookie mix jars, some homemade apple sauce, some cranberry sauce, candles and...... handmade glycerin soap. Soap?!?!? Can you make soap? I guess you can because we did and it was a hit. I got a ton of request for more soap, not much else that was in the gift baskets. which surprised me. I didn't think the Supplies we bought at Michael's were really that good so off to the Internet I went. Being the good researcher I am I found a whole lot more. Before I knew it I was making body butters, bath salts, lip balms, and really good glycerin soaps I could actually use. I even started learning how to make lotions I could use for the first time in my life. I discovered what it really was in soaps and lotions I was actually allergic to and what I could actual use on my skin. It was like it was my birthday come early.

Those first few months back in 2001-2002 when I just started this adventure I had some interesting credit card bills and tons of experiments, online conversations, classes, lessons and read a tons of information. If I was going to do this and make my own, I wanted to do it right. I make sure I speak to my raw materials manufacturers, preservatives manufacturers, packaging distributors and keep up to date with the FDA regulations. I actually still keep up to date on materials, labeling and packaging.

It is actually my sister's fault that I originally started selling my products. She took some of my body butter to work with her way back when and all the ladies who work with her wanted some. Coconut Body Butter, the first products I ever sold to non-family members. I don't even make it anymore. Perhaps I should reconsider. Anyway, from there I just started making more and more items and my little soap business was built. It is definitely a little addiction and something I can pass down to my girls and to their children.

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