Living Healthy Naturally

Handmade Soap for Sale!

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About UsIt came to pass.  Five years ago, my hubby and I embarked on an adventure that had no particular end goal, which ended up renewing us both and brings us satisfaction to this day!  It’s a very unlikely story of how sadness was turned to joy;  a death sentence was reversed, and our personal faith was made stronger.  And yet, I can’t tell you how wonderful I felt the first time I said, “I have handmade soap for sale!”.  At the time I was a full-time pharmacist most people looked at me with a funny smile and said, “Why are you doing THAT?”

Surprise Diagnosis

We each came from our own familial dynasty of stubborn minded folks who just won’t give up.  So, it was unusual that my husband actually went to the doctor because of symptoms he had been experiencing.  After initial tests and confirmatory tests and right before the end of the year holidays, his neuologist walked into the examination room and proclaimed that he was showing early symptoms of Lou Gehrig disease or ALS – better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The rug was proverbially pulled out from under us.  We were devastated; we didn’t tell our children or anyone else for that matter;  it was a diagnosis that took some getting used to.

What Do We Do?

My hubby was losing weight and getting weaker.  He couldn’t taste or smell.  His legs would collapse beneath him and he had trouble sitting in a chair. Each day was a step backward. Something had to be done!  More doctors, more tests and the answer was still the same.  Days and nights around our house were pretty gloomy.   Our research into the disease was telling us that one of the causative factors might be petrochemical exposure. Grasping at straws to do something when the diagnosis had no cure, only an end, we feverishly researched some more. our research educated us as to the items in our home that contained petrochemicals – cleaners, laundry detergent, hand soap, bath soap – are you seeing a trend here?  And a still, small voice in my head said, “Make soap and put scripture on it.”

A Great Idea

The Light Came On

Both of us being pharmacists, we had hundreds of hours of college courses in chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and the list goes on…we decided to just look into making our own soap.  The first soaps we made were laundry detergents – we weren’t quite ready to tackle the lye issue at that point.  But curiosity gave way to courage and we began to make small batches of soap in our kitchen.  Oh the messes we made!  Laughter filled our home again and we began to look forward to our soapmaking sessions where he would sit at the kitchen bar with a pencil and stab at a giant calculator to give me ingredient measurements and we (neither of us an expert) would give each other sage advice about what the other one did wrong.

Handmade Soap for Sale!

With honest trepidation we began using our soapy creations in our attempt at living healthy naturally. Later, we began giving them to our closest friends  The laundry soap we made cleaned our clothes better than the commercial detergent we had been using!  The bath soaps didn’t leave our skin feeling sticky, leave residue in the shower or tub, and it smelled soooo much better than the drugstore brand.  What we didn’t expect is that my painfully cracked heels (for which I had tried every treatment known to man) would heal and forevermore remain soft as a baby’s skin, my husbands dried, cracked fingers would no longer hurt so badly he had to wear bandaids, and we certainly didn’t expect our friends to whom we gave pounds of our soap would exclaim that this skin issue or that had amazingly gone away! After two years of trial and error (I reiterate…many messes) and at the encouragement of friends, we decided that we needed to share what we had discovered. 

First we sold our soaps at markets and antique stores until finally, one day, we decided to convert my hubby’s enormous (now unused) shop into a soaping apothecary – complete with stainless steel tables, state of the art equipment (I could finally stop making soap in disinfected half gallon milk cartons), and a kitchen for cleanups.

