Chagrin Valley Soap, a natural soap company, was created because of a sincere concern about the harsh chemicals present in skin care products and the adverse effects of these chemicals on us, our children and our planet.
Many of our customers have asked who we are and how Chagrin
Valley Soap got started. The story begins in 2001 when I decided to
find an interesting hobby. My husband spent his weekends in his wood
shop making furniture and lots of sawdust. I wanted to do something
equally interesting and creative.
In my "prior lives" I was a
registered nurse, earned a master’s degree in biology and later, taught middle school science. As my career experiences in medicine
and science evolved, I became increasingly concerned about how many
chemicals were present in our skin care products and the adverse
effects these chemicals were having on us, our children and our
When I could drag my husband away from his tools and sawdust, we
occasionally went to weekend craft fairs where I saw many sellers of
handmade soap. However, most of these soaps were still made with
artificial colors and fragrances - more chemicals! I was curious
about whether I could make an all natural soap, without artificial
or synthetic ingredients, that would be effective and safe. I
started researching the subject of "soap" and my hobby was born. I
never dreamed that this "hobby" would become a business and my third
My husband made me a small wooden mold, I
gathered some ingredients, appropriated my kitchen mixer, spatula,
and pots, and began. We still laugh about how long it took and
what a mess we made to create our first successful batch of soap -
eight bars of Goat Milk and Oatmeal soap. When, after using our new all natural Goat Milk Soap for only two weeks my husband's eczema disappeared, I knew I was on to something special.
With this success under my
belt, I developed other natural soap recipes, continued the learning process, and
made soap whenever I had time for the people I love! I was fascinated with the science of soapmaking. Studying the chemistry of fats and oils, I learned how
the variations in their fatty acid composition would result in soaps
with different characteristics. It was quite exciting.
In the summer of 2002, I took a course at a local college to
learn about making a website to use with my science classes. For
practice, I made a small website for the several soaps I was making
and published it - just for fun and to see what would happen.
I got an order! By summer, 2003, we were getting several orders each week and our reputation for our quality and customer service was circulating around the internet. So at age 50, I formed a corporation for my new business called Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft. (I was the soap and my husband was the craft.)
By summer, 2005, my "hobby" was a business and I decided to take a sabbatical from teaching with the intent to return to teach and use my hobby to supplement income. So much for good intentions!
Thanks to our loyal customers, the business grew so fast that it was clear that I could not both teach and operate the business effectively. I was torn between my love of teaching and the exciting prospect of creating a truly all natural soap company. My husband, Howard, encouraged me to concentrate on the business, and here I am.
In September, 2007, my son, Sam, returned from Spain and joined the business together with his then girlfriend, and now wife, Lindsey. Then came Christine and Ben. My husband, Howard, is still there to help, build, repair and most importantly, to continue his encouragement and support (he also makes all the soap decks). And, last but not least, my 97 year old mother, Sophie, helped with product labeling. Chagrin Valley Soap is truly a "family business."
Well, that’s a brief history of Chagrin Valley Soap. We have now
expanded into a full line of natural and organic skin and hair care products.
We are shipping to every state in the US and, at last
count, to over 80 countries, worldwide.
What we are most proud of is that we have adhered to our original mission and goal - to make all natural skin care products with nothing artificial, nothing synthetic, no GMO’s, just wholesome ingredients you can trust . We will continue to pursue this mission and goal without wavering. You, our customers, deserve nothing less.