We are incredibly excited to share that Left Hand Soap will be joining Pepper Place’s diverse retail community later this Spring.
Soapy Jones, owner of Left Hand Soap Company, has been making soap and skincare products for more than 25 years. It’s safe to say she is passionate about the positive impact healthy skin can have on someone’s life. She and her husband, Erik Hanson, have built Left Hand Soap Company to be a customer-centered investment in a healthy community. As another female entrepreneur joins our District, it’s also important to note that she is one that has mastered her craft.
Moving from its Tuscaloosa location, Left Hand Soap will be located by OvenBird, The Collective and Billy Reid. The retail space will also provide a glimpse into the company’s open-air production and offer classes as COVID restrictions continue to improve. Stay tuned as we announce Left Hand Soap’s grand opening date in the coming weeks!
In the meantime, our team recently sat down with the woman of the hour, Soapy Jones, and asked her a few questions. We’re sharing everything we learned below!
Soapy Jones & husband, Erik Hanson.
Q: Walk us through what “a day in the life” looks like for you.
A- I start work at 8am at home, preparing for the day’s adventures. I arrive at the shop at 9am and get to work on online orders that arrived the night before, answer emails and other business administration sorts of things. Erik will begin preparing the workshop for the day’s makings. At 11am, the workshop opens to the public and we turn towards making the day’s schedule of soaps, balms, butters and custom orders. Each day’s schedule is informed by inventory and special orders. Any brainstorming about upcoming custom batches happens in these earlier hours. We’ll make until everything is checked off the list and head home between 7pm and 9pm, most days. Home to eat, tend our furry friends and get ready to do it all over again the next day.
Q- What led you to starting your own company?
A- I made soap for friends and family one year for winter holidays. They came back when they ran out and asked for more. Twenty-two years later, here we are! It’s allowed us to stay focused on the needs of our customers and grow slowly while paying close attention to quality of ingredients and final products.
Q- How did you get the idea for Left Hand Soap?
A- The short answer is that I’m left handed. The longer answer is that every language or culture has a word for left that is negative. It’s considered the bad hand – and I was the first in my family to be allowed to write left handed instead of being forced to adapt to right-hand dominance. Having such a dirty thing bring such good, clean products to life made me laugh – and that’s my motive for most things.
Q- How has Left Hand Soap evolved since the beginning? Where do you see it going in the future?
A- Our customers’ needs have really informed our direction throughout the years. We actively listen to their skin woes and look for solutions to their particular puzzle. That has blossomed into a product line that is functional and smells great. We will keep striving to make high quality products and listening to our customers. They will guide our way.
We do have some products in development right now that we’re excited to release later this year.
Q- What are your business/company goals?
A- We feel that soap is one of the most important things in your pantry. Good ingredients make good soap, and good soap makes happy, healthy people. We want to continue to expand and meet the needs of the community at large.
Q- What is your favorite part about being a business owner? Least favorite?
A- I love the moment that we find the answer to someone’s skin woes. The moment their shoulders relax and they are hopeful for relief. The moment when a new customer finds their favorite bar – or a long-time supporter gets adventurous and has fun with their choices. It’s all about how the community can benefit from what we do every day.
Least favorite? Paperwork. Hands down.
Q- What is it like owning your own business? Challenges + perks?
A- Forging my own path has been as frightening and uncertain as it has been rewarding. This ship is mine, and I get to steer it…which means it’s all my fault if it runs aground. When I started the company 22 years ago, the business landscape wasn’t very welcoming to small businesses. It’s been awesome to watch the landscape change and become more inviting. We believe partnerships bring strength to all parties. This has really born fruit throughout the years.
Q- Why did you choose Pepper Place for your store location?
A- We have been in love with Pepper Place since we sold at the Farmers’ Market years ago. It’s a beautiful location full of creative minds and a culture of collaboration that’s beautiful to experience. We feel at home at Pepper Place already.
Q- What do you love most about Pepper Place?
A- What a difficult questions to answer! We love the aesthetic. It could be the preservation of a historic building that has new life as a creative hub; or, the team of people at Sloss who are clearly invested in the success of the community. It could be the amazing tenants. I can’t think of a single thing that I don’t love.
Q- Anything else you want to add?
A- I definitely want to say that we’re still in love with our Tuscaloosa community and we may be moving production to Birmingham, but our hearts split the distance between the two.