Conclusion

How is it possible that a pharmacist of over 50 years could discover skin’s virtual fountain of youth in a simple bar of handmade soap? Even more astonishing, how is it possible that 4 years after a devastating diagnosis we would hear, “Sir, we don’t know WHAT you have, but you DO NOT have ALS!”  A death sentence had been miraculously reversed!  Was it the change to using essential oil-laden soaps and creams, was it discarding the mass-produced laundry detergent in favor of a simple soap, was it using nontoxic cleaners around the house, was it simple faith in following what a little voice said in our heads, “make soap”?  Since those early experiments in soapmaking, I’ve become a Certified Soapmaker and continued my education in the art and science of handmade cosmetics. My husband, also a pharmacist, is still able to work full time although he continues not to be able to smell. I’ve since finally retired (which to a pharmacist it’s said – I just didn’t get refiled) and devote my days to developing products to improve skin care and then handcrafting, labeling and marketing.  We still continue to make soap and have many loyal stockists and customers. I’ve become certified in the art and science of soapmaking being one of very few in our state.  Together we’ve developed other products for skin care and health with positive results and showcased some of them at the recent Dallas Home and Gift Market gaining national exposure.  today we continue to say proudly, “I have handmade soap for sale”! And, yes, every product does have a scripture on it!

 

 

 

 

38 thoughts on “Handmade Soap for Sale!

  1. What a wonderful story – and to see that a new career or work direction in life has come out of it is extremely uplifting. 

    As a youngster (early teens) I had a terrible skin condition that came out and it destroyed my confidence (even though it was out of sight on my legs). After months of specialists one doctor suggesting using natural soap – a lot more expensive but much kinder to the skin. 

    A complete miracle at the time from my point of view – the rash I was getting was directly related to something the commercial soaps/handwashes were putting in their perfume, something chemical. 

    Do you feel that these ‘big cheese’ skincare companies add substances we will never really be aware of?

    Also – how is your natural soap business going now?

    1. Hi Chris!

      I am so sorry that you had to experience a devastating skin condition as I’ve seen children with horrible, painful and debilitating skin conditions.  Our skin is the largest organ in our body, it is intended to provide protection to everything else inside our bodies, and yet it is the most abused (unintentionally) with the use of commercial cleaning products we think will keep us healthier!

      FDA regs allow for ingredients of less than 0.1% not to be listed on labeling!  Guess there’s your answer!

      My soap business is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.  The personal satisfaction that I have from helping folks with their skin conditions far surpasses the guilt I used to feel when all I could recommend was what was available on the drug store shelves which I knew in my heart of hearts wasn’t the best solution.  That in itself is priceless.  As far as the dollars and cents of business,  I could always use a hand up!  Getting the word out has been the hardest and I’m so blessed to have found WAs training and strategies!  All the best!  

      Sharon

  2. Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing this story. I think that it is amazing that you made your own soap. I myself Love projects and crafts  like this. I think a lot of people are starting to realize  that the stuff we buy in the stores may not be the best for our health on the long run.

    It is becoming more common for people to take their health back into their own hands ( where it should be) because at the end of the day we are all responsible for taking care of the one body we have. Something as simple as the soap or detergent we use everyday could be slowly poisoning us (in an effort to be clean and hygienic). Natural is always best!

    1. You are sooo correct about natural being best.  One of the  major culprits we all (myself included before our wakeup call) incorporate into our daily lives are the things we believe make us clean (aka healthy).  That’s why Proctor and Gamble make their employees have extensive lab testing every 6 months because of exposure to petrochemicals in the making of their products (long list)!

  3. Your story is very inspiring.  The two of you never gave up in the face of devastating diagnosis and even found a solution and you are now helping others!  Yes, unfortunately it seems that modern conveniences are causing more problems for us than they solve.  We think that the health community and the government will protect us by ensuring that we are not exposed to harmful substances and you have a set a great example of using your skills, doing some research and coming up with a real solution!  Thank you for sharing your story.  

    1. Thank you Jenny!  I really appreciate your kind words…and you’re right.  If people ONLY knew!  We are a visually driven society and we take what we see in advertising as the absolute truth – I know I was guilty until our wakeup call!  All the best!

      Sharon

  4. What a lovely success story for you and your husband. It just goes to show just how bad all these chemicals in commercially bought items can actually be.

