As the winter holiday season begins to sneak up on us, it’s time for the over-the-top and garish holiday sweater tradition! I have had plenty throughout the years and I must admit, I didn’t think the ones I had were that bad until my little sister rolled her eyes one too many times.
So in honor of this festive time of year, we are kicking off the start of our official holiday decorating and over all shop craziness with our UGLY SWEATER event. Starting November 3rd until November 6th, you are encouraged to don your finest of tacky holiday sweaters/jumpers and flaunt them in our shop for 10% off your purchase (excluding tax of course). Shanda and I will be sporting some of the finest in acrylic fashion plus a few wool wonders from the 1960’s to 1980’s just to torment the rest of Main Street. For our online shoppers, we will trust you will be shopping in your finest so let us know by using the coupon code UGLY SWEATER for 10% off your product purchase. Again this offer is only good from November 3rd to the 6th at midnight.
Also that week we will be introducing one of our Christmas scents called….Ugly Sweater. You could see where this is going I am guessing. It’s a blend of sugar and spice with winter fruits that some of you might remember we previously called Sugar Plum Fairy. I never was happy with the Nutcracker soap so Shanda suggested we rename it and make new labels. As usual, it was a great idea and now, we have a special for it and something fun to launch the winter holidays with. I have to say I received my first Christmas sweater on Thanksgiving so it’s was a perfect way to bring in the holidays.
You’ll find Ugly Sweater listed under our Christmas Holiday Collection on line at ArcadiaValleySoap.com With it’s crazy looking shea butter soap along with bath bombs, hand pour wax melts, fragrance spray and shea butter lotion, it’s a great fragrance to make your merry and bright. We will have gift sets available too for the first time online but more on that later with our upcoming Gift Guide.
We were very excited this last Thursday to learn that the Arcadia Valley Soap Company was added to the new travel/tourism book, “100 Things to Do in Missouri Before You Die” (by authors John W. Brown and Amanda E. Doyle available at Reedy Press ). This book is packed with recommendations for festivals to food, best hiking trails and other out of the way spots to enjoy with family or as individual travelers.
2021 marks my 20th anniversary for making soap professionally in Missouri.
Had I known the effort to keep going in the soap world, would I have started? Honestly, probably not. It’s what I have known since I was a child back in the 60’s. I love soapmaking, don’t get me wrong but the business side is a completely different animal. From trademark battles with a major clothing manufacturer to the backend accounting, these are all things I never thought much about. It does seem like just a year or two ago I was pondering a name for my business. Sitting in the sunshine on our field the name Botanical Earth was born in June 2001. Then within 5 months I started another soap line, MoSoap based upon my grandmother’s recipes. Since the two brands were polar opposites for each other, I divided the businesses up and became MoHerbs. While that was all going on, I started Naturally Wicked and opened up wholesale so I have to say, I was pretty busy.
While I had a separate house on our property to make my products in, I always thought I would like to have a brick and mortar shop. Looking everywhere, I could never find a building to suit me. Then we came upon an auction and boom, we bought a rather large building for my soap shop.
The dream of owning a historic building was very romanticized than based in reality to say the least. I adore my home but it was too much with the soap shop in it so…..when the building across the street became available, I had to have it and could see it’s potential. It was the best decision ever! While my husband called it a “turd of a building”, I knew it could transform into a great soap shop. It wasn’t pretty when we bought it but, now I am amazed at it every day I come to work. And, yes I do work nearly everyday on something regarding soap!
My favorite thing is to look at how the labeling has changed for my brands over the years. MoSoap hasn’t changed in nearly 20 years, while just the Arcadia Valley line has drastically changed over 7 years – but that’s really thanks to adding Shanda, who is highly creative and fab.
So no big hoopla or party, I’m too tired to catch up on soaping to throw a party for myself. It’s just a personal milestone that I never even imagined. I can’t see myself doing anything else but I guess that’s not really true. A brewery and bakery in the works is taking a lot of my time now and hence why I am slow sometimes. I’m thankful to have found someone to carry on when it’s my time to go. It would have been somewhat sad just to close one day but I’m teaching Shanda everything I know to carry on and make it even better. It’s interesting that while I have done this for 20 years, it’s a been a flash it feels like, and to think it will go pass my term is more exciting to me that starting it 20 years ago.
After an 8 year absence in this 20 year run, I am back to offering lotions in our different fragrances. It’s a first for the Arcadia Valley line of products and there are some for MoSoap now too. Lotions can be such a different beast handcrafting them. I never had room in the shop here on Main Street to make them properly but now with some upgrades, we are in the lotion business too.
You will find two types of lotions – that’s because I just couldn’t decide which type I liked best! For those looking for a hydrating light weight feel, you’ll enjoy our Goat Milk Lotions. With our Shea butter soaps we just had to have a Shea Butter lotion with it’s creamy feel but not greasy. With the advancement of preservative systems over the years, I am happy to say all of our lotions are parben free! And our synthetic blends are free of parbens and phlathlates as I try very hard to make things healthy for your skin.
Shanda said she was willing to work more hours so tada! We are now going to be open on Wednesdays. This will really help us better at being caught up on orders and restocking.
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Some things to keep in mind if you are venturing out to come see us at the soap shop…..
