It truly does take courage and creativity to own a small business and we want to take this time to shine some light on some of the fantastic vendors that will be at this months market.
Learn more about Laura Pipitone, owner of Oakley Soap Company. We can't wait to try her handmade soap and other bath products that will be available June 2nd at the WestSide Market.
Business: Oakley Soap Company
Owner: Laura Peptone
Product: Handsoap & Bathing Products
Tell us about your business, how did you get started?
This business first started as a hobby. I felt like I needed a creative outlet but couldn't find a good fit. I am not particularly artistic or crafty, and I am terrible at music. My husband pointed out I always beelined for handmade soaps and body products at stores and markets. Maybe making soap could be my thing?
After countless hours of internet research and several books later, I bought the supplies to make my first batch. I was instantly in love. Soap is something we take for granted, so to be able to take some oils, water and lye and turn it into soap felt magical. Once you start using handcrafted soap, there’s no returning to commercially made products.
I loved being able to control what ingredients went into my soaps and I loved figuring out what oils and ingredients worked well for different skin types. The more I started to evangelize the benefits of handcrafted soap and shared samples with friends and family, the more people asked if they could buy a bar.
Slowly I turned my passion into a business.
How long have you been in business?
I’m still getting my business owner sea legs. I started in the fall of 2017 by taking orders from friends and family. The response was overwhelmingly wonderful and word of The Oakley Soap Co moved quickly. I’ve now sold my soaps across the country and Canada.
What makes your product/business unique?
All my products are handcrafted in small batches by me and I’m picky about what goes into each batch. The Oakley Soap Co. offers a range of products, scents and designs that appeal to those wanting all-natural to those who want to go bright and bold and everything I make is vegan and sustainably sourced. Our suppliers are carefully selected to ensure the oils and butters we use are cultivated by workers receiving a fair wage. I am an active member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild so I can stay up to date on the best practices for handcrafted soap makers. Finally I use The Oakley Soap Co social media platforms to teach the science and process behind handmade soap. Customers get to see exactly how the products they purchase are made.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Much of my inspiration comes from pop culture. Many of my soaps have fun names that reference popular movies, shows and songs. I’ll start with quote or a character name such as “Good God, Lemon” or “Rose Tyler” and formulate a bar from there. I also get a lot of great inspiration from the luxury ingredients going into the soaps. The desire to highlight moisturizing coconut oil soap or healing calendula petals has inspired me to create products like “Snow” and” Mr. Golden Sun”.
What would you tell someone who wants to start their own business?
Don’t be afraid to jump but do be prepared to work. I spend more time on administrative tasks than I do physically making products. I don’t mind because it’s being done on my terms. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing how your product brought joy to someone’s life. That feeling makes all the late nights, number crunching and marketing research worth it.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I hope to grow The Oakley Soap Co. and establish a arge presence in stores around Cincinnati and the rest of the Midwest. I also really love talking and teaching about soap so I am working towards getting my advanced soap making certification. I will use that knowledge to teach hands on soap making classes. My ultimate goal is to have a workshop that is large enough to make my products and allow me to offer hands-on soap making classes
Where can readers find out more about your work?
All my products and my blog can be found at www.theoakleysoapco.com.
I am also on Facebook at facebook.com/theoakleysoapco.
My Instagram account is especially geared towards the soap making process. Find me @theoakleysoapco
Come meet Laura and check out all of her unique handmade soap at the WestSide Market June 2nd, from 10-4PM.