Owner and soap crafter, Jessica Guptill.
Owner and soap crafter, Jessica Guptill.

Okay, I guess first I should clarify that ‘us’ is really just me.

Hello, I’m Jessica, owner/operator/soapmaker and pretty much every other part of the ‘company’ of Clean Line Soap Co.  While originally from the SF Bay Area, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina with my family in my early teens and have been here ever since.  Now in my early thirties (and having spent over half my life here) I now consider myself a Southerner.  I live just outside Charlotte with my husband (my greatest cheerleader and first and foremost soap tester), our two small kids, and a very, fluffy dog.

Around 2009-2010, when my husband was still a boyfriend, and my children were just possibilities, we went on a trip to Asheville for the weekend and while we were out and about in downtown we came across a consignment boutique, the kind that sells arts and crafts of the locals.  One wall was all bars of beautiful, beautiful soap.  I don’t remember much about the bar I bought now, other than it smelled lovely, was smooth in my hand and was marked as ‘castile soap.’  I bought it, took it home and tossed it in my shower.  And fell in love, and intrigue.  This bar of soap was nothing like the beauty bars and commercial soaps and body washes I had used all my life.  It was creamy.  It was bubbly.  It didn’t leave my skin feeling stretched and tight and itchy.  I was curious.

And being an autodidact by nature, I decided to learn a little about handmade soap.  I am thankful to have grown up in the internet age, where my first few questions were easily answered online.  Articles and forums were read, books were recommended.  I picked up one, and then another.  I read the actual ‘how to’ sections over and over.  I slowly began amassing the basic equipment and ingredients needed to make soap. (And in the meantime, bought any bar of handmade soap I came across).   I picked my first recipe.  I found something I could use as a mold.  When I got everything together, finally, I ordered the most important ingredient: the lye.   I handled it with kid gloves.  I was terrified.  I waffled about actually making soap.  Then, I finally made soap.

And it was glorious.  It was scary and fascinating and wonderful and scientific.  I now often describe it as being akin to baking, but with a thrill factor (even now, several years later, i am still vigilant when handling lye).  As I’ve grown in experience (and ingredients and fragrances and colorants), soap making has also become artistic for me as well.  It has become my passion project.  It is absolutely something I would do, whether anyone bought any or not.

But if you do, I hope you enjoy using it half as much as I enjoy making it.  If you do, then I know you’ll absolutely love it.

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