Friday, May 15, 2009

May's Featured EtsyMom Shop

The EtsyMom shop being featured this May is SeaSpriteSoaps. specializes in handmade cold process soaps from food grade vegetable oils and butters. SeaSpriteSoaps came to being about ten years owner, Stephanie, had written several books and advertised them online. A woman who made herbal soaps and lotions offered to trade one of her books for one of Stephanie's, and so it began. Stephanie loved the "kitchen alchemy" of "creating something that's both useful and beautiful and smells great from scratch." She was hooked. After Stephanie and her family began using her soaps. they swore off store bought soaps. She made so much soap she started giving it away to family and friends.
When she closed her private practice in psychology, she decided to start selling her handmade soaps online at her domain shop, Stephanie noticed many of her blogging friends mentioned Etsy so she decided to check out their links. went live in July of 2007.

"My favorite part of making soap is the satisfaction of creating what I view as a necessity, soap, from distilled water, lye and oils. I like tweaking my soap formulas to get a good balance of conditioning, cleansing and bubbles."

"My least favorite aspect of soap making is cleaning up!"

All tools, utensils and molds have to be wiped clean and washed by hand in hot water before being placed in the dishwasher in order to ensure that no residual fragrance or oils are left that might effect the next batch. Admittedly, though, Stephanie says that one of the hardest parts is having to wait to use her new soaps; it takes at least a month to cure most of her soaps to achieve a hardness and mildness that is usable.

Since retiring from psychology, Stephanie no longer leaves the home to work, but stays busy at home...writing books, maintaining an online tutorial on PhotoImpact, teaching image editing classes online, creating characters for a 3D modeling program called Poser. Soap-making has gradually become her main focus made possible by a wonderfully supportive family that take an active interest in the business, often suggesting new fragrances or marketing ideas. Her children also help out with wrapping soaps and packaging them when time is short and orders are large. Stephanie is really happy with the positive feedback she has received and works hard to provide the best possible customer service she can by responding to questions and convos right away, shipping promptly and including samples or other goodies with each package she sends out.

Stephanie has been married 28 years and lives with her family in Naples, Florida near a wonderful beach. After earning an MS and PhD in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech, she began her career as a mom at the age of 41. She has two children, one daughter and one son. "They are great kids and it's such an adventure watching them grow up and become the people they are meant to be." The family also has several beloved pets: two Welsh Terriers, two cats, a zebra finch, a Ball python, lots of fish in the backyard lily pond. Her latest "quirk" is that she has become a devotee of the Food Network. "I think it's really improved my cooking! For Christmas last year my husband got me a set of beautiful Cuisinart pots and pans. What's funny is that as an unrepentant feminist, this did not offend me at all. I've been using old hand-me-down, dinged up pots and pans for so long, it's a pleasure to have beautiful new stuff to cook with."