soapmaking duo finds its niche
making handmade products
CANAAN, Ind. (February 2006) Everyone uses soap
daily or at least they should. But where does soap come
from? How is it made? And what types of ingredients are used to make
soap? Are they healthy for the skin?
by Michella Marino
Folkner (left) and Pat Polley
(right), proprietors of All Good Things,
use only the finest ingredients
in their unique soaps.
These are all legitimate questions that can be asked concerning
the average daily bar of soap. The owners of All Good Things, LLC have
the answer: use natural handmade soaps.
Sonia Folkner and Pat Polley, both of Madison, Ind., met through their
childrens home school group. They became friends and eventually
started baking homemade bread together. One day, Polley asked Folkner
if she had ever considered making soap as an enterprise. Ironically,
Folkner had just checked out a book on making handmade soap from the
library. From there, according to Folkner, things just developed.
The two ladies decided to try their hand at making handmade natural
soap because they both used handmade soaps at home and thought it might
be fun to test their skills at it. Polley and Folkner researched more
on the process, and after a few trial runs, they came up with a system
that worked for them.
The pair also took a self-soap test titled, What Kind of Soaper
Are You? Polley discovered that she was a sniffer
and Folkner a purist. According to their brochure, they
believe these two individual qualities complement their soap making
by providing the finest ingredients with wonderful aromas.
Their family and friends became soap guinea pigs, but all who tried
their products, liked them. So Polley and Folkner believed that was
a good reason to keep going, and soon All Good Things was
Folkner and Polley use a seven-step process to make their all-natural
handmade soap. First, they pour water into lye and heat the concoction
up to 200 degrees, which literally takes a few seconds, and then let
it cool again. Secondly, they warm up the natural oils such as soy,
olive and coconut oils. Next, they add the rosemary resin extract, which
is an anti-oxidant that provides the soap with a good shelf life. At
this point, they heat up the oil mix and lye water in different pots
to the same temperature of 115 degrees.
Once the two have reached 115 degrees, the lye water must be poured
into the oil and mixed together either by hand or by a hand blender.
While blending, the ladies watch for a trace, which is more
or less the point when the spoon can be lifted out of the mixture and
leaves a trace on top of it. It is a hard thing to look for and only
comes with experience. The other ingredients, such as the colorants
and flavors, are added to the mix and it is finally put to bed.
This entails the soap mix being poured into a mold, covered with cardboard,
and wrapped in a blanket.
The soap is now ready to sit overnight to harden. Generally, the soap
is removed from the mold the next day and is then left to cure for six
weeks in an area with a decent temperature and out of direct sunlight.
The process only takes approximately 45 minutes for a batch of soap
that makes around 28 bars. However, it is a focused, balanced, and complicated
process to get the soap exactly the way they want it, which requires
creating a hard bar with a good lather that is good for the skin as
well as moisturizing.
The two women keep a checklist of the items they need and adhere to
the same rituals with every batch of soap, one of which is simply to
eat some chocolate chips for fun!
All Good Things took its first big order last November. It entailed
89 bars of handmade soap being sent to a store in western New York.
The pair has another large order this month. Currently, their business
is not a full-time job for either of them, but they both agree that
sometimes it feels like it. Polley and Folkner hope to eventually
make their business into a full time job.
When asked where they envisioned their business going, they replied,
We have a plan. The ladies would like to make their business
commercial but want to see it go wholesale as opposed to retail.
They would like to tap into the local business market and are hoping
to be able to sell their products to local businesses that in turn will
provide them for retail to the community. However, the pair plans on
also having a small store attached to one of Folkners barns at
her home. The Internet and festivals are on the business agenda in the
near future as well.
Along with their natural handmade soaps, All Good Things has also ventured
out into the lotion, body spray, and facial products line, which they
are excited about. According to their brochure the products they make
consist of only the best, pure, vegetable ingredients and
are good for the skin. They have tried to hit all the bases concerning
scents, flavors and aromas and offer various choices such as Coconut
Grove, Creamsickle, Indian Summer and Chivalry.
They even have a hunters soap called Super-Camo Hunters
Soap: More Buck For Your Bang! which is made specially to
camouflage the human scent.
Locally, their products are available for sale at Wandas Gifts,
Lovely Creations, and Herbs and More, all in Madison, and at Best Buy
Grocery in Cross Plains.
For more information, call Sonia Folkner
at (812) 871-2844 or Pat Polley at (812) 273-0766.
Back to February 2006