Artisan soap's sudsy success

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
1211_Soap_03
Ledford pours soap into a mold at SLAB, which uses palm, coconut, olive oil and exotic butters in its handcrafted soaps.
// Photo by William Bragg

The growth potential of the handcrafted soap market has brought larger companies into the mix. And that, not competition from other small soapmakers, is where the real threat to this burgeoning industry lies, according to Tim Ledford of SLAB Handcrafted Soaps in Salem. “When large companies come in and buy smaller companies, they can dilute the brand and the organic and natural concepts.” If these companies sell inferior mass-produced products as handmade, he continues, they can turn customers off from real handcrafted soaps. To combat this influence, Fiesel, Ledford, Futoran and Gale continue to connect with customers and demonstrate the benefits of their products.

They also continue to look toward the future, refining their recipes and responding to consumer demand. Fiesel recently introduced vegetable oil–based soaps to her line of tallow and goat’s milk soaps as a result of consumer demand. Ledford, who has added two employees to his operation, will soon be moving to a larger production facility so he can keep up with his customers. He predicts the handcrafted soap industry will follow in the footsteps of microbreweries, creating a market that can withstand pressures from large corporations and continue to grow through innovation and creativity. And creativity is the hallmark of soapmakers, says Fiesel.

“There are a lot of creative avenues you can employ in trying to pursue that perfect bar,” she says. “It is a never-ending quest for the best.”



 

More Articles

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS