Q&A With Annie the Soapmaker

(Her website is erdastudios.com)

Tom:  thank you for joining me for lunch.
Annie: Thanks for not making me go to your cave to do this interview.
T: You’re welcome.
A: I imagine no soap would be able to de-filth me after that.
A: I kid because I love.
T: Yeah, yeah.  So why did you get into making soap?
A: Well, my first love is making small, affordable nuclear weapons, but it’s hard to get a steady source of plutonium–
T: Ha. Ha. Seriously–
A: No, wait! Because the landlord has a non-proliferation agreement with the apartment complex across the street?
T: George–
A: One more! Because the baby keeps trying to teethe on the detonators?
(Silence as the waitress refills my iced tea and Annie’s smartass reservoir)
T: You done?
A: Yeah. I have to save something for the late show.
T: So, why make your own soap?
A: Honestly, because I had a hard time finding soap that wasn’t made from truly nasty chemicals.  When my daughter was born, I couldn’t imagine putting trichlorowhateverthehell on her skin.  I took a class back in nursing school, and I started experimenting.
T: And this experimenting led to the baby?
A: Har! No.  Well…  Anyway, it’s really fascinating working up new formulas, and knowing that the soap I’m using on her skin is all-natural, and not full of things that should be locked in a toolshed.
T: The other night, I saw your minion at work–
A: Kyle is my husband, not my minion. I keep telling you that!
T: Semantics.  Anyway, he had a couple bars of your hemp oil soap he’d brought in for another coworker. It smelled awesome. Artificial scents?
A: Nope. That’s a good soap for men. It has rosemary oil in it, too.  There are so many wonderful scents in nature. Why not use them?
T: At Thanksgiving Dinner, the aroma of pumpkin pie was driving me nuts. I don’t suppose you have one that smells like that?
A: As a matter of fact, we do. It’s made with real pumpkin, and my own spice blend.
T: Unreal.  So you could make a soap that smelled like just about anything?
A: Easy there.  I’m not going to make some kind of jet fuel/freshly mown grass/stripper smelling soap. But there are so many essential oils that work wonders for your skin, and have a lovely scent as well.
T: Like a bonus.
A: Exactly.  Take the soup we just ate.  The cooks started out with a basic chicken stock. They added other ingredients to create the chicken corn chowder. The same basic stock could’ve become chicken noodle, or that awesome chicken tortilla soup they have sometimes. Our soap is the same way.
T: Your soap starts out as chicken stock?
A: (rolls eyes/shakes head/sighgrowls)
T: Oh! Or like in “Fight Club”? When they got the bags of human fat from the lipo clinics?
A: You are demented.
T: which is why you love me.
A: (sighs). Yeah.  Anyway, our soaps are made from a pure vegetable oil base, not from chickens or lipo patients’ butt fat.  From that pure vegetable oil base, we add other natural ingredients, natural oils and scents, depending on what we want the soap to do.
T: For example?
A: Winter is coming, and a lot of people have problems with dry skin. All of our soaps are great for the skin, but some are specially formulated to add extra moisture. 
T: The difference between the other soaps I’ve used and yours is huge. You do a wonderful job.
A: Thank you.
T: Thank God I have a nice trichlorowhateverthehell lotion for after I shower.
A: This would not surprise me in the least.
T: What’s been the biggest upside to your burgeoning soap empire?
A: Hah. Not an empire quite yet.  I like that the soap I make is natural, and that I’m not trashing the environment in the process.  I like that I can use these soaps myself, or on my daughter–
T: Or your minion.
A: –and know they’re good for our skin.  What’s really been gratifying is seeing people come back for more.  I love when people buy through the website, but sometimes there’s no substitute for seeing somebody’s face.  We sell at a craft fair in Safety Harbor.  Almost every time, I’ll see somebody who bought a sample pack last month, and they’re so happy with the results that they buy more, for themselves and as gifts.
T: You are frightfully good at both the soap-making and the frabjuous jewelry you design.
A: “Frabjuous?” Would you like a Jabberwock-tooth necklace?
T: Sure! Perhaps you could sell the Jabberwock some hemp oil soap as well, after the extraction.
A: Why not? Even imaginary creatures can benefit from a nice soap.
T: This was fun.
A: Indeed.  And just so you know, if you smack my ass, I will smite you, snicker-snack.
T: Relax, George. That’s a different storyline.

(My friend Annie is real, as is her minion…sorry, husband , and the unbelievably cute baby, who’s actually closing in on two.  Her soaps really are amazing, and reasonably priced. Annie is also a gifted jewelry designer. She’s actually gone to North Carolina and picked gemstones straight from the ground. (Apparently, garnets and rubies and such grow in the dirt, sorta like carrots–who knew?) (If you’re wondering, I call her “George,” because she reminds me of the Ellen Muth character on “Dead Like Me.” She calls me “Hagrid,” because I’m a half-giant with hair control issues) Please visit her website at erdastudios.com She does great work, and her prices are really good.  You owe it to your epidermis, and the epidermises of those you love. Thanks, and Happy Tuesday!)

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6 Responses to “Q&A With Annie the Soapmaker”

  1. Sweet! I’ll stop over for a look-see.

  2. Reasonably priced, and I can almost smell them from the descriptions. I have a lot of trouble with soap so I might get me some.

    • Yay! She does good work. She’s delightfully bent, but she makes great soap. I’m having her create an X-mas present for Punkin. Happy Thanksgiving, LT.

  3. Tom,

    You are truly a fruitcake! Anyhow Annie’s soaps are awesome, I just got my reorder for my boyfriend and son . Both have skin/acne issues, and this seems to help.

  4. So, you are ordering a gift Basket for your “Minion” Punkin? How nice. I’m sure she will love it.

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