Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps

After several years of making soap for friends and family, Emlyn left her career as a nurse and started Solid Soaps in 2018. Crafted with simplicity in mind, Emlyn’s cold process soaps and candles focus on natural ingredients. Meet Emlyn!

Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps | Bramble Berry

How long have you been making soap, and what led you to start your own business?
I made my first soap in 2013 – it was melt & pour soap, and I gifted soaps for the holidays.
My husband and I started making soaps for our home around 2015. We would make a loaf, keep a few bars, and give the rest to friends and family. Enough people said that our soap is awesome, it smells good and does not dry their skin, and they thought others might want to buy this soap.

I started Solid Soaps because I was curious if I can start a small business. In April 2018, I got my LLC and started selling soap on Etsy by May 2018 before Mother’s Day. My purpose evolved to providing practical and consumable gifts that you can give to others. Everyone needs to wash their hands, and Solid Soaps helps transform a mundane task into a luxurious ritual.

Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps | Bramble Berry

Where do you find inspiration?
I will sometimes get asked to make a custom soap for a holiday, gathering, or season. I research colors, scents, and symbols related to the topic, then go from there.For example, 2024 Lunar New Year is year of the dragon. I found dragon molds, used red and yelllow colorants, and an earthy, incense-like fragrance and made festive soaps for markets and custom orders.

I’ve made soap for a local plant shop for their subscription boxes, too. I made a light green and pink soap (their shop colors) colored with spinach powder and pink kaolin clay, succulent embeds on top, and scented it with eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil. We love a soap with a good theme!

Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps | Bramble Berry

What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I enjoy doing custom orders because I get to design a soap based on a client’s requests. I’m creating a soap that’s meaningful and special for my client.
In the actual physical process of soap making, I really love texturing the soap tops. It’s like playing with soft ice cream or pudding!

What has been your biggest challenge to navigate as a small business owner?
Finding the time for everything, personal life and business life, has been a real challenge. It’s hard to “turn off” my business brain and set boundaries with work hours. 

Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps | Bramble Berry

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! Can you tell us a bit about what this month means to you as a Filipino small business owner?
I’m honored to be a Filipino artisan soap maker, specifically because it’s outside of the traditional occupation norm. I was a nurse for 14 years, and I gave up my medical career to be an artisan and start a small business. I almost feel like a pioneer in this artisan space, and I’m happy to share my story. Hopefully it inspires others. I’ve met so many AAPI-owned entrepreneurs in my community, and I’ve recently learned there are a lot of Filipino artists around me! That’s been the most inspiring thing of all. 

What advice would you give to makers looking to start their own business from home?
Seek help! Don’t reinvent the wheel or go at it alone.There are so many resources for entrepreneurs online and in your community; you just have to look. My soap maker community on Instagram has been so helpful, and it’s nice to “talk soap” with others who understand the craft. The small business community in Austin is very strong and supportive of one another.

Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps | Bramble Berry

How do you balance making with content creation, managing your social media pages, and website?
I try to devote one or two days for production (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays), and this includes making soap and all the other physical tasks related. Wednesdays are usually my day to drop off soaps to my local brick and mortar shops, the post office, or other errands outside of my studio.

Mondays and Fridays are for administrative work, such as answering emails, updating my website, or scheduling phone or video meetings.

I try to be present daily on my Instagram through stories because this is my main form of customer engagement and social media presence. Right now I only have energy for one email newsletter a month, and I usually send this out before any markets or workshops coming up. I’m able to push my Instagram posts to Facebook, and this makes my life a little easier. I am not on TikTok by choice; I decided early on that I should limit my time and energy to one main social media outlet (Instagram).

Maker of the Month: Solid Soaps | Bramble Berry

What other makers do you admire, and what do you like about their work?
Amber of Am Happy Soap is one of my first soap making friends, and I love her fun soap videos and cool color combos. Her soaps just exude happiness. She’s also the nicest person, and we’ve met in person to chat about soap-related things.

Lavanya of Vaanya Soap Co is another inspiring business. I enjoy watching her content on Instagram, her journey as a soap maker, and I really love her packaging.

What are your dreams for Solid Soaps? Where would you like to see your business in 5 or 10 years?
I feel like I’m living the dream now! I enjoy growing my business organically, at my own pace, learning new things, meeting new people through markets, and networking with other small businesses. I am able to spend more time with my family and friends and set my own schedule. After working in the medical field for 14 years, this was a breath of fresh air. It’s definitely a luxury to be able to have a leisurely lunch.

In 5 years I hope to be teaching regularly scheduled soap making workshops, more wholesale, more custom orders, and less in-person markets. Maybe my kids will be more involved with Solid Soaps. In 10 years, I hope that I love soap making just as much as I do now.

What are three of your must-have Bramble Berry products? 
Tobacco and Bay Leaf Fragrance Oil is hands down the best fragrance. It’s masculine and complex, and it’s my best selling soap. I renamed it to change it up, but my long-time customers know the original name.

Rose Gold Fragrance Oil is my other best selling soap, and I renamed it to keep things different. I feel like this fragrance is the perfect balance of feminine and floral without being overly rose scented.

Espresso Fragrance Oil is like indulging in a sweet cafe latte. I add finely ground coffee for my Espresso Yourself Coffee Scrub soap, and my coffee lovers really love it.

12 Bar Round Silicone Mold is a great size and has the right amount of sturdiness and flexibility to pour and unmold soaps. I’ve used them for cold process, melt and pour, and lotion bars.

Find Solid Soaps