Fall smells like apple cider and pumpkin spice to me. “I have a pumpkin spice cake fragrance I’m kind of obsessed with that I am excited to add to the shop this fall,” teased soap maker Mary-Christina Sprouse of Second Street Soaps, a small shop focused exclusively on handmade artisan soaps. “I tend to make more ‘fun’ scented soap than the typical bars you would find in big box stores,” she said. “I really enjoy all the different fragrances and color combinations. I like that I can use the same oils and adjust the quantities to achieve a different feel to my bars or swap in different oils and butters so that my bars have different properties, like more moisturizing or bubbly.”
While she personally prefers “food type fragrances,” Sprouse identified the shop’s two most popular scents as jellybean and sandalwood rose. “I get a scent that I want to use or a request for a scent and I try to think of a fun look that connects the fragrance to the look of the bar. Sometimes it comes out the way I wanted it to and sometimes the soap has a mind of its own and it ends up working out well anyway,” she explained. “I think that is one of the things I like most about making it. You never know the look you will get for sure when you pour the soap into the mold.” I was drawn to the Second Chances collection, made from scraps of previous batches of soap and scented with a new fragrance, like apple berry. “The profits from each Second Chance bar sold benefit the Oswego Animal Shelter,” said Sprouse.
Second Street Soaps officially launched this year, but Sprouse has been lathering up for much longer. “I often found myself watching soap making videos on YouTube. I thought it looked like fun and it was just really fascinating to me,” she recalled. “My dad bought me my first loaf mold and mica colorants. I started making soap right away and immediately fell in love with the process. I talked about making soap so often that my husband said that I should try selling it and we decided to come up with a business plan for it.” The shop name originates from the Sprouse family home, which also serves as soap central. “The name comes from the street we live on. It is where all the soap is made so we thought it worked really well.” While working from home, Sprouse also receives the benefit of lots of design input from her family. “My husband helps me come up with names for the soap and descriptions for my website and has even designed a bar or two. My four year old helped me make the ‘gummy bears’ for my gummy bear scented soap. He also designed his own Fruity Pebbles scented soap (named ‘Professor P,’ after Professor Poopypants, the evil scientist in Captain Underpants) and helped mix the colors for that,” she shared proudly. “My mother-in-law attends every vendor event with me and helps take care of my boys so that I can focus on customers. My grandmother-in-law tells everyone she talks to that I make soap and has even sold a few bars for me.” All (clean) hands on deck at Second Street Soaps!
As the new shop grows, Sprouse has found different ways to streamline her creation process to increase productivity. “The more soap I can produce, the more options people will have. My main goal is to give people a lot of fun soaps that they can enjoy themselves or together with their family.” Right now, she is working on expanding her different product lines. “I am researching how to make liquid soap and I would like to add that to my shop lineup soon. I’m also going to have soaps that align with the upcoming holidays.” Pick your favorite scented creation on the Second Street Soaps website and Facebook page here.