    I was amazed to read that your homemade soaps actually corrected your cracked heels and your husbands sore hands, as cracked heels are a difficult one to combat. I also found your article on the use of shea butter in soaps really interesting.

    Do you sell these soaps on your website, or only locally where you live?

    1. Hey Michel!

      Thanks for reading my article.  I was utterly amazed that with continued use my heels and hubby’s hands were healed!  It has to do with the natural moisturizers contained in the soap – my favorite is shea butter.  Sometimes I will use Mango, Coffee Butter, or Murumuru butter in my formulations because each has a wonderful naturally healing profile.  There is a link (see in underlined text) at the very end of my piece which if clicked on, will take you directly to my website.  Here’s the address:  http://www.oliomanna.com  God bless!

  5. First of all, congratulations to both you and your husband for having come out of a scary life event. Yours such an inspiring story and it’s nothing short of a miracle that your husband’s ALS is not there anymore. Reading your story, it makes me aware of all the chemicals we use daily in our home in the form of cosmetics and other household items. We unconsciously consume all these and coupled with the pollution outside, it’s not surprising why there’s a surge in cancer cases and other life-threatening ailments in today’s modern-day life. I’m sure your soaps must be really good and “healthy”. Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

    1. Thank you for reading my article and for the kind words of encouragement.  We have definitely been blessed.  I was shocked to discover all the chemicals we pollute our lives with unintentionally and now after 50 years of dispensing chemicals – I’ve made a complete turn around.  It’s such a blessing to actually be able to benefit others lives through this medium.

  6. What an inspiring story of a lovely couple. I really admire your attitude in those very tough situations. Most people just give up and got depressed in the same situation. But what you have done has a lot of valuable life lessons for us by reversing a death sentence. Wish you all the best in you life. I am also interested in your handmade soup. Where can I buy it from? Is there a way to buy directly from you?

    Thanks. 

    1. Hi Albert!  Thank you so much for your encouraging words!  There should be a link at the bottom of the article (seen as underlined text) which should take you to my website where you can purchase soap.  The bars are quite large (4″ x 4″) since I want to give my customers benefit + bargain.  Most soaps half that size will sell for $8-9.  It’s all about sharing and caring!  If the link doesn’t work, my website is http://www.oliomanna.com.  God bless!

  7. What a beautiful story. I loved reading this and felt a sense of joy with you at the outcome of your obedience to the still small voice which prompted you and had you making radical changes to effect positive results.

    The thought of inscribing scripture on the soap was  wonderful too. 

     I can only wish you every success with you bubbly business and encourage you to build on it. 

  8. wow that is amazing. you made your own soap. I wonder how it is like? is it same like the soap in stores? Would you mind inform me about the ingredients used because I really want to try it but I want to know what is used in the soap. some people may have allergies for certain ingredient.

    1. hi Kit!  

      Soapmaking is a chemical reaction called saponification that occurs when an alkali solution (lye solution) is added to a fat (can be anything from lard, Crisco, natural butters and natural oils).  The best soapmakers will use NOT make soap solely out of cooking oil or Crisco in order to make money, but will instead, use combinations of all natural oils and butters.  The most common ones used are coconut oil, Olive oil, shea butter, palm or palm kernel oil, and believe it or not castor oil (essential for the soap to have lots of lather).  That is basic soap.  The lye used in the conversion of oils to soap is COMPLETELY used up and if the soap is formulated correctly, the left over excess oils remain in the bar to moisturize your skin PLUS you have created natural glycerin.

      To that, essential oils (all natural) or fragrance oils (FDA reviews these for safety and there are guidelines for their use as they are synthetically made) or near-natural oils (synthesized in a lab due to expense in extracting the oil – for example, strawberry, which would require millions of pounds of seeds to produce a very small quantity of oil) are added to the soap base for fragrance.

      At that point, coloration can be added or not.  FDA also approves colorants which can be used in soap.

