Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Chat With Karen from Pacific NW Bath ...

“If life is not changing, it is stagnating.”

What kind of items will we find in your shop and what makes them unique?

At PacificNWBath, you will find fine handcrafted luxury soaps, body butters, and handmade crochet gift items. What is unique about our products is that they are made using no animal products and we never use any synthetic ingredients. All of our fragrances are either essential oils or are made using the natural botanical ingredients.

How long have you been making soap products and how did you get started?

We have been making our fine soaps for about seven years now. This all started when Michael was looking for a hobby and I bought him a melt and pour soap kit for Christmas. We did not like the quality so we spent a couple years researching on the internet until we came up with a product we did like.

What are the benefits of using natural handmade bath products over those that are commercially produced?

The obvious benefit of using our soap is the lack of petroleum based ingredients. Also, whn you look at our ingredients you see nothing synthetically produced. We also do not remove the natural glycerine. You don't get that dry feeling that you get after using a department store brand.

I see that you make cold process soaps, what is the difference between that and soaps that are made by heating?

Cold process just means that the soap is not heated on the stove. The chemical reaction between the lye (we use plant-based lye) and the oils super heats the soap. Cold process soap cannot be placed into a mold because it goes through a stage called "gel" that will melt the regular plastic mold. Hot process just means that you cook it on the stove to remove the water that the curing process removes. Your third soap making option is melt and pour. The melt and pour uses chemicals so that it will melt in the microwave.

Can you tell us what makes your body butters special?

The body butters we make are very emollient. We do not add water. We use Shea Butter in all of our butters. The Shea Butter is very close to the make up of human skin so it absorbs easily and quickly. Then we add either Mango Butter or Pistachio Butter. These butters contain the vitamins that are in the fruits and add extra nutrients for the skin. Then of course we add in your choice of either an essential oil or natural fragrance oil. Be sure to use these sparingly! A little goes a long way.

Tell us about your pet shampoo. Is it safe for cats and dogs? Do you test on animals?

Our pet shampoo is made of the same natural ingredients used in all of our soaps. The mix of essential oils are good for repelling fleas and other insects. You can use these shampoos on cats, dogs, and humans. We do no animal testing. All of our fine products are tested by either myself or Michael, usually both of us.

Describe your creative process scent and oil combinations in your products.

Our creative process is usually just to try what we think would be good combinations. We also listen to our customers. I can think of two combinations that are a direct result of a customer's suggestions: The Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Rosemary dog shampoo bar, and the Raspberry Truffle. One type, the Chocolate Pepperming, was the result of Michael making chocolate and peppermint on the same day. He liked the scent of the two together and viola! Chocolate Pepperming. We also look for add ins for color. The Anise called for something black, hence poppy seeds--the Rose, for color we add rose hips and rose petals. Of course the rose hips contain vitamins, always a plus.

Are you working on anything new that you'd like to share?

We are working on sugar scrubs. Actually, I've been using the sugar scrubs for about a year. We are considering packaging for them right now. But in the near future we will have several new products on the shelves.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

Our biggest accomplishment is developing a product that people love and are excited to use. We enjoy seeing a customer come back again and again because they love our product.

What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge has been to find new ways to reduce costs while still maintaining our high standards for raw materials.

What kind of experience has running an Etsy shop been for you?

Running a shop on Etsy has certainly been a positive experience. Etsy is a community of artisians and there always seems to be someone willing to help in any way they can.

What advice would you give to new Etsy sellers?

I would advise new Etsy sellers to use the many tools that Etsy has to offer. Certainly find teams and be active on the site.

Are there any special promotions going on in your shop that we should know about?

We do our best to keep our costs low. We do not run many specials simply because our prices are not inflated in a way that would leave much room for a lot of sales.

Are there any other social links where readers can find you?

  If you are looking for us on the web, there are many social networks you can look on:


  1. Great interview. I love Karen's and Michael's soaps. The body butter sounds nice too!

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful interview. I know you really did some digging to find the pictures. Beautiful article, I really appreciate it!

    1. It was a pleasure! I love the story about how you guys got started. Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. That was a fun read, great job I love it!!!!!!