Have you seen our redesigned Why Handcrafted Soap brochure yet? Not only is it full of great info for consumers, but it features product photos from some very talented makers!
Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring the makers behind the photos here on Cut to the Trace; we’re so grateful that they’ve shared their incredible products with us!
In this interview, we’ll meet Jennifer Hofmann, the creator of the delightful beach-inspired soap on the front of the Why Handcrafted Soap Brochure!
Jennifer Hofmann is the owner of Jennifer’s Handmade soap, based in Ayer, MA. She began making soap on a whim – and by accident!
“I was writing an article on the history of soap and cleanliness. I was doing research on how soap was made in the early 1800s in New England when I came upon a class being offered on soap making,” she tells us. The rest is history; as soon as she used the soap she’d made in class, she was hooked!
That first batch was twelve years ago, and Jennifer tells us that her favorite product to make is still cold process soap. “My first love will always be cold process soap. Soap just allows me to express my creativity and challenges me to keep creating new ideas – I thrive on that.” Jennifer’s soaps are clearly works of usable art! Her least favorite product? Bath bombs. “I make them, but there’s no joy in the process for me.” We can definitely see her joy shine through in her stunning cold process designs.
Becoming an HSCG Member & Becoming Certified
In order to have their submissions considered for the Why Handcrafted Soap brochure, we required makers to be current HSCG Members and be Certified at the Basic Level, at minimum. Not only is Jennifer a Certified Member…she’s Certified at the Master level; an achievement that takes years of studying, testing and hard work.
When asked what inspired Jennifer to become Certified, her answer was simple: “I’m a knowledge junkie,” she says. “I wanted to learn all I could about soap (when I first started, but even 12 years later I still love learning).”
Jennifer first learned about the HSCG in 2012 when she started her business and was searching for insurance. “That’s how I found out about the conference and the certification process. I attended my first conference in 2013 where I took the Basic CP/HP Certification and have since made it all the way to the Master CP/HP Certification. Basically the tests provided me with the learning opportunities and I love learning!”
Other Projects, Inspiration and Goals for the Future
Jennifer is inspired by everything around her; color, food, books, movies, people, fragrances, and other soap makers. “Honestly, when it comes to soap just about anything can inspire me. I love picking themes and coming up with soaps based on that. It always presents a fun challenge.”
As for other products, Jennifer doesn’t make anything else that she sells, but has plenty of maker hobbies. “I love making cards for my family and friends for any and all occasions. And I’ve been a scrapbooker since college.”
Goal-wise, Jennifer’s got some serious goals too-both business and personal.
“When it comes to my products I want to make high quality products that also make people smile. My tag line is: Because soap should be more than just functional – and that really speaks to who I am as a business. I want to make a superior product, but more important I want it to bring joy to that person as they use it.
As a small business owner…as a person…I hope that in some small way I can leave the world a little better place. My parents always taught me to give back wherever and however I could.” Jennifer took this to heart, even from the moment she started her business and was struggling to make ends meet. “I’ve always donated products to charities in need. I try and volunteer my time when there’s a need.”
Jennifer is taking her passion for helping others to a new level with her new collection: “Soap for a Cause”. “Twice a year I’ll make a series of soaps and 100% of the profits will be donated to a charity/organization in need. I know it’s just a small thing, but I think every little action we take has a ripple effect and I’m excited to be able to use my skill as a soap maker in a way that can help others in need.”
Jennifer’s first “Soap for a Cause” collection launched in August of 2021 and benefited the Cameron Boyce Foundation, which supports research and finding a cure for epilepsy. Jennifer has a video on her YouTube Channel (The Soap Artist) if you’re interested in learning more!
Abraham Lincoln & Faeries
We gave contributors the opportunity to answer a few fun questions so we could learn more about their personalities; one of these questions was, “You can go for a walk with anyone throughout history – who do you choose, and why?” Jennifer’s answer: Abraham Lincoln!
“I’ve read a lot about him and have been fascinated by his life. If I were to pick any person in history I’d love to go back and meet my ancestors on my mom’s side who came to NY City around the mid 1800s to escape the potato famine in Ireland. I’ve always been fascinated by the 1800s everyday life. And to see and experience what they did would fascinate me.”
We also asked contributors what they would turn into if they could choose to become any animal (mythical, extinct or living). “A Faery! You’re talking to a huge fantasy lover here! I’d totally be a faery with magical powers!” We think you might already be a little magic with these soap creations Jennifer!
A huge thank you to Jennifer and all of our other amazing contributors who have helped us create a helpful, educational resource for our members! You can click here to learn more about Jennifer and her business, Jennifer’s Handmade Soap, and you can click right here to purchase your own Why Handcrafted Soap brochures!