Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Glorious Soap

Fine soap is truly one of life's great pleasures...like fragrant flowers, good chocolate, the laughter of children. Good soap satisfies the senses: touch, with the feel of sleek lather, silky bubbles, and clean skin; scent, with all the options of fruits, flowers, spices, and blends; sight, with swirls and curls, opacity and translucency. The touch, sight, and scent of a good bar of soap is a balm to the soul.
I am fortunate to make good soap, to always have access to fine soap. I find myself looking with pity at those who throw a mega pack of some ECS (evil corporate soap) into their grocery cart, with no idea what they are missing. As much as I enjoy a warm shower in just about any circumstance, knowing the shower promises soap with beautiful fragrance, abundant lather, that provides happy, nourished skin, transforms a mundane day.
I am fortunate to have developed a following for my soaps, to the point where even though I no longer have a storefront, I have people who track me down, and buy their old favorites, and test the new offerings.
I am also fortunate to have retained a good wholesale account and a B&B account back in North Carolina, where this whole hobby evolved into a small business with a life of its own. (Visit Ann's Tiques in Littleton, or stay at The Ivy B&B in Warrenton.)
And thanks to the internet, I am fortunate to be part of a community of soapmakers who care, share, tip, and trade.

What you see above is the result of two swaps on the Soapnuts mailing list. This spring I hosted an herbal soap swap, and just this past week, I received my share of the Ninth Annual Soapnuts State Soap Swap. I am now the proud owner of 44 bars of soapers' best efforts in formulating, creating, and packaging/presenting. Soap swaps are a bit like the cookie exchanges of old. Each participant makes and submits a soap to suit the theme, shares the recipe, and gets a soap in return from each of the other participants. Aren't they lovely? Do you have any idea what a basket of soap like this would cost in the retail world?

I've used up a few of the herbal soaps already -- they were just too delicious to resist. Still, look at this *abundance* of fine soap. I feel like a pirate with a chest of gold dubloons!

Much as I love swapping with other soapers, and experiencing new soap formulas and specialty oils, I also am lucky enough to swap soaps and lotions for dolls. Thanks to the interest of other dollmakers, I have some fine dolls in my collection, some top notch patterns and face molds, all traded for soap. Here are just a few I've received in payment for my soap-babies:

By the way, I have all these soaps in a basket so you can see the wealth and variety. However, all of these soaps WILL get used, and I would expect that those who get my soaps also use them. If you ever buy, trade or beg a soap from me, and then I find out that you are keeping it on the back of the toilet because it's "too pretty to use; I want to save it" I will personally send the hard-water gods to your house, and life will never be the same. Soapmakers will tell you that they put a lot of time and effort into developing the right, nourishing, lasting, gleaming formula, and the very idea that you would "save" it on the back of the toilet like some sort of house dust chia pet is disgusting.

Buy and use good soap. To borrow a phrase from L'Oreal, you're worth it!


Kai said...

Oooooooh! You WRITE as well as you make soap! Each of my senses came alive as I read that post! And those soaps are gorgeous! You've spoiled me forever on any soaps other than YOURS. My skin - especially my FACE - has thanked you every single day! And I agree about USING things. It drives me insane when people tuck things away in a drawer or chest because they are 'too nice to use' or they are 'saving them for something special.' They are too nice NOT to use - and TODAY is special! Good grief! Love the dolls you received! You KNOW I especially love the African doll! As Wind in His Hair said to Dances With Wolves, "Good trade!" LOL!

JudiA said...

I ADORE good soap and would never ever dream of letting ECS touch my body. I get mine from "Goodies Unlimited" -- do you know her?? -- but I'd love to try some of yours too. Do you have an Etsy shop or a listed posted on some secret website somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know, LOL!

I ALSO want to know who made those amazing dolls, especially the one of the left in the photo. They are both works of art, but that one really speaks to me. I don't know if I could have parted with it, even for soap. As Kai said, "Good trade".


Lily White said...

OH! That made me laugh so! I can just imagine you sending the hard water god off to the home of the wicked evil-doer! You know that will never be a problem at my house. Your soaps are like rich bubbly perfumed silk. To leave them sit because they're pretty would be sinful!!

Micki said...

It's amazing how a little thing like really lovely soap can mean so much! Since I've switched, I'll never go back to ECS. Thanks for a great post!