January Featured MCA Member: Michelle Byram, Soulshine Soap Company
When we choose to take our craft from small scale to a production level business, we heavily rely on the tools in our skillset that we have acquired in many areas of life. Michelle Byram, founder of Soulshine Soap Company, did not initially go into business as a soap maker, rather, she began her professional career as a farmer, raising pigs, growing vegetables, and promoting her wares via local farmers markets.
In 2013, when Michelle took time away from farming to care for her mother, and while doing so she sought other ways to make her own living, working for herself, and continuing her mission to educate others about the benefits of healthy living. It was then she landed on soap making, and the premise that it is equally important to be cautious of what we put on our bodies, not just what we put in them.
She read, watched, and researched her way to creating sustainable, environmentally, animal, and people friendly personal care products that use good-for-you ingredients– without losing anything in the department of consumer appeal. Her soaps are stunning bars made from natural clays and essential oils, and her line of skin-care products are decadent additions to any self-care routine, including a clay facial mask made of green clay, a Queen of Hungary facial toner, facial steam made of colorful botanicals, and solid lotion bar that smells of a new bar of delicious chocolate. Soulshine’s laundry products are amazing, safe alternatives to the brands we purchase at the big box store, with a stain stick that works as well if not better than the chemically laden stain remover of choice, and essential oil based detergents leave clothes fresh, clean, and fragrant. These products have proven to be a popular addition to the personal care choices offered regularly at the Center for Maine Craft.
Michelle brought her extraordinary craft back to the farmers markets and to small retailers, with their demand often reaching beyond what a single producer can make on her own. Like most areas of fine craft, good things in soap making take time. Michelle’s soaps need approximately 4-6 weeks to cure, allowing them to last longer without added preservatives. Her mission is to educate people regarding what they are putting on their bodies via the art of making attractive, indulgent skin care and hygiene products using only ingredients we can pronounce including natural clays and essential oils, rather than harmful fragrances and chemicals.
Learn more about Michelle and her process at https://www.soulshinesoapcompany.com/, and check out our selection of Soulshine Soap Company products at the Center for Maine Craft.
Images by Wylde Photography