Soapbox Soap Company co-owner Shelly Decker was - somewhat reluctantly - brought into the soap making business by her sister and business partner Kimberly Decker.
"Every winter Kimberly would have really dry, cracked hands. She started doing some research about what might help, and came across a natural soap making method. That's when she started making her own soap. When I first saw it, I said, 'That's not soap!' I wouldn't touch it. It looked weird and smelled funny," Shelly, of West Chester, said.
That was in 1999. But sister Kimberly was undeterred, she honed her technique, and one day asked Kimberly to come to her Lebanon home to make a batch. That one turned out much better, and a business idea was born.
"I fell in love with the process and fell in love with the soap. I said we had to sell it," said Shelly, who along with Kimberly, has a business degree but had never run a business.
The soap is made with natural oils like olive, avocado, palm, sunflower, coconut, palm kernel, castor, soybean and jojoba. It helped Kimberly's dry skin
In early 2000, the sisters began selling their product at crafts shows around southwest Ohio. The soaps proved popular. By 2007, they took a big step and opened The Soap Box Soap Company in historic downtown Lebanon. Their product line has expanded and includes lotion and body cream, oils, powders and lip balm.
Shelly and Kimberly, with the help of family members, make all of the products and design the packaging. Soap Box Soap Company carries more than 30 varieties of soap including lavender, apricot fig, blackberry currant, citrus sage, coconut colada, jasmine and goat's milk. Many varieties have been suggested by customers, Shelly said.
In the winter of 2009 the Soap Box Soap Company hit another milestone, opening a shop in Hyde Park square. They continue to travel to festivals to sell their product, and their soaps are sold at area Whole Foods stores. They also sell products through their web site
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Shelly Decker, co-owner Soap Box Soap Company