Today we get to know Susan White and Ashley White, sisters, owners and creators of all natural bath products at Wicked Wench Soapworks. Fellow members of The Artisan Group, the White Sisters offer an alternative to commercially mass produced chemical-based products that for people with skin sensitivities, is a breath of fresh air.
How and when did you discover your love for your craft/art?
We’ve both always had a love of crafts and DIY in general. Ashley was encouraged to create art when she was small to refine her fine motor skills and I loved the process of putting things together to make something new. The love of creating bath & body products is fairly new (within the past two years), when we decided it was time to make our own soaps because of reactions we were both having to commercial soaps. I have seborrheic dermatitis on my face and it was made worse by both the harsh medications and commercial soaps. Ashley received horrible burns to her hands as a teenager and the commercial soaps aggravate the scar tissue and make the skin peel.
Do you remember the first piece you ever made?
The first bath & body product we made was our Hemp Seed Oil soap. I ordered all the ingredients online and we whipped up the batch in our kitchen. It wasn’t very pretty but it did its job. Immediately, I saw that my face was less red and burned looking.
Every Artist has a creative process, can you explain yours?
With our bar soaps, we make three different bases (Hemp, Honey and Goat’s Milk) so before scenting a new bar, we consider the underlying scent of the base along with the scent that we want to add. We have found that certain scents just do not work with the underlying chlorophyll scent of the Hemp bars.
|Relaxing Rose Bath Tea|
We used to make a few items that you won’t see on our website anymore. There were certain products that the entire process of making just didn’t work for us. They totally disturbed the flow of our processes and it was hard to get that easy flow restarted.
Can you tell us about some important goals you have achieved with your work?
Since we are a relatively new business, our first online sale was a huge success. In late 2011, we joined a local farmers market (North Scottsdale Farmers Market) and have been received very well. Some of the feedback we have received is leading us to our goal for 2012.
|Gingerbread Cookie Bar Soap|
Our Mom. The whole time we were growing up, she would create things that were amazing. When Care Bears first came out, my parents couldn’t afford to buy one for me (because $30 in the very early 1980’s was a lot of money) so she made me one. The only difference was the heart shaped tag on its bottom. My tag was made of felt and a real one was embroidered. It’s 30 years later and I still have my hand-made Sleepy Time Bear. For Ashley, Mom has made multiple Halloween costumes with painstaking detail. She has been Belle that looked so real, little kids were running up to her shouting “Mom! Its Belle! They got Belle for Halloween!”, she has been Ariel (in a costume where the fins flapped as she walked) and she has been a belly-dancer where women that actually belly-dance asked where she got her outfit because it was so well made. And the birthday cakes! I could go on for days about the birthday cakes.
Any goals for the future you would like to share?
Many of our farmers market customers (around 70%) have asked us if we are vendors at the Arizona Renaissance Festival and/or they recommend that we look into becoming vendors. Our goal for 2012 is to be accepted into the Arizona Renaissance Festival for the 2013 season. We are also looking to join another online retailer later this year.
|Tropical Vacation Bath Salts|
Ashley loves to crochet. Last year she made me a beautiful round blanket with cork-screw trim (I have named it Rotini). I love to cook, but I am a trained chef, so the cooking works out as a hobby and in the recipe creating process for our products.
If you are displaying or selling your craft/art? Where?
Right now we have two online stores, www.WickedWenchSoapworks.com and www.wickedwenchsoapworks.storenvy.com, we’re in the process of deciding which store we like better and which store our customers prefer. We can also be found at the North Scottsdale Farmers Market on most Saturdays.
|Naked Castile Liquid Soap|
Since there are two of us, I think that makes it easier for us to divide the creative and business responsibilities. If I have a week where the business side needs more attention than usual, Ashley steps in so that we can still achieve our goals for that week.
What advice would you give to someone who want to start out or start a business in their craft/art?
Do it! For every person in your life that tells you that you are crazy to start your own business, you will find three people that will applaud you for doing it.
|Orange Chocolate Truffle Lip Balm|
*****Thank you Susan and Ashley for letting us get to know you! For more information be sure to visit Wicked Wench Soapworks at: