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