Start of by telling us your name and what you do.
My name is Meg Rinehart. I own Local Lather, an Oklahoma-based soap company. I specialize in natural handcrafted soap, but I also love making a variety of other bath & body products. These include sea salt scrubs, solid lotion bars, and men's shaving soap and beard oil.
What made you get into making soap?
It started with two things really. I love to cook and I have a deep appreciation for essential oils and their healthy benefits. Making soap sort of combines the two in a special way - it's like cooking but with precise math and chemistry. I get to formulate and tweak different recipes and scent combinations plus decide what extra additives or colors will go into each batch.
Walk us through the process that you go through when making soap.
Each oil used to make soap has its own unique property. For example coconut oil contributes to the white fluffy lather in soap. Avocado oil contains vitamins A, D, and E so it's not only moisturizing but healing as well, and olive oil makes the bar of soap hard and resilient so it will last longer. Plus, it attracts moisture to your skin turning it into a mega-nourishing bar. I try to keep all of this in mind when making each batch of soap.
When all of the ingredients are combined and blended, the mixture becomes almost pudding-like. It is poured into a parchment-lined wooden mold. The saponification process naturally causes the batter to generates its own heat. Twenty-four hours later the bricks of soap are un-molded, sliced into bars, and set on a shelf where they cure for 4-6 weeks before finding new homes.
We love how you tag each soap with the song and album you were listening to while making it. Tell us a bit about music and how it plays a role in making soap.
I believe that life has a soundtrack no matter what it is that you are doing or experiencing. Making soap is no exception. Music is very mood-influencing and an important part of the creativity in my process.
For instance, as I was prepping basic ingredients while listening to the harmonica, banjo, pedal steel guitar, and the mournful crooning of Neil Young on "Harvest," I was suddenly in the mood to make a Patchouli, Pine Scotch, and Cedarwood soap. No major additives or colors, just a simple straightforward bar of soap.
While listening to the whimsical multilingual tracks on "Get Happy" by Pink Martini, I made a colorful batch of Honeysuckle Orange Blossom to celebrate the last few days of Summer.
The music doesn't always directly influence the outcome of the soap, but it's still a thoughtful detail that many people appreciate. It makes it more meaningful, especially when it's purchased as a gift. Some of my customers buy solely based on artist or album, believe it or not.
You've talked about the crazy world traveling you have done how does that tie into you making soap?
I am most definitely a travel addict. I spent a great deal of my twenties seeing as much of the world as possible, and now I get to do that with my better half. My favorite part of traveling is experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of other countries. I am a highly sensory driven person. I suppose that does play a big part in why I'm so drawn to soap making.
You’re soap is really pretty, you can obviously tell you pay a little more attention to detail. What makes this such a creative thing for you?
The most exciting moment in the process, for me, is un-molding each block of new soap and making that first cut, revealing the lovely colors and patterns. Anyone who experiments with "soap art" can tell you how unpredictable it is. That can be both good and bad sometimes. No two bars are alike both because they are hand cut and because the swirls and colors are a bit random and ever-changing as each bar is sliced. This element to soap-making is where each maker's personality is most evident. I think that's what I love about it most.
You've just finished your "tiny house" pop-up shop for your soap. Where did you get the idea for that?
Yes, it's exciting times here at Local Lather! the Tiny House Local Lather Shoppe is finally complete. It has been a true labor of love and we have learned so much from this endeavor. Having my products featured in stores like Blue Seven has been instrumental in my growth. They have been so encouraging and supportive. Earlier this year, I started feeling really itchy for change and something that might take things to the next level. Also, a way to really connect in person with more of my customers.
The same way food trucks have shaken up the restaurant world, the idea of mobile retail is making a boutique-on-wheels a possible alternative to traditional brick and mortar storefronts. It's super popular on the coasts, but just now really making its way to amazing cities like ours. I am good friends with Heather, the owner of Cargo Room, a mobile fashion boutique. She is definitely a pioneer of mobile retail in Oklahoma City. Seeing her built out trailer last year really inspired me to move forward in the same direction but with a twist. That's how construction began on the tiny house.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
What is your morning ritual?
On weekdays, I love the idea of being one of those people who gets up early and has time to putter around listening to NPR, watch the news, or read the paper while drinking coffee. The truth is, I'm not. I sleep until the very last second possible - sometimes even 5-10 minutes past that! I'm usually running out the door with a to-go mug of coffee in one hand and a granola bar in the other.
Except on Sundays, of course. Sundays are for BRUNCH! This is the greatest meal ever dreamed up. It eliminates the need to get up early and, as an added bonus, it's completely acceptable and expected that you will enjoy a mid-morning cocktail. Nothing like a bloody mary, mimosa, or bellini before noon. :-)
How do you take your coffee?
Strong. There is no greater crime than weak, watery coffee in my opinion. I like mine with a splash of Half & Half and a touch of raw sugar.
I love my pizza with...
I'm a big fan of Empire Slice House - a BIG FAN! Lately, I cannot imagine pizza without a side of that delicious pink sauce they make. Mmmm... MCA or Fungus Among Us and that little bit of siracha & dill flavor with my crust is to die for!
When you're not making soap, what are you up to?Spending quality time with my husband, Levi, and my little papillon puppy, Cash.