Chagrin Valley Timeline
The story of the Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company began in 2001 when Ida decided to formulate a truly all natural soap made with wholesome ingredients that would be incredible for the skin and kind to our planet.
Ida nurtured this company from its beginning days in her kitchen and we thought we would share a timeline of its growth.
To the right is a picture of Ida holding the first soap mold made by her husband Howard. It has become a cultural artifact for the Chagrin Valley family.
2001 The First Soap
Ida’s husband made a small wooden mold. She gathered some ingredients, appropriated the kitchen mixer, spatula, and pots, and began. They still laugh about how long it took and what a mess was made to create the first successful batch of soap - eight bars of Goat Milk and Oatmeal soap made in their kitchen.
2001 The "Company" Needs a Name
As Ida continues to make soap for friends and family, they encourage her to start a business. So the business needs a name. Ida and Howard live in Chagrin Falls. Their home overlooks the Chagrin River in a region called the Chagrin Valley. Ida makes soap and Howard makes woodcrafts, thus Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft is born.
2002 First Website Launches
Ida takes a website design course in order to create a website for her middle school science classes. She is now making several different soaps and selling them in a local consignment shop. On a whim, she makes a website for her homemade soap. Before long, she gets an order. For Ida the website was not only an instrument for sales, it was also an opportunity to educate.
2003 The Business Grows
By summer, Ida is receiving several orders each week for her soap. Howard encloses a porch under the deck of their home – and the original “soap factory” is born. The business adopts the formal registered name of Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft, Ltd. and incorporates.
2004 The Business Keeps Growing
Twenty-four hours a day is not enough time to do it all. Business is growing very fast and Ida is beginning to research and experiment with additional products – such as lip balms and lotion bars. Ida and Howard become vendors at summer craft fairs.
2005 Chagrin Valley Soap Ida’s Full-Time Career
Ida’s hobby has grown into a full-fledged business. She decides to take a sabbatical from teaching. The orders continue to pour in as quickly as they can be filled and it becomes clear that she cannot be a good teacher and operate a business effectively at the same time. Ida decides to focus full-time on the business. During the Summer months Ida and Howard become weekly vendors at a local farmer’s market.
2006 The "Family" Business
As Ida builds her business, her family is ever-present in supporting her. Howard makes bigger and better molds in his wood shop, fabricates the white oak soap decks, designs shaving brushes, and with his business background, guides the administrative and financial growth.
2007 Sam Joins the Team
Sam, Ida’s son, returns from Spain where he has been teaching English, and joins the Company. With his theater and acting background, Sam uses his communication and people skills to manage the customer service for Chagrin Valley Soap. Sam takes over the manufacturing of non-soap products, including lip balms and lotion bars
2007 Big Changes
The little room under the deck is too small for the growing business. Ida persuades Howard to give up his wood shop and to double its size with an addition. Ida moves into her new "soap factory" attached to her home and Howard builds a new barn for his wood shop.
2008 Bump in the Road
All is going well and the business is thriving. Then, Ida is diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery and radiation treatments do not stop her continuing attention to the business.
2008 Christine Joins the Team
Christine volunteers her time to help Ida during her breast cancer treatment. Passionate about creating inventive ways to encourage a natural way of living, Christine fits in immediately with the mission and goals of Chagrin Valley Soap. Ida encourages her to stay on as part of the team, and Christine becomes the “slabber” (i.e. soap cutter) as she pursues her Business degree.
2008 Lindsey Joins the Team
Lindsey, Sam’s then girlfriend and now wife, joins the team. With her background in fashion merchandising she takes on the role of initiating new product and packaging ideas and becomes the point person for managing orders, packing and shipping.
2009 New Product Development
Ida loves creating soap recipes, but the idea of natural skin care is quite exciting. This was year of product growth. The company that began by crafting handmade all natural soap is now developing a complete line of organic and natural skin care and hair care products. Chagrin Valley now manufactures and sells soap and shampoo bars, lotion bars, lip balms, body balms, whipped butters and even natural products for pets.
2010 Chagrin Valley Soap Becomes a USDA Certified Organic Facility
Chagrin Valley Soap is certified by OEFFA, a USDA accredited certifying agency, to assure that the organic ingredients and manufacturing processes for all organic products adhere to USDA’s guidelines. To obtain organic certification, the company goes through an intensive and extensive certification process.