      The advantage of handmade soap is that it IS all natural or near natural (if fragrance oils are used).  Soap bars in the stores are NOT soap.  They are a chemically synthesized collection of petrochemicals and do not contain natural glycerin as a handmade soap does.  Hence, if you will carefully read the labeling they are usually called “beauty bars” or “body wash” in liquid form.

      An individual is MUCH MORE LIKELY to have an allergic reaction to store bought soap than handmade soap! Addtionally, handmade soapmaking takes advantage of the use of natural oils and butters and techniques that are cost-prohibitive in mass manufacturing.  If you click on a link in the article, you’ll see a listing of the ingredients in a Dove beauty bar and a handmade soap bar.  The proof is in the using!

      Happy sudsing! 

  9. Wow!  What an amazing story!  You’ve captured my interest and attention!  It was a joy to read this post and very inspirational. I will be scouring the rest of your site now to learn more about this phenomenon.  You will have a convert for certain.  My daughter in law as all in to the essential oils, but I just don’t know anything about them.  Your story is nothing short of miraculous and I look forward to learning more information on this topic from your posts!

    1. Hi Robin!

      Thanks for the kind words.  Guess what?  We didn’t know anything about essential oils when we started (back then they weren’t being promoted and used as they are now)..  I am constantly amazed as I learn more of the healing properties of not only essential oils, but naturals oils and seed butters from trees in Africa and Brazil/South America. All over the world there are extraordinary naturally growing plants yielding healing oils – but the cost of extraction and mass production are cost-prohibitive as compared to easily lab synthesized un-natural chemicals.

      You have encourage me to keep sharing information – and I look forward to your following our adventures in natural living!

      God bless!

      Sharon

  10. What an amazing, inspirational story! Thanks for sharing. I don’t remember who said it, but your post made me think about: “Follow the quiet voice within that tells you which way to go.” That seems to be what happened here. I’m just so happy for you and your husband. How many tries did it take for you to create the first viable soap? How did you deal with the frustration at the, I imagine, early failures? I’ve been in situations (thankfully not so dire) where all I had going for me was the quiet voice inside my head, and when I’ve heeded it, it has always worked out for me. 

    Is it possible to buy your soaps online? Outside the States?

    All the best,

    Norman

    1. Hi Norman!

      Glad you asked the question….we actually made a viable soap the very first time (and a GIGANTIC mess). Of course, the second was a massive failure and there have been a few along the way.  But guess what?  After years of making soap, I still have a bad batch and have found out that’s pretty common.  So I’m really glad the first batch went well!  In fact, it was an all olive oil or castille soap which we later found out is one of the hardest soaps to make because of the cure time!

      In my article there is an underlined link which should take you directly to my website – http://www.oliomanna.com for purchase.  I do sell wholesale, retail and online.  We could discuss shipment outside the US which is possible, I just haven’t taken the time to develop that part of my business.  But hey – we’ve come so far, that wouldn’t be a problem.

      Bless you for listening to the still small voice. Wisdom doesn’t always present itself in big bold letters and flashes of light, but in the quietness of a breeze.

      God bless!

      Sharon

  11. I loved this bubbly site. Reading it gave me  tingles of joy as I was able to share in your victory of not only overcoming illness but being obedient to that still small voice and ending up with the added bonus of an exciting new business. 

    I love the idea of inscribing the soaps with scripture, so not only will people be washed clean on the outside but they may also experience some cleansing on the inside.. 

    May the business bring success to you and glory to God. 

    1. Hey Judy,

      We are so blessed in so many ways.  It’s amazing how that still small voice guides us to places we never dreamed imaginable!  I will admit I was hesitant about following through with putting Scripture on my packages (oh me of little faith) because of business counseling and just plain fear of rejection.  It has turned out to be the best faith sharing tool imaginable and has made me bolder in sharing my story and the miracle of healing without and within.

      You’re right.  To GOD be the glory!  I would love for you to share our story with others!  

