How I learned to make handcrafted soap

My visit to the Otion soap bar in Seattle

My visit to Otion: The Soap Bar, Bramble Berry’s store in Bellingham, Washington.

Isn’t the internet awesome? Without the internet my productivity would plummet because I’d have no adorable animals to ooo and ahh over in the middle of a stressful work day. I wouldn’t be able to prove Matt wrong when he misidentifies an actor in a movie (thanks for all your help IMDB). Most importantly, I would have never started Emmet Street Creations or even found the fulfilling craft of artisan soap making.

For me, it all started with an internet search for handmade Christmas gifts. I found an article by Martha Stewart illustrating how to make melt and pour soap and after one weekend, I was hooked.

I spent hours looking at every resource I could find related to soap making. I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of information available. How could I, a novice soap maker, know who to trust? How could I be sure that the recipe some stranger posts online is actually safe to use? I nearly gave up before I even started.

Then I found her. Anne-Marie Faiola, The Soap Queen.

I stumbled across her blog and I knew I was seeing something different. The blog is full of tutorials for all skill levels, inspiration, troubleshooting guides, business advise and even the random food recipe. (I highly recommend the banana quinoa pancakes.)

Before I ever made my first batch of soap, I did weeks worth of research. I started where every aspiring soap maker should start, with the Basics of Cold Process Soap Making. This four-part video series by Anne-Marie is a quick and concise overview of the soap making process. I watched this series several times and took detailed notes about everything from lye safety to the tools that Anne-Marie used. I read “The Soapmaker’s Companion,” by Susan Miller Cavitch, from cover to cover, twice. I carefully gathered all of my soap making tools and supplies. Once I felt like I understood the process completely, I dove in and made a batch of plain, unscented soap. It came out perfectly thanks to my hours of preparation!

The Soap Queen’s blog is the official blog of Bramble Berry, the soap supply company Anne-Marie created. To be fair, one of the goals of the blog is to sell Bramble Berry products by showcasing all the wonderful things you can make with them. But, it’s more than just a marketing ploy. If your business succeeds and you sell more products, then their business succeeds because you’ll come back for more supplies. It’s in their best interest to fully test their recipes and products to ensure they are giving you only the best information. They even make themselves available to their customers to troubleshoot why something might have gone wrong in a batch of soap.

Thanks to Anne-Marie and the Soap Queen blog, I can now formulate my own recipes, decide on my own color and scent combinations and figure out what I did incorrectly when a batch goes wrong. I can also look at other resources with an objective eye and decide if the information is good or bad.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I’d love to learn how to make soap,” then start with Anne-Marie and the Soap Queen blog. You’ll be happy you did!

P.S. The opinions in this post are completely my own. I have not been provided with any products or compensation to write about the awesomeness of Anne-Marie and Bramble Berry. 

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