2010 Whole Foods Market
When Chagrin Valley was approached by Whole Foods Market in 2009 to become a vendor in the whole body department, it was very exciting. Whole Foods was looking for a certified organic local company that met their strict standards for quality, sustainable sourcing, environmental impact, results and safety. Chagrin Valley Products are now available at the Whole Foods Market in Woodmere, Ohio.
2011 Ben Joins The Team
Ben comes on board to help with the holiday rush. Ben finds a group of people who share his strong feelings about the environment and personal wellness. He decides to leave his computer job and become a full-time member of the Chagrin Valley family as the assistant soap maker. His skill and dedication keep the soap inventory running smoothly.
2011 The Chagrin Valley Family
We would not be where we are today without our Chagrin Valley Family. We are a group of people who share a common trait--we love the work we do. Our shop is full of laughter and creative energy that inspires and motivates. We share ideas, we share a vision, and we are rewarded with a sense that our time together makes a difference.
2011 Chagrin Valley Soap Expands
Having expanded into a multitude of skin care products, a certified organic line, and with orders from every state in the US and more than 70 countries worldwide, Ida’s home no longer provides enough space for Chagrin Valley Soap. The Company moves into a new "soap factory" designed to accommodate the needs of the expanding business. The new facility has enabled the Company to purchase raw material in more economical bulk quantities and to be more efficient in its production, shipping and customer service.
2011 Whole Foods Market #2
Chagrin Valley products now available in two more Whole Foods Markets in Ohio, University Heights and Cincinnati. Whole Foods began by selling soaps and shampoo bars and then added lip balms, lotion bars, whipped butters, face cream, shower bars, deodorants and bath items.
2012 New Name and New Website
After months of development, a new website is launched. The new website tells the story of the company in a more personal way and most importantly, improves the online buying experience for the ever-growing customer base. The company adopts the new name of Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve to reflect its expanded product line.
2012 Kate Joins the Team
Kate joins the Chagrin Valley family in the Spring of 2012 when the Company needed help after launching their new website. As the business continued to grow, she never left. Each day finds her shipping products all over the world, critiquing Ida’s latest creations and suggesting ideas for new products and packaging.
2013 A New Look for Chagrin Valley Soap
In the Fall of 2012, with an increase presence in Whole Foods, and a dedication to eco-friendly packaging, Ida decides to create a brand identity for Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve. For some products only the label has changed, for others there is a whole new package design. The goal is to create a simple, uniform label design and eco-friendly packaging. The packaging, released in June, is over 99% plastic-free!
2013 Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Certified Cruelty-Free by Leaping Bunny
The Leaping Bunny Standard is a pledge that a company makes to remove animal testing from all stages of product development. We do not test our products on animals, use ingredients tested on animals or sell into markets that require animal testing. The Leaping Bunny Program provides the best assurance to consumers that they are making compassionate shopping choices.
2013 Sarah Joins the Team
Sarah, Ida's daughter and Sam's baby sister joined our team in the Fall of 2013! Ida made her first batch of soap when Sarah was only 14. She will be working as the new Social Media and Public Relations guru here at Chagrin Valley Soap.
2014 Jenna Joins the Team
She began working for us part-time during the 2013 holiday season and decided to stay! Jenna is responsible for packaging all of our products. With her artistic eye, she has become another invaluable asset to our team.
2014 David Joins the Team
David is Ida's son-in-law (Sarah's hubby). His computer skills and degree in marketing will help our family business continue to grow. Our little videos on facebook and soon on our website--are all David's doing!
2014 Here We Go Again! Another Move!
Late in 2013 we began to realize that we were once again outgrowing our space! In June Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve moves into our own building and our newest "soap factory." (Ida even has an office!)
2015 Chagrin Valley Family
Our family of employees has always been our company. Their upbeat attitude, excitement, constant effort, creative ideas and passion for our mission, vision and values are at the heart of everything we do!
2015 Katie Joins the Team
2016 Anthony Joins the Team
2017 Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve in Downtown Cleveland
In January 2017 we opened our own store in the 5th Street Arcades in Downtown Cleveland.
It is the only store to carry our full line of organic skin and hair care products. We are excited to be a part of Downtown Cleveland's growth and revitalization.
2017 Christina Joins the Team