In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Leslie Edmunds, owner of Soaring Suds Soap Co. Soaring Suds Soap Co. sells handcrafted soaps and other skin care products, is based in Munising, Michigan, and has been in business for three years.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Leslie: One day I decided to make handmade soap for my family, I was looking for a more natural alternative to the stuff you buy in the store. After I made my first batch of soap, which was a boring plain white bar, I was totally hooked.
I started buying all the different ingredients to experiment with and the ball just kept rolling until I was buried in soap. After all my friends and family had more soap than they knew what to do with, I decided to try selling it and it took off very well for me.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
L: The very first batch of soap I ever made was made with 100% coconut oil with no color and a simple peppermint essential oil. Since then, I’ve tried just about every different oil and butter you can use in soap. I settled on an oil rich recipe with Shea butter and I also add coconut milk for extra nourishment.
R: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
L: We make every product from scratch. Our soaps are made using the old fashioned cold process. We make the soap in large slabs and then have to cut and place every bar on a drying rack to cure for 4-6 weeks before it can be used or sold. All of our other products are also made from raw ingredients and hand poured, labeled and boxed.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
L: My day involves making products, packaging orders and all the day-to-day business type tasks. I would say my favorite part of the day is interacting with customers, whether it be a wholesale customer or an online retail customer. I love helping them find the best product for their needs and helping them with any questions they have.
I would say my least favorite part of the day is washing dishes, since we make everything in house, there is always a sink full of dishes at the end of the day that we wash by hand.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
L: The first place I sold my product was at my local farmers’ market.
R: Where do you sell your product now?
L: Now I sell to shops all over the US and I also have a website.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
L: I would like to expand to more boutiques and gift stores in new territories and I would also love to see my products in the Virgin Islands.
R: Do you have a special connection to the Virgin Islands?
L: My only connection to the VI is that my husband and I love to visit there every year and that’s where we got married. Someday we hope to winter there, until then we will just keep visiting every year.
R: Do you have a favorite product? If so, which one?
L: My favorite product would probably be anything in the Skinny Dippin’ scent. It just brings me back to my younger days.
R: What does the Skinny Dippin’ flavor smell like?
L: The Skinny Dippin’ smells of an exotic fruit salad on a hot summer day.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
L: My advice would be to just try it! It can be pretty scary to try something new, but you never know what it could be unless you try.
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
L: My favorite part of owning a business is hearing comments and feedback from my customers. I love hearing stories about our products helping their skin or how our shampoo bars have been a game changer in their hair routine. The reviews make me feel like I am on the right track and it keeps me pushing forward.