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
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7225
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5953
CAD
USD
1.0982
INR
USD
60.349

Rates may not be current.