      God bless you!

      Sharon

  12. So happy for you both that you can scratch ALS off the list for your husband.  Truly disturbing symptoms…but to know he’s not battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a win.

    What an amazing journey that you have been on…not only to find some solutions with toxin-free living (and an apparent health solution)…but to be able to share those life-changing products with others.

    Chemicals, synthetics, preservatives, and drugs surround us.  Many times simpler and natural is better.  Big pharma and chemical companies paint organic and natural as being outdated and ineffective.  Bad info…and really bad Karma.

    Where  can people buy your soap?  I didn’t see any for sale on your site.  Do you just distribute locally?  or just small batches now?

    Thanks again for a heartwarming article and for sharing your faith as well as your personal victory.  All the best!

    1. Hey Tim!  

      Thanks for reviewing my article.  I agree with you on the big pharma issue…and after counting out pills for 50 years, I quit so I could devote my time to developing and making natural solutions for skin care.  What a blessing that has become to my family as well as to my community!  There are so many natural substances with healing properties out there … but they don’t make big money. Right?

      I inserted a link at the end of my story (underlined text) which can be clicked on to take you directly to my website, but it’s address is http://www.oliomanna.com.  I sell wholesale, retail and online and would to have you join us!

      God bless!

      Sharon

  13. Hi Sharon,

    Thank you for sharing your personal story here. I really connected with the success part. Where life gave you and your husband some really crappy lemons and you two still made really good lemonade. I am amazed that your husband’s diagnosis is reversed and taken back. But I am not really surprised. I have watched the affects of mass production affect millions of animals and people, in order to “put food on our table”. 

    Regarding natural cleaners and soaps, what is a petrochemical? And how widely are they used in cleaning products? I have tried a few natural house cleaners before and they just didn’t seem to clean as well. So I haven’t pursued trying to find better products to use, thinking there were no good ones out there. And that the popular cleaners (probably with petrochemicals) were really my only option. 

    I am curious to what ingredients are used as alternatives for similar effects. 

    Thanks,

    Kim

    1. Hey Kim!

      Back during WWI and WWII, there wasn’t enough rubber available from the rubber tree plantations to make tires for all the military vehicles and fuel needed during the war for the Allies. ( Prior to that the Rockefellers started refining oil in the early 1900s.) As a result, chemists worldwide set about to develop a “fake” rubber in order to make tires.  The industry boomed and now petrochemicals are found in  …gasoline, cosmetics, fertilizers, detergents, synthetic fabrics, asphalt, and plastics. All of these products—and many more—are made from petrochemicals—chemicals derived from petroleum or natural gas.  (Kerosene is also a petrochemical-imagine slathering your body with that!) 

      Cleaning products contain a LOT of petrochemicals and laundry detergent additionally contains enzymes which are so toxic that Proctor and Gamble makes their employees have mandatory lab testing every 6 months!  Mass media created the term “antibacterial” as an advertising gimmick to sell more Dial soap.

      More to the point.  All true “soap” is antibacterial (and some are antifungal) by its very nature!  If you read the labeling on your commercial soap bar, it more than likely says it’s a “beauty bar” or body wash (if it’s liquid).  We’ve been brainwashed into thinking we need “high powered” cleaning agents.  Without knowing exactly what cleaning agents you’ve tried, it’s hard to answer your question.  But the term “elbow grease” means just that … we are so used to “instant” results, we (as a population) crave that and less actual work.  

      Many of the essential oils are very capable of cleaning quite well…in fact, I actually use my handmade soap to clean my tub and shower (which also has very little buildup because of the handmade soap).  Tea tree is probably the #1 one essential oil I’ve seen in cleaning products…often referred to as Melaleuca.

      All the best!  I myself had to learn a LOT about this subject and I was just floored at what was out on the market!

