Why did the name change to Good Soapworks USA? What happened to Good Soapworks of Athens?
I work part time in an extra virgin olive oil and balsamic store called Blue Sky Oil & Vinegar in which we also carry a line of soap and lotion made with olive oil that i knew was made for handmade for us. They are very popular items and I had firsthand knowledge of the lotion's quality. In March 2014, during a store meeting, it was announced that Mike and Gina Rolsten of Good Soapworks of Athens, our soap and lotion supplier, we're looking to sell their business and enter true retirement and wondered whether either of us would be interested in buying it. Long story short, in May 2014, we filled a Uhaul with almost everything GSWOA they owned and moved it to Chapel Hill, NC.
The name change was a no-brainer for a couple reasons:
- When based in Georgia, fellow Georgians assumed the Athens referred to Athens, GA and rightly so. Gina and Mike found themselves explaining that the name and the owl were a reference to Greek anthology.
- Gina has always been passionate about all natural skin care and started doing it as a hobby, giving it away as gifts to family and friends. Though grateful, it wasn't in their plan to generate the amount of interest that they did. My promise is to maintain the integrity of that which Gina created. My vision is to build on that success and spread the love beyond the east coast. I wanted the name to express that.
What does the future hold for the Owl Logo?
This particular owl symbol was actually on the first coin from ancient Athens, Greece. The Greeks loved aromatherapy, and many of the fragrances Mike and Gina created were inspired by Greek Mythology. For now, the owl will be sticking around. You may see him in different colors or on different backgrounds but our products will still be under the watchful eye of Athena's Owl.
Why should I use all natural soap?
Our base of plant oils, essential oils, herbs and other natural colorants is free of alcohol, detergents and other harsh chemicals found in most cleansing bars. We produce each bar by hand, using eco-friendly practices. But the best reason to use our soap is because it looks, smells, and feels great on your skin!
Do you use lye to make your soap?
The truth is that all soap is made with lye. Soap is the product of fat plus a strong base. Old fashion soap was made with a kind of lye commonly known as potash. The chemical formula is potassium hydroxide (KOH) and the way it was made at home was to mix wood ash with water. When you make lye this way it’s very hard to get the strength exactly where you want it. And if you don’t measure your lye content just right you can end up with soap that is too harsh (heavy lye) or too oily (too much free fat). Neither is desirable. Potash is still used today to make liquid soap, but it doesn’t make a hard bar of soap unless you use animal fat. If you want an all vegetable oil bar you must use sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the strong base in order to ensure a “hard” bar. Pretty much all hard soap, whether commercial or handcrafted, is made with sodium hydroxide.
How long is the shelf life for your soap?
As long as the soap is kept dry and relatively cool, like normal indoor home conditions, it will be fine for several years. The more powerful essential oils are quite long-lasting. We have a few of our original Clove & Patchouli soap (from 2001) that are still very fragrant. Lighter scents, such as citrus, fade more quickly. However, the loss of scent is only on the surface where most of the essential oil has evaporated. When the bar is used, the scent will once again be noticed.
Don’t I need antibacterial soap?
Simply washing with good old-fashion soap and water is still considered to be the most effective way to eliminate 99.9% of all of the microbes (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) from the skin. And all natural soap is 100% biodegradable and environmentally safe. In reality, many “antibacterial” hand soaps and other cleansing products contain the chemical triclocarban (a.k.a. Triclosan). Many Rivers and streams in the United States now contain high amounts of this chemical which poses an environmental threat.
What if I have allergies?
Some people have allergies and/or sensitivities to any of a variety of oils and/or scenting agents. If you have had problems with other skin care products in the past, you should be careful of any product you use in the future. Our soaps are not tested to be “hypoallergenic”, however, many sensitivities are most likely to occur with scented soaps, in particular the synthetic fragrances (which we don’t use). If you are not sure, we recommend that you try our unscented “Simply Soap”. It paired with the unscented goats milk lotion make a dynamic du
Why is your soap so expensive?
Because of the ingredients we use and the fact that it is made in small batches by hand. The Pure Essential oils we use are the most expensive ingredient, and we use the maximum % recommended for soap. We try to purchase our raw materials in bulk to keep our costs down, but many of the base oils and essential oils we use have a limited shelf life and we are not able to take advantage of volume purchasing.
Does your soap have the same pH as water?
No, natural soap is by definition a somewhat alkaline substance. We periodically test the pH and find to be consistently between 8 - 9 (similar to the brands that are advertised as “mild”). If we added chemicals to reduce the pH to 7 (like water) then it wouldn’t be soap anymore and we’d have to call it a “beauty bar” or “cleansing bar” or something!
What is Glycerine?
Glycerin is produced during the natural soap-making process. This clear thick liquid absorbs water from the air attracting moisture to the skin. We do not remove this naturally occurring bi-product; it serves as an emollient, humectant and lubricant.
Is your soap biodegradable?
Yes!!! However it is not hypoallergenic. Please review the ingredients to verify that you do not have allergies to any of the raw materials we use.
Why don’t you offer other scents?
We are always open to new suggestions, but we restrict our options to natural essential oils (not the artificial fragrance oils that are used by so many soap makers). We may be offering new scents seasonally in the future that are made with the more expensive essential oils like sandlewood, rose, etc. Unfortunately, it may be necessary to retail those fragrances at a slightly higher price. Keep an eye out.
How should I store the soaps?
Unused soaps will keep quite well in any environment that is out of direct sunlight and not warmer than 90° F. Cold weather / freezing does not seem to harm the soaps. Once you unwrap a bar of soap and begin using it, you will prolong the life of the soap by keeping it in a dish that is well drained and where the humidity is low enough to allow the soap to dry between each use. We will be offering a variety of affordable dishes in the store in the very near future that will help you prolong the life of your bars of soap and as a result lower the cost of all natural skin care for you.