Today on the blog I'm here talking with Christine of William Street Soap. She’s dedicated to using high quality ingredients that will leave hair and skin feeling soft and supple (and who doesn’t need more of that?) I was delighted when she graciously agreed to share some of her time with us. Read on to discover the passion behind her business, the small steps she takes to make her business more environmentally friendly, and her love for creating custom orders!
You have such lovely sounding scents. I can almost smell them when I read the name. What inspires you to choose the particular scents you use?
It's always different. Sometimes a particular oil will make me want to create a scent, or I'll know what I want a product to look like. Right now, I'm working on a bath bomb inspired by a sparkly white mica I just ordered. It's not something I would typically order, it's just so beautiful I had to have it. I'm thinking of something reminiscent of a snowball... light blue and white with tons of sparkle. I'm still working on the scent. Something wintry. Maybe some pine, some mint if I can get it to the scent I want at a safe level. If I can't get it to work I'll use a fragrance oil, but I always try to make it with essential oils first. I want things to be natural, but I want them to be safe too. It's a balancing act. It's a work in progress.
Why did you start your business?
I think for the same reason as a lot of makers. I wanted to be home with my kids. My daughter had to go to daycare for a while, and it was so hard at first. Then it wasn't. It was so good for her. In all honesty, it is much harder in a lot of ways to work for myself. If I didn't love doing it so much, it would be really hard. The amount of focus and head space taken up by working for yourself, by creating, by thinking about creating, by all the background things like marketing and packaging and bookkeeping and government forms... it's pretty intense. I'm at a point now where I'm thinking of putting my youngest in daycare part time. It's kind of crazy, I started this because I wanted to be home with them all the time and now I'm at a point where I think it would be better for them to be in daycare; like I could be a better mom if I could have time to focus on this 100% so I could have more time to focus on them 100%.
I am particularly fascinated by your solid shampoo and conditioner. Can you tell us a little more about these products?
The products themselves are pretty amazing. I try and use the most environmentally friendly ingredients I can, but they're never going to be natural. Most people just can't use soap in their hair, so they are detergent-based, but I try and use biodegradable, ecocert things where I can.
How long does it take you to create?
Sometimes it takes a long time, if I'm making a large amount. It's a matter of melting it down, so there's a lot of factors, including what batch of ingredients I have. I've had a batch of shampoo bars take a couple of hours to get melted and mixed properly, then they need to be frozen for a bit and then cured for a few days before I package them. It's a process. I'm getting tips along the way so it's getting easier. The soap making community is amazing; it's very competitive but very supportive too, and there's so many people willing to help each other.
How well do these products lather up? Does more lather mean more clean?
They do lather a lot, but lather doesn't really tell you how well something cleans. There are some wonderful gentle soaps that have virtually no lather, and they still clean well. It helps from a marketing standpoint though; people love lather and bubbles.
How do you go about applying them to your hair?
There's a learning curve to them, they work best if you rub them right through your hair to help them lather.
Are they good for any hair type?
I tried to formulate them so they're good for any hair type. I have probably the worst hair type for tangles, super thin hair but tons of it and it's almost to my waist. I've tried so many solid conditioners and I've never found one that worked, so I made my own. I've tried changing out part of the ingredients to things that are a little cheaper, but it wasn't effective, so I just stuck with what worked. They are silicone free too, which I've heard is great for my curly haired friends. I get so much positive feedback on them, from people with all hair types.
What are/or are there benefits over their liquid counterparts?
I think the main benefit with a solid is the lack of a plastic bottle. I do package in a metal tin because it's just hard to ship them any other way (unless I shrink wrap, and I'm trying to find alternatives to that), but it's amazing the uses you can find for those little tins. They are recyclable, but they're also perfect for collecting little bits... pins, thumbtacks, screws, that sort of thing. Plus, they're so portable. If you go to the gym, or if you travel, a solid isn't going to spill all over your bag
What advice/tips do you have for a daily hair care routine?
I'm the worst person to ask. I don't do anything damaging to my hair, I wash it and condition it and brush it and that's it. I don't heat style, I don't blow dry, I don't colour it. I'm very big on doing less. I don't mess with my skin or my hair too much and it doesn't give me too much trouble. I'd say keep it as basic as you’re comfortable with, and if you're hard on your hair make sure you're conditioning, and deep conditioning once a week or so. I do that sometimes, I coat my hair in tons of my conditioner when I'm in the tub and just let it sit for a good half an hour or so. Makes it super silky and shiny.
Do you have a favorite product you create? Why?
I love emulsified scrubs, especially my new solid ones. They melt into body butter when you add water, so you're definitely getting a time saving product. And the softest skin ever.
Anything you'd like our audience to know about you or your process?
Just that I'm always trying. I change things, I try and make them better. And feedback is so important. For sure I love when people give me a great review, but I want to try and put out the best products I can. Also, custom orders are awesome. I love working with people to create something that works for them, and often I end up loving the product or scent and it becomes part of my regular line up.
Thank you, Christine, for your time, and especially for your products that provide an alternative to commercially made soaps!
See all the handmade bath and body products by William Street Soap HERE.
All photos are courtesy of @williamstreetsoap
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