I keep seeing Scubby Neck Handmade Soap Co. in stores as I am out and about. Loving the scent of the soaps and the cool, simple burlap packaging, I naturally thought there might be an interesting story there that might make “scents” to explore.
I met with Audrey and Jeremy Smith, the people behind the soap. Jeremy works at Tracker Home Decor in Edgartown as a project manager, and Audrey works for the Frame Center in Vineyard Haven as a frame maker. Both are young, fun, energetic, and artistic too.
He draws and plays guitar, she paints and plays piano, and in their spare time, they are busy working together making interesting soaps in their studio apartment. I love the Vineyard, you never know what fun stuff people are up to.
How does a vibrant, young married couple of two years, decide to make soap? Well, here’s how. Jeremy also does decorative, Venetian plaster in homes. It’s a very high-end finish and the supplies are expensive.
It’s a completely natural finish, consisting of a mix of limestone and marble, and there is a special material used to seal the plaster. Turns out that material is a olive oil soap. Something happens to the soap, a sort of molecular change, when it’s introduced to the plaster.
Deciding to Make Soap
This soap is very expensive, so knowing that the process has been around for centuries, Jeremy researched how to make it for himself. Turns out it was super easy to make olive oil-based soap and the ingredients were all natural. He began making soap for his plaster work.
Naturally, he then started making soap for himself and Audrey. They played around with different scents and essential oils. Their first stand-out soap was a tea-tree oil and peppermint soap (part of the Scrubby Neck line, it’s now the Chilmark Mint). It smelled amazing and felt great.
An added bonus was that the soap was really gentle. Jeremy has sensitive skin and usually has red flaky skin, but not with the soap he was making. When he researched what was in commercially produced soaps, he was shocked at the use of harsh chemicals. He and Audrey are committed to only using natural ingredients.
Scrubbing Up Success
Friends then started asking them for the soap. If you’ve ever smelled a Scubby Neck Handmade Soap, most likely you’d want it too! So Audrey and Jeremy were happy to oblige. Then people said that they should sell it. Audrey thought that was the craziest idea, but Jeremy was totally in to it!
Why not sell it? First though, what should they call it? They wanted something with a nod to Martha’s Vineyard, but not so obvious. They got out a map of the Island and started thinking about places they like.
They saw Scubby Neck, and I light bulb went on, not to mention that they live on the same street as Scubby Neck Farm. Scrubby Neck would be the perfect name.
Next it was on to packaging which can be tricky. Audrey and Jeremy wanted something natural because the soap has all natural ingredients but interesting too. The mini burlap bags were perfect, a little costly, but perfect.
How scary it was for them to commit to buying 400 of those bags. A big expense when you have no idea if anyone is even going to buy your soap. Not to worry, they’ve sold over 2,000 bars of soap — not to bad considering this is only their second season, and first full year.
They also designed the logo themselves, and then it was on to making different scents. There are 11 Scubby Neck Handmade Soaps to choose from, well actually 12. However, the ’77 Scrub is exclusive and only available at Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs.
Audrey and Jeremy have had a lot of fun mixing different herbs and essential oils together to make the scents. They are like little alchemist with little drops of the oil, and such.
As mentioned before, the ingredients are all natural, the herbs used are grown on the Island, many of which are grown in their backyard, and even the salt is from Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt.
Scents to Stir the Senses
Let’s talk about the different bars that Scrubby Neck offers. Before that, I should mention that the soap is made with Chilmark Spring water. This water doesn’t contain the harsh minerals that most tap waters have.
With 12 different options, there is certain to be one you’ll love. Each one is inspired by the Vineyard, and of course includes local ingredients.
How about Main Street which has coffee (Chilmark Coffee), cedar, and patchouli. Maybe Katama Sand Bar is for you with its orange, Tea Tree, and eucalyptus notes. How about Squibnocket Surf with Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt, French lavender and kelp powder — surf’s up.
I have to say that Vineyard Meadow is my favorite. It smells so fresh and it’s almost inspiring when used in conjunction with my outdoor shower. Scrubby Neck soap has a great lather, and the bars last about two weeks.
Where to Find Scrubby Neck Handmade Soaps
Head to Rainy Day, Alley’s General Store, MV Florist, Juliska, Slip 77, Morning Glory Farm, or of course, the Scrubby Neck Handmade Soap Co. website. I hope you find a scent that makes you smile!
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