Meet Andrea of Sacred Suds on Etsy. Andrea was kind enough to take time out of her busy soap making and momming schedule to sit down and answer some questions for us. I really enjoyed getting to know more about her and her soaps and I think you will too! Click on the link above to visit her delectable Etsy Shop and drop by her Blog to say hello and learn more about soap making!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm Andrea, the soap crafter behind Sacred Suds ~ Soaps with Soul and the author of Suds Blog - The soul behind the soaps. I grew up on the salt marshes of coastal Georgia, and have somehow ended up living in the frozen tundra of Minnesota with my biologist husband and my two hilarious children. I have a degree in ecology, I love to bake, and I rode my bicycle from North Carolina to Washington, DC to raise money for the DC AIDS Ride. Makes total sense that I'm a soap crafter, right?
How did you first get started making soap/what most appeals to you about it?
We were living in Maine one winter, and my skin was a scaly, papery wreck. A friend of ours gave us a bar of handmade soap, and when I tried it, and I was blown away. The soap was rich and creamy, and my skin soaked it up like milk. Standing in that hot, steaming shower, inhaling cinnamon essence, knowing someone had lovingly crafted this bar of soap, I could feel the soul in it. I began researching soap making as soon as we finished that bar. I don't think we've bought a commercial bar of soap since.
Can you walk us through the soap making process?
As with baking, soap crafting is like magic to me. It is a transformational process – you pour and mix wholesome ingredients to make a batter, apply heat (or allow the soap reaction to make its own heat, as with the cold process method), and end up with a delectable, aromatic loaf of groan-inducing goodness. YUM. With soap making, you combine fatty acids (vegetable oils, nut butters) with a strong base (lye), blend them until they come to trace (a little bit of batter drizzled on itself will leave a bump before sinking back in), then pour the thickened batter into a mold. The oils and lye react with each other chemically to produce soap and the highly valuable byproduct glycerin. For a more detailed explanation of the soap making process (with pictures!), please see my blog entry about making my Gaia pumpkin spice soap.
|Fire Cinnamon Cold Process Soap|
What product or recipe are you most proud of?
I think I am most proud of my Lakshmi soap. I formulated both the soap recipe and the scent blend from scratch, and together they make a really luxurious, skin conditioning bar that smells light, fresh, and rich, all at the same time. The lather is fluffy, and my skin feels incredibly soft and supple after using it. It also happens to be very effective magically for me, too. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of prosperity and good fortune, and every time I use my Lakshmi soap, the soap orders roll in. I wrote more in depth about that soap on my blog.
How/when did you decide to start your own business?
I am a stay-at-home mom, and as a people person, making the transition from working out in the world to staying home with babies was very challenging for me. When I started making soap for our family, I had ideas for more soaps than we could ever use, and I knew I would have to start selling them in order to buy the supplies for all of my ideas. Through Etsy, I am able to fulfill my need to interact with people while still staying home with my kids, so it's pretty perfect.
|Asharah Milk and Honey Soap|
How did you come up with your shop/business name?
All of my soaps are crafted with intention and inspired by goddesses, gods, yoga, the natural elements, and earth-based spiritual paths. My hope is that they serve as tools for customers to enjoy the sacred in everyday life. Hence the name Sacred Suds.
Where would you like to be in five years?
My five year goal is to be available to my children, who will be nearing the end of their elementary school years by then, and also to be established in a second career as a manager in a book store (I recently started working part time at Barnes & Noble, and I love it.) My goal is not to make Sacred Suds my full time career -that would be too much work! Even though I work on my shop and my soaps 40 hours a week, I would have to quadruple production and sales to earn a real salary from it. I like the place Sacred Suds is in right now, and in five years I wouldn't mind if it were in the same place or bumped up just a notch or two (as long as I've figured out how to work efficiently to fit it all in to a smaller time commitment).
|Rhiannon Lavender, Bergamot and Lemon Soap|