A Simply Soaps update, sadly Simply Soaps has closed its doors. The owner, Beth Serusa is focusing on her health.
When Beth Smith (now Serusa) was a little girl growing up on Green Avenue in Edagrtown, she would watch her neighbor, Army Jackson make her own cold-process soap. Things were a little different back then.
Mrs. Jackson would use the fat (lard) she had saved from cooking. Little did Beth know at the time that this sweet, little old woman was going to be an inspiration years later.
She decides she is going to start making soap to sell at the popular flea markets that people enjoy so much over the summer.
Welcome Simply Soaps. She sells her soaps at the Chilmark Flea, the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market, the Featherstone Flea Market. Her soaps sell well.
She also makes body butter, bath salts, bath soaks, and more, including this really cool loofah and soap in one combo which I’ll tell you more about in a bit.
Why soap? Well, Beth has history with soap, and commercial soaps are just no good for your body. Most commercial soaps have detergent and all sorts of ingredients you can’t pronounce, which can dry out your skin.
On Beth’s label you can read all the ingredients and feel good about them. Also, people tend to think that the bigger bubbles that you get from commercial soaps are getting you cleaner, and that’s not the case. All those extra additives are stripping the skin.
Soap only needs a couple of ingredients, and natural soap gives you a finer, more mild bubble and a gentle clean, while nourishing your skin. I love learning all sorts of things from artisans.
Simply Soaps are cold pressed, using simple, good ingredients. Beth uses fats (olive oil, shea butter, palm oil, or coconut oil), lye, and essential or fragrance oils. All her items are made is small batches to help keep the quality consistent.
I was a little surprised to hear Beth say fragrance oils since I’ve heard that if you see fragrance oil in a product you should drop it and run away. Beth says that’s not the case. Many fragrance oils are derived from natural things, like grapefruit or tea tree. The trick is to buy a product that uses these types of natural fragrance oils.
In 2011, Beth decides it’s time to stop carting her soaps around, and open a store. She rents a space in Oak Bluffs, across from Slice of Life. There, she continued to grow her line.
Beth now has 12 different scents, all inspired by Martha’s Vineyard, for her line of products, and has a cult-like following for a couple items.
The biggest seller, and the one that she can’t keep on the shelves some weeks is the Loofah Rounds. It’s a natural loofah encased in handmade soap. How genius is this?
You can exfoliate and clean at the same time. These little natural goodies are only $10, and can last quite a while since you don’t usually use a loofah every day. I have one in Gay Head Pink Grapefruit and it is quite wonderful.
Number two on the list of favorites at Simply Soaps is the Skin Loving Sea Salt Scrub. I love scrubs and this one is pretty amazing. Once again, I have the Gay Head Pink Grapefruit (the smell reminds me of my grandma so it’s a fav).
Seriously the scrub contains sea salt, coconut oil, joboba oil, vegetable glycerin and natural soap, and fragrance oil. My other scrub had a couple of those ingredients and a lot more — for no reason obviously.
Third on the list is the Body Butter which is just plain silky. It really softens your skin and keeps it that way for most of the day, and yet only has a couple of ingredients as well. Amazing how good you can feel just getting back to simple soaps and lotions.
Of course there are a lot more body treats at Simply Soaps, including a hangover remedy (!?), but now you have to go to Vineyard Haven to get your soaps, etc. Simply Soaps is now located next to Mocha Motts, You’ll see the whimsical sign her husband Dan made. Head on in, your body will thank you.
Beth has mastered her body collection, and is ready for the next phase, which is creating fragrances. Not her fragrances but helping you create your own.
As of April 28th, Beth is starting to apprentice in the art of fragrance under John “Harpo” Harding from Nantucket Natural Oils to really learn about the art of all things fragrance. I
learned that Nantucket Natural Oils is one of the biggest sources for natural perfeumes and aromatherapy. Hmmm, I guess I need to stop by next time I am on our sister Island.
This process will probably take about four months. So, that means that Beth will be heading over to Nantucket at least once a week. But it will be so worth it. Once she’s skilled with working with natural oils, she plans to add a fragrance bar to her store.
Also, she is excited to bring her craft to the next level. She works with fragrance and essential oils currently but this is a whole new world for her.
A fragrance bar will offer you the opportunity to create your own, custom scent using all natural ingredients. What a great thing to bring home with you from visiting Martha’s Vineyard, and it’s perfume that’s actually good for your body, not full of alcohol and unpronounceable things.
By July, if not sooner, Beth plans to have the fragrance bar in Simply Soaps in Vineyard Haven. We’ll keep you posted on it. In the meantime, stop by and get a loofah round or body butter. I think my next ones will be a Lambert’s Cove Lavender. Something about springtime makes me love the scent of lavender.
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