We had a blast talking to Anne-Marie, the soap queen. In addition to making soaps, she also makes candles, writes books and has her own soap-making supply shop, Brambleberry. Read on for ideas for Christmas and the upcoming holidays!
Anne-Marie, how did you first get interested in soap crafting?
I have been making soap since I was 16 years old and selling as a part-time hobby since I was 18. My first wholesale account was at a hardware store in Chehalis, Washington, followed soon thereafter by a gym, and then all my mother’s friends. When I quit my job at the age of 20 with a vague plan to sell soap, I had a bit of business experience with a small soap business, but more importantly, I had the idea that I could at least sell a couple hundred of dollars worth of soap to my mom. I still love making soap and feel so lucky that I stumbled upon my passion at such a young age.
What are some of the major expenses or supplies needed with putting together a basic soap crafting kit?
The main elements are oils, butters, lye, water, a mold and the colorants and fragrances that you want to use. In addition to that, you will need to use tools like a mixing bowl (non-aluminum) and spatulas and spoons, all of which you can find around your kitchen for your first go around. An easy way to get the ingredients and some of the tools that you will need would be with either the Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit or the Cold Process Soap Kit from Bramble Berry. Be sure to check out the Free Beginner’s Guide to Cold Process Soapmaking so that you can be prepared when you are ready to start soaping.
What are some of your favorite mix-ins, scents or materials to add to your soap crafting recipes?
Patchouli, Oatmeal Milk & Honey and Energy. I use Patchouli in quite a few blends to have a nice anchoring base note. I also have really started to love using all sorts of exfoliants and natural colorants (clays are some of my favorites).
With the holidays coming up, do you have any ideas for unique handmade soaps or gift wrapping ideas?
Melt and Pour: Curiously Gnome-like Santa Claus, Cool Yule Peppermint Loaf, Snowflake Soap, Licorice Candy Soap, Painted Ornament Project, Soapy Candy Canes, Gingerbread Man Soap, Holiday Soap Stamp Project, Lump of Coal Soap
Cold Process: Holiday Cookie Bar Cold Process Tutorial, CPOP Swirls
Gift Wrapping: Coordinated Christmas Packaging
Many of your soaps look good enough to eat! Besides soap crafting, what other creative hobbies that you like to indulge in?
love to bake and you can actually find several of the recipes that I have
attempted over the years on the Soap Queen blog here. Our small family has
recently moved into a new home and I’ve really been getting into gardening this
past summer and love digging in and growing my own food. Sewing is another
hobby that I’ve recently tried and have had some great success with. Ultimately,
being a mom gives me a lot of creative outlet opportunities and I have fun
trying to come up with crafts that a 2-year-old can enjoy.