Rigby couple started making soap to save money and now own a growing business
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RIGBY – Ever since Adison Buchholz inherited a vintage Gillette razor and shave brush from his father, he’s been a die-hard fan of wet shaving.
“(My dad) passed away when I was young, so I started using those because that’s what he had,” Buccholz tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I didn’t remember a lot about my dad, so I felt a connection (to him) through wet shaving.”
As a kid growing up in Washington, Buchholz never used a multi-blade razor, and he dreamed of owning a shave shop one day.
“I always wanted to own a shave shop in a big city that would have fancy straight edge razors, double edge razors, and that would have all these creams and brushes,” he says. “My mom told me on more than one occasion that I needed to drop this dream because you cannot make a living selling shaving stuff.”
But in the back of his mind, he knew that one day, when the time was right, he’d make his dream a reality. After graduating from high school and getting married, he and his wife, Rachel, moved to Rigby to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho.
Buchholz has now been shaving for the better part of a decade, and until recently, he’d never found a shaving soap or cream he was happy with.
“I was importing stuff from England. I was importing stuff from Italy. I think I tried a brand from Japan once, and I couldn’t find anything I liked. I was complaining about it a lot and spending a lot of money,” says Buchholz.
Rachel, exasperated by her husband’s constant complaints and spending on shaving supplies, decided Adison should take matters into his own hands. So about four years ago, he taught himself to make shaving soap.
“After a year and a half of experimentation, I had a soap bar that I liked, but it was really better suited for use in the shower,” he says.
Rachel’s mother came to visit and took Adison’s soap with her when she left because it helped with her eczema, a condition that irritates the skin through itching or inflammation. Rachel and Adison recognized a business opportunity.
Adison combined his love for shaving with the skill for making soap, and it wasn’t long before Stanley Street Soap Company was born.
“When it was just something I was doing to save money, it didn’t really seem like a viable business option. But once we learned it was something that would help people, and that people were looking for, the (idea of a soap business) became a lot more real,” Adison says.
The Buchholzes now have their own business selling hand-crafted soap products with all-natural ingredients.
In addition to bars of soap, they also sell their own specially formulated shave soap, along with hand made bowls and brushes. They offer 16 different fragrances throughout the year, with four fragrances available for each season. Current fragrances include Mistress Mary, Monsieur Zidler and Pachamama.
Scheherazade is their most popular fragrance right now, which is a Middle Eastern aromatic resin. It’s commonly referred to as Dragon’s Blood because it’s bright red when it’s first scoured from the tree, Rachel says.
The Buchholzes say the products are made for people with sensitive skin, but anyone can use them. Adison says their standard sized bars are designed to last three to five weeks in the shower, and the shave bars can last several months.
“Generally speaking, the longer a soap lasts, the harsher it’s going to be on your skin. So it took us a while to (fine tune our recipe so that it) would last a long time and still be gentle enough” for people with sensitive skin, Adison says.
“It’s supposed to be affordable, and if you’re buying soap every week, then it’s not affordable,” Rachel says.
Stanley Street Soap Company is mainly an online business. They recently launched a website, but they also work the local farmer’s markets to get their products in front of people and see how they respond to the idea.
Overall, Adison says the response has been great. One half to two-thirds of their customers are return customers, and seeing people come back is what they find most rewarding.
“When it works for people, and it’s that relief they’ve been looking for, usually for years, after spending thousands of dollars, to see them come back and tell us they liked it and want to buy more, is really cool,” says Rachel.
The Buchholzes are at the Rexburg and Idaho Falls farmer’s markets every week. The Rexburg Farmer’s Market is on the south end of College Avenue Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Sept. 27. The Idaho Falls market is on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Memorial Drive until Oct. 26.
“Everyone should make an effort to support local business by shopping at the farmer’s market,” Rachel says.
The Buchholzes are hoping to one day open their own storefront, but for now, they’re grateful for the customers who support them and the growth they’ve experienced.