Monday, September 20, 2010

Making a CLEAN LIVING with Soap

An excerpt from the NC Farm Bureau Magazine

Farm Bureau Members on both ends of North Carolina have found soap making to be a crucial part of their livelihoods. One chose to embark on the endeavor as a way to include a value-added product to a goat and beekeeping operation. The other ended up in the soap business after exhausting just about every other potential occupation.

Research and planning is exactly what Mitchell County Farm Bureau Members Tim Tyndall and Karen Wylie did when they decided to open up the Soap Shed out of their home. Living less than a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway gave Tyndall and Wylie an initial outlet to market their soap, a venture that was seen as the last gasp toward a sustainable living after the downturn of the furniture and textile industries in Spruce Pine.

“Have you heard people say necessity is the mother of invention? Well you’re looking at it,” Tyndall says.

Tyndall put his advanced degrees in biology and engineering to work to create the five base formulas he now uses to make 130 different varieties of soap. Wylie put her doctorate in strategic planning to use to create the marketing plan that took the couple to festivals up and down the Eastern Seaboard as well as a blooming online business.

Now, the Soap Shed is embarking on 13 years in business.

“We reinvented ourselves as a result of being in a situation we had no control over,” says Tyndall, who now hand-makes more than 24,000 pounds of soap annually. “The quality of our products has stood the test of time. We’re very passionate about helping people understand what good skin care is.”

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