It all boils down to chemistry, and Nancy D. Geiser has come up with her own winning business formula.
Six years ago, the Escondido resident transformed her soap-making hobby into a bubbling home-based business called Paradise Soaps.
With the help of her husband, Tim, the business has blossomed into a specialty line of soaps. Using natural ingredients, many from her own garden, Nancy has found her little niche in the market. Right now, the company’s clientele consists of an even mix of individual and wholesale customers, she said.
Nancy sells her 4-ounce bars of soap for $3.50 apiece at craft and street fairs and on the Internet at (www.ParadiseSoaps.com). Since launching the site last year, sales have increased about four-fold, she said, adding that since January, she has made about 800 pounds of soap.
As wholesale orders increase, Nancy experiments with various ingredients that her clients request. Some of her customers request custom-made soaps that will fit a certain theme or product line, she said.
“We get a lot of different requests. Some are a little offbeat, but I can usually come up with a good match.”
For example, a New Mexico inn that attracts stargazers requested a soap that reflected their guests’ interest in astronomy. As a result, Nancy created “Star Light,” which is a white soap with colorful constellations, and “Galaxy,” a dark blue soap with white swirls.
Although making soap is all about chemistry, Nancy has never taken a class. When her curiosity got the best of her, she taught herself how to make soap using books and the Internet, she said.
While working on a formula that fit her idea of what a soap should be, Nancy found that using a blend of vegetable oils works best for her. In addition, she uses ingredients found in several acres of land around her home. Her “garden” includes everything from fruit trees to bee hives to flowers and herbs.
Making sure that the soap is up to her standards, Nancy personally tests a bar from each batch, which can leave the bathtub scattered with many different soaps.
Although Paradise Soaps has taken over a room and a closet in the house, it is not the only venture the Geisers have tackled.
Paradise Soaps is a subsidiary of another home-based business called Tangent Enterprises, which represents wastewater treatment systems and chemistries, she said.