Flint River Soaps – a home product

Posted on 26 January 2011

Armed with vegetable shortening, lye, dyes and scents, Johnette M. Weiss whipped up a chunk of soap during the inaugural St. John’s Episcopal Church’s festival in November.

Weiss makes soap under her brand name Flint River Soap, and she is often around town selling her product at such venues as the Downtown Market and crafts show in Bainbridge and other surrounding communities.

If you can’t immediately find her, left your noise be your GPS as her soaps will pleasantly permeate a room.

Weiss has been making soaps since 2005 when her desire to make it came from a present—a present of goat milk soaps that someone had given her, which she enjoyed using on her skin as well as the fragrance of the soap.

Her first batches were relatively expensive since she didn’t know the ropes of where to buy the ingredients of home-made soaps, such as lye, fragrant oils and dyes. She turned to a soap-making group, and from there it took off.

“It’s a hobby that has turned into a business,” Weiss said.

Weiss will make five batches at a time now, allowing at least two weeks for the soap to cure. She said even though lye is used in the soap-making process, there is no lye remaining in the finished product. Soap making involves a chemical reaction called saponification, Weiss said. The oils and lye combine molecules during the process and create a new substance—soap.

While she was demonstrating her technique at the festival, she warned those watching that when lye and water mix, it gets very hot and can burn.

As for the fragrances, Weiss said she likes to use more fragrant oils in each batch than most soap-makers. However, rose has never been one she’s been able to get a good fragrance from.

Weiss said she would love to open a store with her products in it. In fact, she drives by the old Christian bookstore at the corner of Broad and Water streets with imagines of her products in the windows.

“Every time I drive by there, I can see my windows at Christmas,” she said.

One Response to “Flint River Soaps – a home product”

  1. LeaB says:

    Flint River Soaps are fantastic! So much better than commercial bars. They’re creamy, with nice bubbly lather and they’re beautiful to look at. Great prices too; not very expensive at all, considering these are hand made artisan bars with fantastic ingredients. I definitely recommend seeking out her soaps at local markets and festivals – she’s going to be at RiverTown Days in Bainbridge on May 7th.

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