Why natural soap? After 40+ years as a middle of the road, rural family guy that has been using the same Irish “soap” that neither “Irish” nor from a spring… I went CooCoo for Cocopuffs about natural soap one day in June, 2019. After that day I would never touch a bar of chemical detergent again.
It was a short, as usual, family weekend getaway to the Black Hills for couple nights, and then on to Kaycee, WY for a night on the town for the annual “Chris LeDoux Days”, our country music/rodeo cowboy hero from our younger days. We tried to pack in all the sight seeing and “tourism” we could while in the Black Hills, as it had been my wife in I’s childhood family vacations since either one had been to the amazing Black Hills. One day we were in a souvenir shop in the old town part of Hill City, SD and I grabbed a couple natural soaps off a display because they looked cool and smelled great. I really bought them for an air freshener for the SUV full of family for remainder of the trip.
Never being a guy that likes to waste anything having paid a hard, honest dollar for, I used the soap when we got home. I was amazed at how awesome my skin instantly felt. No dryness 20 minutes later, no itchiness right away. I smelled like a man from nature, not a chemical plant…and I felt great!
I kept using the bars for the next month and found myself wanting to get to the end of the workday, just so I could go home and shower with my new soap because it smelled so natural and made my skin feel so good. As I saw the end coming near of the second bar, I started to panic. I can’t drive 7+ hours one way back to that store to buy more! Right? No, we are far too busy at home for that! I need to find it online.
So, I searched high and low on the internet to find that exact bar. I looked for days. I finally found there is a wholesale company that sells that soap to stores, among many other items, and I managed to get signed up as a dealer to buy online from them. I had a box of that soap in my cart… and it wouldn’t accept my payment! Over and over…”error”. I finally gave up.
After looking for an alternative in the high plains to keep business local, I found nothing, until I found one on the other side of the state. I started buying from them and I loved the soap. I was still looking forward to the shower at days end because I loved my soap so much. Then my wife caught on and started using it…then the kids. After awhile we were buying lots of soap and we thought “dang, wish it was available locally”! It’s not, no one in small towns or rural areas really sells natural soap…it’s all in the bigger cities.
We don’t own a store, or we would definitely carry it. Maybe we could open a store, then sell this soap locally (mostly to ourselves) and maybe some other stuff to make it work. Nope, already too busy with one business. Maybe, we could start making our own soap.
I spent the entire winter of ’19-’20 researching soap making, studying the processes of soap makers across the country, reading books, and practicing with recipes. We wanted to use hemp seed oil to promote the new hemp industry in Nebraska because we were also going to get a license and start growing as a hobby for a small CBD business…that’s another story. Hemp seed oil is amazing. It’s so good for both your skin, and your diet. We wanted to be different in the soap business by using hemp seed oil so that our soap was even better for your skin than other products.
We finally developed a recipe and process that worked for us and we started using it. It was great! We had so much fun as family trying out fragrances and coming up with names for each soap. We began letting friends and family try it and we were surprised with the feedback. The soap was a hit.
We started selling it at our famer’s market and by the middle of the summer people were coming there just to buy soap. Online sales were starting to roll in during the “pandemic” and we were thrilled. Then fall came and there was no farmer’s market. Now what? We thought, maybe we could set our tables up in our big shop on Saturdays and invite people out to buy soap, let ’em know we are still open. People kept coming in. Let’s build a bigger display. Now we are opening during the week…3 miles outside of town!
We didn’t know what was going on. What started out as a promotional item for a hemp farm became a huge hit around our community. Before too long, it was selling around the country. We had great support from our community, people were sending our soap all over the U.S. to family and friends, and then their family and friends. It was very humbling and exciting.
More soap stories to come, just wanted to start this blog out with the story of the creation of Wild Ass Soap Co!