News / Economy

Make-Your-Own Soap Entrepreneurs Clean Up

Make-Your-Own Soap Entrepreneurs Clean Upi
|| 0:00:00
X
Faiza Elmasry
November 05, 2012 6:42 PM
Soap is a product that people need and use virtually every day. A ready market like that has inspired some entrepreneurs to make soap at home and sell it locally. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.

Make-Your-Own Soap Entrepreneurs Clean Up

Faiza Elmasry
Soap is a product people need and use virtually every day. A ready market like that has inspired some entrepreneurs to make soap at home and sell it locally.  

Some of these handmade soaps can be found at Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts in Frederick, Maryland. They include little soaps for children, shaped like watermelon slices, cupcakes, ducks and building blocks.

“Each soap comes with a little prize," Dancing Bear’s Joanna Rizzo says. "And the kids want to get the prize out of their soap, so they'll wash and they'll wash and they'll wash until they get that Lego out, or whatever it is that's in that soap.”

Rizzo says the soaps from the SoapPrizes company are popular with her customers, who become even more interested when they learn the products are made locally.

“We'll always tell them they're started by this wonderful girl named Julia,” she says.

That's Julia Schillaci, a seven year old who wanted to start her own business.
SoapPrizes handmade soaps on display at Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts in Frederick, Maryland. (VOA/A. Greenbaum)SoapPrizes handmade soaps on display at Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts in Frederick, Maryland. (VOA/A. Greenbaum)
x
SoapPrizes handmade soaps on display at Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts in Frederick, Maryland. (VOA/A. Greenbaum)
SoapPrizes handmade soaps on display at Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts in Frederick, Maryland. (VOA/A. Greenbaum)

“I just wanted to see how it was like," says Julia, who makes the soaps with her mother. "I also wanted to get ready for when I really have a real company, when I’m a grown-up. I do like when we get to take the soaps out of the molds and see how they look. The best part is if the soap doesn’t look the best, you melt it down and make it again.”

Beth Schillaci founded SoapPrizes with her daughter last year. The marketing expert saw it as an educational opportunity for Julia.

“Business isn’t easy. There's not always sales coming in," Schillaci says. "How do we get more sales? How do we introduce more products to keep it interesting? She’s learning about money, as well. We can’t spend money we don’t have. We can try this new mold, but we need to sell this much more to do that.”

It has been a learning process for mother as well as daughter.

“A lot of trial and error," Schillaci says. "We had a lot of soap around the house to use that wasn’t ready to be sold. So it took a while to get the product the way we wanted to.”

Schillaci says their goal is to constantly improve the product, making them as natural and organic as possible.

Making an all-natural soap bar is what inspired army veteran Ken Stopinski, 48, to start Alexandria Soap Works two years ago.

“I started researching a little bit more about how do you make real soaps," he says. "And I've come to find out real soaps are made with natural oils. So I did a little bit of testing and after maybe six months or so, I had a formula that I perfected.”

Stopinski’s formula includes water, sodium hydroxide and three types of oil: coconut, palm and olive.

“Each one of those three oils have different textures," Stopinski says. "Some have cleansing properties, some have conditioning properties. Some have actually properties that harden the bar, which are good.”

After mixing the ingredients, Stopinski pours the blend into a wooden mold.

“Then it’s wrapped up and it sits maybe overnight," he says. "Then, the next morning, I take it out and let it cool down for maybe 30 minutes before I can cut it.”

He cuts one large block of soap into 22 bars, and sets them aside for two months.

“You’re waiting for the water to evaporate," he explains. "That makes the bar a very nice, hard bar.”

At first, Stopinski gave his soaps as gifts to friends and acquaintances who urged him to start selling them.

With a passion for their product and a head for business, small soapmakers are cleaning up.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7718
JPY
USD
107.32
GBP
USD
0.6125
CAD
USD
1.0974
INR
USD
60.919

Rates may not be current.