      Sharon

      1. Wow. I can tell you are very educated on this subject. Love the history in how petrochemicals really started.

        Good to know about handmade soap being a bathroom cleaner?! I never would have thought that. And yes, you are right. I am among the brainwashed population.

        I think the best next step for me is to start analyzing my cleaners (all corporate household brands) and start seeking for replacements one by one.

        Thanks for sharing your widsom.

        Kim

        1. Hey Kim!
          The reason handmade soap works so well is that oil attracts oil. There are lots of natural cleaners out there! Best wishes on your selections!
          Bless you!
          SharonRPh

  14. What an inspiring story. It proves again that when two people put their heads together, anything is possible!

    There are too much unnecessary chemicals being used in detergents and it’s causing all kinds of irritations. Myself, I have sensitive skin that irritates very easy. I’ve been using special facial lotions and day cream for almost twenty years.

    Do you know why this industry keeps using these skin irritation ingredients? Is it a cost issue?

    1. Hey Jurgen.  You know the old saying that “money talks”?  Well, it does.  The natural ingredients and techniques that we use are cost-prohibitive on a mass production scale.  Additionally, chemicals made in a laboratory are much, much cheaper than purchasing a natural product that has been hand gathered, seed pods cracked open  by hand and extraction of butter or oils – by hand,  

      As long as men are focused on personal gain this will not change, unfortunately.  The solution for individuals like you with sensitive skin is to bypass the pharmacy and big department stores and focus on sourcing products using natural ingredients.  

      All my best!

      Sharon

  15. This is a story we can all relate to. Even if it’s not now, sometime later down our time line, we will. I am a big fan of handmade soap because the commercial ones make my hand dry. Since I work in the clinic, I washed my hands very often will strong chemicals and have, in recent years, make the switch to more natural based soap. 

    Actually, I am interested to know, how does one become a certified soap  maker? What type of course do you sign up for and can it be done online? Thank you. 

    1. Hi Cathy.  I’m so glad to hear that you’ve made the switch to natural!  You mentioned you work in a clinic so I thought I’d let you know that I developed an intensive cream with shea and murumuru butters for my nurse friends.  It’s absorbed into the skin, rather than just lying on top and therefore, it protects your hands through several washings. (see http://www.oliomanna.com)

      I became a Certified Soapmaker through the Handcrafted Cosmetics and Soap Guild which is the only association or organization for soap and cosmetic handcrafters that is non-profit and registered with the IRS. Membership is international.  I think I studied and worried more about passing this examination than I did my Pharmacy Boards!

      If you have more questions about the guild, do a Google search for HSCG and they have an excellent website which further explains the significance of being a Certified Soapmaker.  It’s not just an online course, because to become certified, you also have been proficient in making soap.  There’s are examination sites across the US and opportunities to study under certified instructors.

      Thanks for reading my post!  Blessings!

      Sharon

  16. I feel bad after reading your story about the disease and so on. But, I kind want to support your business since people and moving toward into natural product. So, go for it and keep making soap with natural ingredients. Natural product has huge market today so you can make it and can afford the medication for the disease. Anyway great article 🙂

    1. Oh Amer.  Please don’t feel bad for our experience….it turned out to be a wonderful blessing!  Please share our story with others and we’ll keep on making our soaps and other skin beneficial products.  If you want to see some of what we make, there is an underlined link in the article to my website.  The address is http://www.oliomanna.com

      Blessings!

      Sharon

  17. This is an amazing story! I totally agree that the toxins we are exposed to are causing many health problems and are completely curable. Your soaps sound wonderful! I hope your story and products continue to spread and help raise awareness about what we are being exposed to in everyday products around the house.

    1. Thank you so much Heidi!  I really appreciate your kind words and yes – we need to educate everyone about what we’re putting on our skin and around our homes!

      Bless you!

      Sharon

  18. What a wonderful story. I wish you every success with your soap business. I found years a ago that a certain body wash gave me a headache, now I use natural soaps.

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