Laura Pipitone is the owner and head soap maker at The Oakley Soap Co. She lives in Cincinnati, OH with her husband Brett (owner of mimic Educational Robots) and their two children. Originally from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Laura lived in St. Paul, MN and Savannah, GA before settling in Cincinnati in 2013.
What got you interested in making soap and other bath and body items?
I've been interested in handmade soap for as long as I can remember. At stores and markets, I always gravitated to the handmade bath and body products and I would smell every product available. After complaining to my husband that I need a hobby outside of being a mom, my husband suggested I try my hand at making soap. I took his suggestion and quickly became obsessed. I loved learning how different oils produce different properties in soap and how different natural additives can change the feel of the soap on your skin. Like many other soap makers, I thought "If I can make soap, what else can I make?". That led me to learn to make other bath and body products like body whips and sugar scrub.
In my research I learned about the importance of knowing what goes on your skin. Skin in the largest organ of the human body and what goes on our skin can get absorbed in the blood stream. Making my own products allows me to control what goes on my skin to make sure I am using on the best ingredients.
Why did you decide to sell your products?
Honestly? Making soap is not a cheap. If I wanted to make I had to sell. However, I also love watching people realize how much better a handmade soap feels over a commercially produced product. It makes me so happy to know I've helped improve someone quality of life when they tell me "I finally found a soap that doesn't bother my skin".
It's also important that my kids see a woman owned business in action. I want them to see how hard work and dedication can pay off and to learn the importance of small business in their community.
Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
Everywhere! When I first started, the names of the soap would come to me and I'd build the soap around it. I particularly find inspiration from pop culture like my favorite TV shows and songs. I also get ideas from customers. If I end up creating a soap you've suggested, you get a free bar!
Do you have a favorite product to make?
I love making Calm Down Karen because the lavender essential oil is so calming and it leaves the whole room smelling amazing.
What items do you hope to introduce in the future?
I can't sit still so I am always researching and tinkering with new ideas. I'm currently working on a natural deodorant that isn't filled with all the crazy chemicals in commercial deodorant. Also, I've been playing around with new natural ways to color our soaps. It's fulfilling to create with what nature provides.