SOAK Bath Co Brand Story
I, Candace Alarie, started the SOAK Bath Co brand kind of by accident. It all started in my early twenties when I developed a dry and irritating skin condition called eczema. My doctors prescribed every medicated ointment on the market and not only did they not work, they were actually quite painful when being administered to my eczema. I started to do my own research and looking for natural alternatives to managing eczema. I came across a few DIY recipes for making natural skin and body care products at home and thought, what do I have to lose in trying this out? I have always loved DIY projects and arts and crafts so I started to create products with the natural oils I found in my pantry. Spending endless hours on Pinterest and Youtube, I eventually customized a handful of recipes I loved and managed to keep my eczema under control and eventually eliminated it all together. For years to follow I would make these recipes in my own kitchen for my own personal use.
Fast forward a few years to late 2018, one weekend I decided to show my brother the art of soap making. We both love a great creative outlet! We started making a few soap recipes here and there, playing around with different scent combinations, clays, root powders and botanicals to create unique designs. We got into such a creative spiral that we ended up with a lot of soap bars, all over the place. Too much for us to use up on our own. It just so happened I had a coworker at the time whose spouse was hosting a craft market in Winnipeg so I decided to sign up for the market and see if we could sell some of our soap creations. Well, it turns out that people loved our soap bars (and they were nowhere near as nice as they are now!) So I signed us up for another market and another and another and I started thinking there might just be something here.
Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of starting and building my own business. My parents have been entrepreneurs their whole lives and I knew that at some point, that would be what I would do too. Out of high school I went to University to get my Bachelor of Commerce, knowing one day I would own a business I just didn’t know what that business would be. I took on a management position upon graduating from Commerce and worked my way up the corporate management ladder. I truly did love this corporate career but in the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t exactly what I was meant to do.
By 2019 I had a strong enough knowing that SOAK Bath Co could be a thing, it could be the business that I was looking to start and build. I resigned from my corporate position in early 2019 and officially dedicated myself to SOAK Bath Co full time in July of 2019. Looking back it’s a little scary to see how little I was starting with, basically a vision in my head and a whole lot of energy to make that vision a reality.
We converted our home basement into the first version of our soap factory. Installing a kitchenette in the basement to be able to make our soap bars, then adding drying racks and an order assembly and shipping station. Soon enough we were in a full fledged manufacturing facility in my home basement. For the first year and a half I made every soap bar, bath salt, bath melt, packed every order, posted every social media post, sent every email, answered every question and reached out to any potential boutique shop that I thought would love our product line. I’m exhausted thinking back to those days. That start up phase required 16 hours days, 7 days a week. My mom for some reason got roped into all this fun and was making our bath bombs from scratch in her home basement and we would haul the bath bombs as needed to our home “headquarters” as the orders required. I can still feel the weight of hauling bath bombs up and down two flights of stairs. Some of those memories will just never leave, it’s how we started.
The business eventually reached a point where I needed to bring on additional help. Olivia joined us part time in August of 2020, initially coming on to help top up essential oil jars, adhere product labels to our finished product. Turns out she was the creative unicorn I didn’t know I was looking for. Over the next few months, Olivia took over everything to do with the soap making process. Making our bars, treating them with all the TLC they need to go from pouring the soap bar, to slicing, to labeling and all the dishes that comes with each of those steps. As I write this, Olivia is an integral part of the SOAK Bath Co team and makes our soap bars look much prettier than I ever did. She has the creativity to dream up new soap bars using new techniques and inspiration. Eventually I hired additional amazing local humans to help with labeling, packaging and shipping the product line to our incredible customers.
Skip to May 2021 and we hit a major milestone, we had long overgrown our basement operations and it was time to move into our first commercial space, one that would not require ascending or descending staircases any longer. It took two (very grueling weeks, moving is no joke) to move into our current facility at 290 Main Street Niverville. We have really made this space our own since moving in but are so grateful to have a work home away from home.
Since starting SOAK Bath Co we’ve landed media coverage in Canadian House & Home Magazine for the artistry of our soap bars and Hello Canada Magazine gave us a spotlight on our luxury bath bombs. The SOAK Bath Co product line can be found on the shelves of hundreds of boutiques across Canada and the USA. We even had the opportunity to be on the shelves of the Hudson’s Bay Company. SOAK Bath Co products are available to shop online at www.cksoakbathco.com and if you’d like to see all the behind the scenes of running this business I encourage you to follow us on Instagram @cksoakbathco and basically any other social platform out there.
Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me, for allowing me to build my dream and employ an amazing local team that keeps all of the balls in the air on a day to day basis.