The Shepherd Mountain Bike Trail is opening April 3rd and then on May 2nd is the Big Mountain Enduro kick off with their first race being held in our little town of Ironton. Needless to say, there will be more people then usual for the next 2 months. If you are avoiding crowds, we suggest stopping in on Wednesdays or Thursdays. While our area has been blessed with very low COVID-19 numbers, with the influx of people arriving, some of our customers may want to avoid people coming in from all over the country during the heavy traffic weekends.
We are still offering $7 flat rate shipping for those of you that like to order online. The delays with the postal service are not as frequent now. We are trying to ship more by UPS though many of our customers have PO Box addresses and we must ship via USPS.
With fall in the air, one of our favorite stress relief outings is simply driving around the Shepherd Mountain Lake area. It’s a lovely local hotspot and one that Shanda’s family use to go on Sunday drives after church. So for that reason, we decided on making a soap honoring the simple pleasure of a drive around the lake.
To make even more locally orientated, we had a photography contest for the picture on the soap bag. Let me tell you, I didn’t realize how many amazing pictures could be taken of the lake! Shanda and I selected the final three contestants, then we let our Facebook people choose the winning photo that would go on the bag.
The winner was Ariel Simms! We love the photo with it’s rich colors and the canoe laying where you just want to take it out on the water. We hope you enjoy this cool wintery linen scent handmade soap that goes with this special bag.
When I decided to go to online ordering only with the store closed I figured I wouldn’t be terribly busy. I was mistaken. Granted, soap is a good business to be in right now but I thought people wouldn’t be spending money. Thanks to everyone still supporting our small business, I am able to continue soaping and make sure Shanda has a paycheck. She’s working on marketing and future projects from home while I am filling orders and making fresh product. My husband Colin works in Webster Groves, MO and I asked him 2 weeks ago to take time off. Happily, his office let him have 2 weeks without pay to stay home and when this time is up the end of this week, he will be working from home here in Ironton. He left the metro area prior to any orders to stay home so he been home for 10 days now. I mention this because several people are concerned he is still working up in St. Louis. Nope, he has a honey-do list a mile and a half long so he’s not going anywhere soon if I can help it!
We were going to re-evaluate the situation April 15th, but with the current information we are looking at delaying any sort of soap shop opening until June. If sooner great, but for now it’s looking like June for us.
Over the next few days I will be putting some new soaps back online and restocking our popular ones. The system I have worked out with our postal team is that they will pick up from the outside of the shop when I have orders so I will not be walking orders down to the post office. The same with UPS pick ups also. This may add an extra day or so with shipping just so you know. I am hoping the postal service stays operating as I just saw today a discussion regarding this topic. Search Postal Service Coronavirus if you are interested.
I wanted to give you an up-date of what was going on with us here at the soap shop. Still working away and planning on fun things in the fun is our outlook.
My decision to close my soap shop temporarily to the public was easy. There was no question in my mind of what needed to be done. My deepest admiration goes to those on the front lines – the people keeping our grocery stores and pharmacies open, the healthcare professionals that are facing a workload I can’t imagine and our leaders that must make hard decisions.
Am I sad for having to do it? YOU BET! Things at the shop were rockin’ – new wholesalers, new customers and fun displays. But, I must help support my community leaders by not helping to spread the Covid-19.
When I saw that our community schools had closed, I realized the hardships on so many families, educators and others whose jobs are based on the schools. I can only imagine a small fraction of the behind the scenes logistics involved. If our local officials and educators felt it was time to take this step to help our community weather this issue and make the long term better, then what other decision could I make?
You all know the soap shop for it’s little bars of bubbly goodness you pick up and sniff, bath bombs you roll around in your hands and lots of conversations at the counter. What do people do when there’s a snow day or school is normally closed? Come to the soap shop and bring the whole family….we do quite well $$$ wise when there’s a school closure. So by closing the soap shop, it’s no longer an attractive nuisance to our community. If my community leaders feel it’s worth the sacrifice of our schools, then I will do my part to support them by not giving a needless venue to be a weak link in the spread.
It’s not the end of the world, and small business doesn’t have to fail. It’s time to be creative! How fun is that? I love a challenge! Heck we bought 3 dilapidated old buildings because I like challenges.
If you haven’t seen this Washington Post article and videos on how this funk spreads, check it out here:
I just wanted to explain why we have closed temporarily ahead of requirements that I believe will be coming. Sooner is better than later in this case. For me, the worst is you think I’m a crazy, over reacting old woman. I can live with that. So the online store is open, and feel free to shop away. You know I’ll hook you up with some freebies for ordering just like when you come in the shop! 🙂
We are very please to announce that you will be able to find our Arcadia Valley Soap and MoSoap products this season at Missouri’s Montauk State Park Lodge and Fishing Shop!
If you aren’t familiar with the park, it’s located about 2 hours south of our soap shop and is a great destination for those that love hiking, fly fishing and camping. Quoting their website, “Montauk State Park’s premier attraction is trout fishing, and the Current River contains both rainbow and brown trout. The pristine waters and natural surroundings of the Current River are an excellent background for trout fishing. Trout season opens March 1 and lasts until Oct. 31” Here’s a link to their fishing information page – https://mostateparks.com/page/54229/fishing
When you check in at the fishing shop, grab a bit to eat or check into the Lodge, you will pass their gift area. There you will find our soaps and peppermint lip balm.
Currently, the soaps they have at the time of writing this are: