It's not just soap -- it's hope

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Someday Soap LLC owner and maker Breanna Stone stands in her kitchen on a sunny Tuesday morning, infrared thermometer in one hand, her countertops shrink-wrapped, piping bag upright in a glass jar, soap molds already full and waiting for the foamy topping she's preparing. Stone is chatting as she checks the soap topping's temperature, her manner relaxed but her movements precise.

It's easy to see why. Stone has two canisters of lye, tightly closed, on the counter, a highly caustic substance used to make cold-process soap. Once the soap cures, Stone says, the pH won't be harmful to human skin, but until then, she's wearing heavy gloves and warning off anyone who would get too close.

For someone who has been selling soap just since last fall, and who laughingly dismisses remarks about her professional status with the process, Stone's soaps are high quality.

Soap-making is her passion now, she says, and the way she got there was pretty indirect.

"That's why it's important to get involved," she said. "You never know where it will lead."

Breanna Stone wears rubber gloves, goggles and a gas mask as she mixes lye in warm water Tuesday.

Stone co-owns SEMO Imprints in Jackson with her brother, and, she said, "Giving back to the community is really important to me, always has been."

She checks the temperature of the soap topping again, lifts the drink mixer she keeps just for this purpose and works the topping, angling for the right consistency before she fills the piping bag and dots the top of the apple-scented soap to give it the same look as a pie topped with whipped cream.

Stone tells the story, spinning it out, about how she started volunteering with United Way. Through them, she learned that the Safe House for Women was asking for donations of toiletries, especially soap.

Around that same time, while vacationing in Branson, Missouri, she saw some artisan soap at a spa, and was told that a local woman made it.

At first, she said, "I thought, 'You buy soap, it's not something you make!'" But then she bought a bar, and, she said, "It made me feel gorgeous and relaxed."

Breanna Stone sprinkles colored micas through a hand-held sifter as part of her soap-making process.

It got her thinking, she said, and while they were still vacationing, she was on the internet, searching for books on cold-process soap-making, watching videos online, learning and finding supplies.

"There was a lot of trial and error," Stone said, laughing, "and a lot of expense to get started. But you know, a lot of people have hobbies. This is mine."

In the soap-making process, Stone said, different dyes and fragrances are added, and she tries to steer away from heavy additions on either front.

"I want the soap to be so you can eat it, but you wouldn't," she said.

Most of her ingredients and materials are sourced online, she added, but she buys local when she can.

Breanna Stone's homemade soaps sit on display in her home.

Rather than use coffee extract for the coffee-scented soap, she uses actual coffee, for instance, she said, and she buys her honey from Gillard Family Honey in Jackson.

She gestures to the "someday" stamped on a few finished bars set up on a metal stand, and smiles.

"The company is Someday Soap, because I want people who use this soap to know that someday, life can be better," Stone said.

Integral to Someday Soap's mission is helping the Safe House for Women, Stone said.

For every bar she sells, Stone donates a bar of soap in kind to the Safe House, she said.

KASSI JACKSON ~ kjackson@semissourian.com

Breanna Stone puts on rubber gloves in preparation for her soap-making process in her home Tuesday, May 1, 2018, in Jackson. Due to the ingredients used in soap making, specifically lye, Stone ensures her arms and face are protected from the live reaction of the chemicals before the soap is cured.

She sells at High Street Station in Jackson and two other boutiques, and also sells online, she said.

Last week, she took a donation of more than 60 bars, along with some bubble bars and other items.

She's looking at recipes for laundry detergent, she said, and other items the Safe House residents need that donors might not necessarily think about when donating.

Safe House executive director Jessica Hill said Stone's donations of soap are not only welcome, they're a perfect example of a community member wanting to get involved and finding a specific, meaningful, helpful way to contribute.

Hill said the Safe House has a hygiene item pantry at the shelter and another at the outreach office. "Being able to help all of our clients with those everyday needs is really helpful to them, but we rely on donations of those items."

Breanna Stone mixes fragrance, oil, soap base and colored micas together as part of her soap-making process.

Hill said different businesses, organizations and schools have held successful drives that help keep those supplies on hand.

Having a steady supply from Stone, though, is extremely helpful, she said.

"Not only is it soap, it's amazing soap," Hill said.

The scents, shapes, colors and quality are wonderful, she said, "and for our clients who are used to the most basic things, it's a treat for them, something they haven't necessarily had access to. It meets a basic need but does it in such a way that it really feels special."

And, Stone said, that's one of her goals.

She sprays fine glitter on the top of the apple-scented soap, finishing it off.

"I think every woman has experienced domestic violence on some level," Stone said, "and it's hard to recover from. So hard."

Having a luxury item that is all for them, Stone said, is so special for these women who have been through such a difficult experience and are rebuilding their lives.

"A lot of people come through the outreach office," Stone said, and the soap is available to anyone who comes through for services.

Stone said one woman came through and, when she was told she could have a bar, didn't believe it, saying it was too pretty for her.

"That was a God moment for me," Stone said. "A reminder. I tell myself, 'Don't forget why you're doing this.'"

mniederkorn@semissourian.com

(573) 388-3630

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