TaDa Soaps feature camelina oilWritten by Saige Albert
“We made soap for Christmas presents for everyone, and it was lots of fun,” comments Peterson. “Then, we started the family business – TaDa Soaps, LLC.”
Peterson’s daughters, Paige and Brekke, and her husband Bob are all part of the LLC, but she is the primary soap maker in the family.
TaDa Soap, LLC took off three-and-a-half years ago after Brekke’s research with camelina prompted Lynn to add camelina oil to their soap.
“Brekke went to MSU Bozeman and went into bioscience and plant science. She started working with camelina oil because it is so high in Omega-3 and natural vitamin E,” says Peterson. “Brekke came home and told me she had to do something else with camelina for her Master’s thesis, and that’s when I started putting it in soap.”
Camelina is used widely for livestock feed, biofuels and health products.
“Camelina is an amazing product,” says Peterson. “They are using the meal from pressed seeds to feed livestock for Omega-3 eggs and beef. It is also used as a biofuel by Air Force jets. Camelina is used in the cosmetic industry as a skin restorative, as well as on burn victims and racing horses.”
Camelina oil is not approved for human consumption, but provides benefits for the skin, because of the increased vitamin content.
“People love it,” says Peterson. “It makes your skin feel yummy.”
When her daughters moved out, Peterson took over the basement of their house to expand production and joined the local art co-op.
In producing her soaps, Peterson makes either 35 or 75 bars at a time.
“I generally make soap all morning and pour it,” explains Peterson. “The next day I turn it out and let it dry for several weeks. Soap lasts longer the drier it is.”
Next, Peterson polishes and packages the product.
“It usually takes a month from the time I start until it goes out the door,” she comments. “Some people make it so they can have it out the door by the end of the week, but I like the way I do it.”
By taking extra time to dry her soaps for several weeks, TaDa soaps don’t shrink and the packaging lasts longer.
Peterson adds that TaDa Soap is handmade from start to finish.
“I have no machinery. It’s hand mixed, hand poured, cut, polished and packaged by hand,” she explains.
Because she didn’t want a typical packaging, Peterson sells her soaps in boxes made of 100 percent recycled craft paper with a cutout so people can feel and smell it.
“You have to be able to smell the soap,” says Peterson, adding, “We try to keep this as light and fun as possible.”
TaDa soap boxes all say “Made with laughs and giggles and CAMELINA oil by the SOAP QUEENS,” and they also have instructions to “mix with water and enjoy.” Peterson notes that they try to add fun graphics for the holiday season as well, featuring coal or “Elfin magic” to embrace the seasonal spirit.
The business keeps growing as Peterson attends various craft and art shows and people spread the word.
“It grows in funny little ways and by word of mouth,” Peterson comments. “For example, I was at a bed and breakfast and mentioned TaDa soap. Now they want to use it. TaDa has a mind of its own.”
She currently has around 35 scents, along with special seasonal scents.
“We are regrouping and will have fewer basic soaps and do seasonal soaps,” says Peterson of her future plans.
Some of the challenges that Peterson experiences include estimating how much soap to make and keeping up with demand.
“If I make 300 bars of a scent, I don’t know if I’ll need more or not be able to sell it,” says Peterson, mentioning that she runs the business by herself, and she keeps very busy.
To market her soaps, Peterson travels around Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota, hitting farmer’s markets, tourist shops and trade shows.
“We hope to do more farmer’s markets because I have found that they are wonderful. Brekke is doing her PhD at the University of Wyoming, so I hope to expand to the Laramie Farmer’s Market,” says Peterson. “We didn’t used to do a lot of art shows, but we really do well there. I’m hoping to move into doing more artsy shows.”
Peterson also sells her product at wedding shows, craft bazaars and mom-and-pop stores, but she says she’s hoping to move in new directions to address her target markets.
“We’re trying to change to reflect what really works well for us,” says Peterson.
Peterson is also expanding her website and Facebook page and is looking at other online platforms to sell TaDa soaps.
“People love our soaps,” she adds. “They like the way it smells, the way it makes their skin feel and the packaging. Once people try it, they get hooked.”