Squeaky Clean

Cleaning Up with Emily's Handmade Soaps

Local soap artisan Emily Davis talks about her brand that will make you smell oh so pretty.

By Colleen Williams October 7, 2016

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Image courtesy of Emily's Handmade Soaps.

We...well, okay, the author here is a soap fanatic. I love special little packages that smell delightful; that are giftable and pretty. I once worked for a man who told the tale of his first paycheck; my question: "what did you buy?" and his answer: "These expensive little soaps downtown; I just loved special soaps and could never afford them so I thought it would be a nice treat." (I always thought that was so lovely.) So when I discovered Emily's Handmade Soaps with scents like Cedarwood Orange, Mojito and the fall favorite, Pumpkin, I wanted to know a little bit more about the brand, and about Emily. 

How did you get started creating soap? Did you find products on the market weren't meeting your environmental/sensory needs?
After nearly a decade in financial services marketing I chose to “retire” when my son was born to be a stay at home mom. My son has always had very sensitive skin, so searching for a product that would ease some of his discomfort became quite a task. When I took up soap making I was relieved and pleased that I could create soap recipes with simple, natural ingredients that could benefit those that I love the most. It really inspired me to turn my hobby into a growing, thriving business!

I would imagine there is a lot of trial and error at first - is that how you came across the perfect formulation? How do you decide on scents?
Each different oil or butter brings different attributes to the soap. It’s been a lot of fun to experiment with different recipes to find the ones that have the perfect balance of creaminess, lather (I’m a big fan of big, fluffy bubbles in my soaps), and moisturizing properties. Even though I’m not vegan, I’ve formulated our line so that most of our products are. We do make some exceptions for locally-sourced honey or beeswax occasionally, but our line is overall very vegan friendly.

Most of our soaps are scented with essential oils. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I find that our region inspires a lot of scent choices. I do a lot of blending with lavender essential oil because it always reminds me of the big lavender fields on the peninsula near Sequim.

So far, you've got beautifully crafted soaps, lotions, bath bombs, scrubs and bath tea - do you have plans to expand your line, or are you good where you're at?
We have plans in the works to introduce some new bath goodies over the holiday season! Body butter and liquid soaps will be rolling out in the coming months. We also have some seasonal limited edition gift sets coming out for holiday shoppers that will be available on the website at emilyshandmadesoaps.com.

Any plans for the future - new scents you want to discuss for winter, any collaborations or events?

First, the lease for our retail location is now official! We anticipate an opening date in November. The shop address is 709 S 219th St. (Des Moines, WA 98198). [Other] developments that I’m excited about right now is [our] monthly subscription box service that we’re working on. Our Pumpkin Soap is a fall favorite and available now; it’s made with real pumpkin, which adds a really nice texture to the lather. We also have a couple of limited edition winter scents coming out, including a pine scented soap (there’s that Pacific Northwest influence again!) and some other seasonal favorites.

We’re still nailing down our holiday show schedule, but the best place to check to see where we’ll be next is the Upcoming Events page on our blog or on our Facebook page.

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