Good, clean fun

Canaan soapmaking duo finds its niche
making handmade products

By Michella Marino
Contributing Writer

CANAAN, Ind. (February 2006) – Everyone uses soap daily – or at least they should. But where does soap come from? How is it made? And what types of ingredients are used to make soap? Are they healthy for the skin?

Sonia Folkner and Pat Polley

Photo by Michella Marino

Sonia Folkner (left) and Pat Polley
(right), proprietors of “All Good Things”,
use only “the finest ingredients”
in their unique soaps.

These are all legitimate questions that can be asked concerning the average daily bar of soap. The owners of All Good Things, LLC have the answer: use natural handmade soaps.
Sonia Folkner and Pat Polley, both of Madison, Ind., met through their children’s home school group. They became friends and eventually started baking homemade bread together. One day, Polley asked Folkner if she had ever considered making soap as an enterprise. Ironically, Folkner had just checked out a book on making handmade soap from the library. From there, according to Folkner, things “just developed.”
The two ladies decided to try their hand at making handmade natural soap because they both used handmade soaps at home and thought it might be fun to test their skills at it. Polley and Folkner researched more on the process, and after a few trial runs, they came up with a system that worked for them.
The pair also took a self-soap test titled, “What Kind of Soaper Are You?” Polley discovered that she was “a sniffer” and Folkner “a purist.” According to their brochure, they believe these two individual qualities complement their soap making by providing “the finest ingredients with wonderful aromas.” Their family and friends became soap guinea pigs, but all who tried their products, liked them. So Polley and Folkner believed that was “a good reason to keep going,” and soon All Good Things was born.
Folkner and Polley use a seven-step process to make their all-natural handmade soap. First, they pour water into lye and heat the concoction up to 200 degrees, which literally takes a few seconds, and then let it cool again. Secondly, they warm up the natural oils such as soy, olive and coconut oils. Next, they add the rosemary resin extract, which is an anti-oxidant that provides the soap with a good shelf life. At this point, they heat up the oil mix and lye water in different pots to the same temperature of 115 degrees.
Once the two have reached 115 degrees, the lye water must be poured into the oil and mixed together either by hand or by a hand blender. While blending, the ladies watch for a “trace,” which is more or less the point when the spoon can be lifted out of the mixture and leaves a trace on top of it. It is a hard thing to look for and only comes with experience. The other ingredients, such as the colorants and flavors, are added to the mix and it is finally “put to bed.” This entails the soap mix being poured into a mold, covered with cardboard, and wrapped in a blanket.
The soap is now ready to sit overnight to harden. Generally, the soap is removed from the mold the next day and is then left to cure for six weeks in an area with a decent temperature and out of direct sunlight.
The process only takes approximately 45 minutes for a batch of soap that makes around 28 bars. However, it is a focused, balanced, and complicated process to get the soap exactly the way they want it, which requires creating a hard bar with a good lather that is good for the skin as well as moisturizing.
The two women keep a checklist of the items they need and adhere to the same rituals with every batch of soap, one of which is simply to eat some chocolate chips for fun!
All Good Things took its first big order last November. It entailed 89 bars of handmade soap being sent to a store in western New York. The pair has another large order this month. Currently, their business is not a full-time job for either of them, but they both agree that sometimes “it feels like it.” Polley and Folkner hope to eventually make their business into a full time job.
When asked where they envisioned their business going, they replied, “We have a plan.” The ladies would like to make their business commercial but want to see it go wholesale as opposed to retail.
They would like to tap into the local business market and are hoping to be able to sell their products to local businesses that in turn will provide them for retail to the community. However, the pair plans on also having a small store attached to one of Folkner’s barns at her home. The Internet and festivals are on the business agenda in the near future as well.
Along with their natural handmade soaps, All Good Things has also ventured out into the lotion, body spray, and facial products line, which they are excited about. According to their brochure the products they make consist of “only the best, pure, vegetable ingredients” and are good for the skin. They have tried to hit all the bases concerning scents, flavors and aromas and offer various choices such as Coconut Grove, Creamsickle, Indian Summer and Chivalry.
They even have a hunter’s soap called “Super-Camo Hunter’s Soap: More Buck For Your Bang!” which is made specially “to camouflage the human scent.”
Locally, their products are available for sale at Wanda’s Gifts, Lovely Creations, and Herbs and More, all in Madison, and at Best Buy Grocery in Cross Plains.

• For more information, call Sonia Folkner at (812) 871-2844 or Pat Polley at (812) 273-0766.

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