Member Spotlight: Soap Monkeys SoapWorks

Welcome to Feature Friday. Today, meet Soap Monkeys SoapWorks.


Kelly Norman, owner and creator of Soap Monkeys Soapworks, is a woman with a plan. A soapmaker in business for 9 years, she joined the HSCG just over a year ago. “Joining HSCG has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. I love the ease of purchasing the insurance and am super excited about the certifications” and, she says, “I am jazzed about the conference!”

A magazine article inspired Kelly to create spa products for Mother’s Day gifts. Orders poured in and home parties turned into participation at local craft fairs. Those early fairs were extremely instructive. “My goal was to have Martha Stewart on a Fred Sanford budget. Then it hit me…I was too ‘retail-looking’ for the events I was doing. Lesson learned – know your market, know your event and the people who attend.”


After learning to make all of her product bases from scratch, life put the business on hold. Watching her son make and sell soap at a school fundraiser reignited the passion and Soap Monkeys SoapWorks – named “because I make soap and he is my monkey” – was born. A year and a half later, Soap Monkeys SoapWorks vends exclusively at Fayetteville, North Carolina-based City Market, an arts, crafts and farmers market held at the downtown Fayetteville Area Transportation & History Museum. A wholesale program is in the works and a storefront is on the long-term horizon.

Soap Monkeys SoapWorks creates bar soaps along with sugar scrubs, liquid soaps, lotions, balms, candles and tarts. A family favorite is the Bite Me Chocolate Sugar Scrub, crafted with chocolate, cocoa, and two kinds of sugar. “My big burly husband can’t live without it,” Kelly says, “and lets me know every time we are out.”


“Most soapmakers use top quality ingredients. Otherwise, what is the point? But, I think my products are awesome because of the care, love and research I put into product on top of the quality of my ingredients. I plan it out on paper first – who is the soap for, what benefits do they need and which ingredients would be best. Then I play with it in Soap Maker to see the different levels of hardness, moisturizing, bubbly etc. Make a test batch – the hard part is waiting for it to cure to get the full effect of the soap. Then it has to pass the husband and kid approval. If it does not pass (and they usually have opinions as to how it could be better) then it is back to the drawing board. I love what I do and I think it shows.” Wow, nicely said, Kelly.

Visit Soap Monkeys SoapWorks Saturdays at Fayetteville’s City Market, check out their latest creations on pinterest, find out what the company is up to on facebook, and shop online.

Thanks, Kelly, for giving us a sneak peek into the Soap Monkeys SoapWorks story!

Spotlight: Simply Body Soap Net

Ian Buffam is on a mission to stop soap mush (‘mush’ being a highly technical term for the substance caused by built-up moisture underneath a bar of soap while it’s floating in a non-draining soap dish or, horror of horrors, in the built-in water-collecting soap dishes thoughtlessly built into showers worldwide).


Ian owns Simply Body, a company he started in 2010 to provide his family’s soap nets to the world. His grandfather was the original mush-fighter. Tired of always finding an unintentionally semi-solid bar of soap within reach, Ian’s grandfather pioneered the idea of corralling soap within a net. Made of a hydrophobic non-absorbent polymer (try saying that three times fast), the net not only keeps bar soaps high and dry, they also provide gentle exfoliation (take that, rough heels!).  The soap nets last from six months to a year and (bonus!) are recyclable.


Today, Simply Body’s soap nets are handmade in Florida. They are, of course, the perfect accessory to handcrafted soaps (though who are we to judge if you’re dying to put a cream soap or a solid scrub inside?) and an excellent way to package end and sample-sized pieces of soap.


A member of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild since its inception, you may have caught Simply Body sharing their soap net fervor with attendees at past HSCG conferences. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Ian and his crew at a conference, you can always find Simply Body online, say hi on twitter, and see where the soap net will pop up next out on the Facebook feed. Members, log in to check out the discounts Simply Body offers.

Keep the mush at bay while boosting lather and exfoliation, supporting handmade accessories, and get it all at a discount? We can get behind that!

Thanks, Ian, for giving us a sneak peek into Simply Body Soap Nets!

Member Spotlight: Soap of the South

Welcome to Feature Friday. Today, meet Soap of the South.

What strikes you when visiting Soap of the South is the sheer variety of soaps. Soaps featuring honey, oatmeal, loofah, shea butter and every milk from buttermilk to goat’s milk in fanciful colors and scents abound. Beyond the soaps, patient explorers discover scrubs, balms, lotions, milk baths, and more.

eh for men slice-soap-of-the-south

While perusing the goods, you must try the Butt Naked Soap and the men’s shaving soaps. “Our men’s shaving soaps are unbelievable,” Anna says. They produce “lots of lather, smell great and they feel great!”


The inspiration for Soap of the South came from owner Anna Masters’ dry skin and a friendly suggestion to try making soap. Anna says, “I have always enjoyed making handcrafted items so I fell in love with soap making. It is a bit of an art form. I love working with curls, swirls and embeds to create a unique soap that people will be intrigued by and it is good for the skin. I love creating new designs. I enjoy the opportunity to provide customers with a quality product that they can enjoy. Our customers are wonderful so they deserve it!”


Anna has a real passion for creating Soap of the South’s signature soap loaves. “I love to be creative,” says Anna, “and I find that I can be most creative with our wholesale loaves.”


In business eight years now, you’ll find Soap of the South all over the web. Visit Soap of the South’s wholesale site to purchase entire loaves of soaps, visit the retail shop for single slices of soap in addition to loaves, and visit the etsy shop to check out the latest bath and body products. Keep an eye on the newest product offerings from Soap of the South’s Facebook page and say hello to Anna out on Soap of the South’s twitter feed.

Thank you, Anna, for giving us a behind the scenes glimpse of Soap of the South!