Returning to Handcrafted

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Until the early 1980s almost every bathroom had a few bars of soap… commercially made, bought in bulk from the grocery store.  TV commercials advocated virtues to using these bars of soap, and fed us a myth that if we used that soap we would develop special qualities…. beyond clean and fresh.  It was the heyday of brands like Irish Spring, Dial, and Dove.  Bar soap dominated the market, and we all used them.

Then it happened – the advent of the liquid soap movement, and the antibiotic soap movement saw the ever expanding shelf displays of bottled liquid soap, of antibacterial soap.  The media whipped a frenzy of thoughts about how much bacteria was out there, and how we need to sanitize, to bomb our skin with antibacterial soaps.  And we did.

But something began to occur in the market over the last 10 years.  Little by little people have begun to realize how drying, damaging, and not good for the skin these liquid chemicals are.  Chemicals…. yes that has become a concern to a growing portion of the population leading  to a swing back to old fashioned ways.  Old fashioned handcrafted products that do not have all the chemicals, or make all those chemical claims.  Handcrafted in small batches, cold processed soap has become a favored choice for clean…  But why?

1. There is a desire to free ourselves of chemicals – Our cold processed soap is simply the blend of vegan, and often organic oils, blended with essential oils (they give the fragrance),  botanicals (like lavender buds, rose petals, herbs) and sodium hydroxide (also known as lye) to create the saponification process.  Saponification simply means the process of oils (which are acid) mixing with lye (which is a base) to solidify, neutralize, and leave us a hard cake or bar of soap.  No preservatives, or added chemicals

2. Allergies, skin concerns, health issues – A side affect of the chemical explosion in soap, shampoo, and even food has resulted in a sharp rise in allergies, and various skin issues.  Returning to handcrafted allows the ability to avoid possible irritants.

3. We want to go back to buying and supporting local business – In the last decades of the 20th century there was a sharp rise in national brands…  Large companies having products in every nook and cranny of the nation.  We saw that in retail chains, restaurants, and products.  Everyone in America can name at least a dozen national brands for products… but what about that amazing local product?  Often either it was bought out by national brands, or it could not compete and just died out.  We like supporting those people who live in our neighborhood, are sensitive to our regional likes, and needs.  And we want to keep the economics here…. which is untrue of national brands.

4. We long for the simplicity and nostalgia of the past – Shaving is an example that is easy to see.  Since we began marketing our shaving soap (which is a cold processed formula of soap with a bentonite clay added to make the skin smooth, and the razor glide over it easily) we have discovered a growing demand for it.. and for the tools to go with it – bowls, and brushes.  There is a kind of romantic nostalgia about the act of lathering up the soap with a brush, and of applying it.  Absent of chemicals, we have had reports that razors do not degrade as quickly… side benefit of longer razor life complements the chemical free, and nostalgic connection to the past.

5. We are looking for and desire to support quality handcrafted items – There is a deepening understanding of the value of hand made…a quality not found in mass produced goods.


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