Soap making is all about transformation on many levels. As a soap maker, I have the privilege of watching and affecting these transformative processes.
The first and most basic transformation is making soap. I mix a caustic soda and high quality oils, in carefully controlled conditions. The end result is a luxurious but gentle bar of soap.
The second transformation occurs in the market place. Customers exchange mass produced, chemical laden, detergent bars for simple hand-crafted soap. They seek out the glycerin filled bars, made with common household ingredients, by people who are passionate about their trade and pour their love into everything they make.
The third transformation takes place in customers. Dermatologists point patients to the “less is best” skin care methods. Hand-crafted goat milk soap falls into this category. Our customers report our soaps do not aggravate their skin conditions. Others share feelings of confidence about products, when they can pronounce the ingredients.
The final transformation is a very personal one. It is the story of my transformation.
Each time I make a batch I am reminded of my triumph over tragedy and the joy of living a life filled with love and hope.
I began making soap in one of the darkest times of my life. I was stuck in a marriage filled with domestic violence. Soap making transported me away from his mantra of my worthlessness.
The smell of essential oils soothed my war torn spirit. Creating something with my hands increased my self-worth.
Seeing the fruit of my labors not only sell but help other people boosted my confidence. I began to cross the chasm of hopelessness.
The success of my soap company continued to increase my self-confidence, and provided the meager income I needed to free myself from the domestic violence.
Soap making provides a powerful metaphor applicable to many life struggles. Domestic violence and other painful experiences are a lot like lye. They are caustic and dangerous. Yet when God mixes it with the oils of His mercy and grace, we are made into something not only useful but beautiful. As the old cliché says “Heart ache can make us better or bitter”. My experiences made me better and gave me a testimony of beauty.
A decade has passed since those dark days. I am now living a life filled with love, joy, and hope. It is from this place that I founded Bright Hope Soap Works. It is a special privilege to witness these transformations and to live a life where I can be an instrument of hope and beauty.