We watch as Tiffany Meek stirs the essential oils and colors into a batch of soap, then hands it to her husband James, where it shimmers iridescent as he adds the lye and begins mixing it with an immersion blender. The soap rolls and twists and the sparkles begin to diminish.
“It’s almost ready,” he says to Tiffany. Then he turns to Trudy and me. “The lye’s really heating it up now.” He sets down the blender, picks up the pan, and slowly begins pouring it into the soap mold. “It’ll get three to four hundred degrees.”
Tiffany moves around behind him and grabs a spatula, holding it under the fuschia colored stream, spreading it evenly.
“Here you go,” James says, handing the tipped pan to his wife. She cleans it out, then effortlessly moves out of his way as he shakes the mold a few times and steps aside. They move like a dance, well-coordinated, making each step seem effortless as they sweep around each other.
“Now I like to put some swirls in it,” Tiffany says, grabbing a whisk and gently twisting a floral pattern in the quickly hardening soap. She steps back and cocks her head slightly sideways in appraisal of her work. It passes.
“And we’re done.” She smiles as she places the whisk on the table. “That’s how we do it!”
James and Tiffany Meek started The Soap Shack in 2013 and have been making quality soaps since.
“It all started when we went to a craft fair,” James begins. “We bought some soap, and I said, ‘We could make soap better than this!’”
Tiffany laughs as she remembers the conversation. “But you know, he went home and did it! We’ve been making soaps ever since.” A drying rack sits a few feet behind Tiffany with an array of different colored soaps arcing like a rainbow on it. Shelves line the walls, filled with essential oils. Their converted bus looks and smells like soap-lovers heaven on wheels.
“People don’t trust homemade soap,” Tiffany continues. “It can dry out your skin or burn you. You have to earn their trust. That’s why I believe in making all of our soaps from scratch,” she says. “And we only use high-quality ingredients. We even have goat milk soap for those who have extra sensitive skin. It has no color and only essential oils,” she explains, her blue eyes shining above her mask. “For me, making soaps from scratch is more real.” And it shows. Each soap reflects Tiffany and James’ attention to quality and detail.
“Would you like to see to see our goats?” asks James, a hint of excitement in his voice. “They’re pedigree Nigerian Dwarfs.”
“Sure!” we reply. We step down the steep bus stairs and make our way towards the goat pen.
“Here’s the source of goat’s milk for our soap,” James explains as he opens the gate. “This is Blue.” He greets a sweet, blue-eyed goat. “And here’s Tinkerbell. She’s pregnant and due in January.” Both James and Tiffany chat with their ladyfriends for a bit before leading us over to the other pen where the males live.
“We have the guys separated from the girls right now because they’re in rut and a bit rowdy,” Tiffany explains. “Dumbledore, stop,” she kindly says as one goat head-butts the other, and the small goats tussle for a few seconds.
As we wander back to our car, we get to meet their pet turkeys. “This is Snood,” Tiffany explains as a curious bird wanders over to us. “We were going to have one for Thanksgiving,” Tiffany sighs, “but I never knew how friendly they were.”
The goats and turkeys escort us back towards the gate while Tiffany runs off to get some soaps. As we chat with James, Blue nibbles on the side of my boot, just to make sure I’m not wearing any food. I give her a scratch behind the ears.
“Here you go,” Tiffany returns with a bag in hand and a smile in her eyes. The bag’s filled with liquid soaps, hand soaps, lotions, and bath bombs, all scented differently: Lavender, Gin and Tonic, Dragon’s Blood, Lemon Verbena.
“Thank you,” I smile as we say our goodbyes and head to our car.
“Have a great day,” Tiffany and James wave as we leave, then head up the hill to their home, turkeys and goats following behind.
To enjoy some of The Soap Shack’s incredible handmade soaps, visit their website at thesoapshackbaby.com.