BY TRACY ZOLLINGER TURNER
After more than four years in business, Bloomington-based Soapy Soap Company’s vegan, gluten-free soap and body care products have become a staple in local stores, at multiple grocery chains throughout Indiana, and in specialty shops in other Midwestern states. The latest endeavor from owners Anthony Duncan, Mohammed M. Mahdi, and Mohammed A. Mahdi is an online do-it-yourself studio, “Design My Soap.” They are hoping the idea will attract customers nationally, maybe even internationally.
“We do soap-making workshops regularly and find that people like to make their own creations,” says Mohammed M. “We came up with this as a do-it-yourself soap-making studio, but you never have to get your hands dirty. You can point, click, and create something, and have it at your doorstep 10 days later.”
Most soap production takes several weeks to cure and complete, but a proprietary process the Soapy Soap owners dubbed “the volcano method” lets them produce as little as one customized bar almost immediately.
The trio applied what they learned through their interactions with the public at farmers’ markets and workshops to come up with a limited menu of ingredients they felt would help make the custom products successful on their website.
Customers can choose from three of Soapy Soap’s most popular bases (for neutral, oily, or sensitive skin), add up to four of 11 available essential oil fragrances, then optionally blend add-ins such as ground coffee, rolled oats, or bentonite clay if they want the bar to exfoliate, moisturize, or work as a shaving soap. Lastly, at-home soap designers can pick their own soap name and select from 12 label designs, including artwork like stars, swirls, hearts, mandalas, or space invaders.
Every step of the process about what to offer was thought about long and hard, says Duncan, from figuring out which 11 fragrances had the best chance to combine into harmonious soap blends to what label designs to offer.
“We are whimsical, but we don’t do things on a whim,” says Duncan. “We research deeply before we sell anything to the public.”
Each bar costs $7, shipping is a flat $5 per order, and orders should be received within about 10 days, according to their website, designmysoap.com.