Interview with Avery Grey Soapery
I have admired Avery Grey Soapery for as many years. Being a bit shy to ask for an interview, I finally plucked up the courage to ask. Surprisingly, Meagan brightly agreed. I am so pleased to introduce, not just a skilled soap maker, but also an artist who creates stunning photography.
How did you arrive at the name of your business?
It took me months to come up with a name. I pretty much ran the gamut from serious to whimsical before I finally decided on a direction. I wanted something that incorporated my kids somehow. Something that they would feel a part of growing up, or at least when they’re grown. Avery is my sons middle name, and Grey is my daughters middle name. Before they were each born, my husband and I could only agree on one single name for each of them, their first names. We were at a stalemate and decided to let my mother choose their middle names, so we ended up with Hayden Avery and Adeline Grey. In a way, the name incorporates all three generations: My mother, myself, and my two kids.
How long have you been making soaps?
I’ve been making soaps off and on for a little over ten years now, but have been in business for 3 years.
Did you have knowledge of soap making before you began?
I had some very slight knowledge. As in I knew it could be done, haha! My grandfather was always interested in homesteading books, and I found a how-to for hot process soap making in one that started my research journey.
What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?
When I have a new idea that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Sometimes I plan a design out for months in my head before I actually make it, but when the day comes I’m so excited to get started.
How did you choose your packaging / labeling for your soaps?
Simplicity. I wanted something that was neat and professional, but also something that was fairly simple and didn’t distract from the soaps themselves.
How do you come up with your color designs?
Sometimes I let the scent lead me. I often associate different types of smells with different colors. Does it smell fresh and green? Does it smell moody, like the ocean in a storm? With dark waves crashing against the shore? Or is it soft, and pink? Like the first delicate blooms in spring? Sometimes i start with the design idea, and plan the fragrance to fit, like my Mad Hatter soap that’s scented with Green Tea & Cucumber. It seemed like the perfect scent for a tea party!
Where do you find your inspiration for your soaps?
Everywhere. Songs, movies, books. Much of it comes from fiction, as I’m an avid reader. Science Fiction is my favorite genre, and I’m hoping to do more soaps this year that express that. Sometimes even a photo can spark an idea.
Are there things in your environment that aid in your creativity?
Not things, really. All I need is a notebook and a quiet space. Although it seems to help if I have a good pen.
What is your favorite part of soap making?
I think the actual pouring of the soap. Will it turn out like I plan? Will it accelerate and force a change in design? What will the inside look like?
What do you do that is not soap related, but aids in your creative thinking?
Reading, I think. Losing myself in a book, I feel like it releases a part of me to think on its own and turn around ideas. Reading about a different world sometimes sparks a concept.
What soaps, fragrances oils, colorants etc. have you created or used that surprised you?
I wish I could remember what exact mica and fragrance I used, but i planned to make another mirror glaze soap using a cotton fragrance, and have the colors be that of my sons school (purple, white, and black). I’m not sure if it was the mica, the fragrance, or a combination of both. But as soon as I combined everything together my gorgeous purple turned a muddy mauve. My white turned chartreuse, and the black looked like mud. It also accelerated, and my surprise at the colors caused me to move slower than usual. I couldn’t help but laugh, it looked like a giant bruise once I poured it in the mold!
What soaps have you made that got a reaction you did not expect?
It’s almost always a soap that I’m not fond of the scent. I personally despise lavender, and when I finally broke down and made lavender soap (accidentally in Mardi Gras colors) everyone loved it!
What makes you laugh about making soap?
Usually when things don’t go to plan, I laugh. I used to get upset, but then I realized even if the soap doesn’t turn out like I planned, no one else knows that. No one but me knows what I intended, so if it’s off who cares? Soap making has really helped me learn to let things go. If a soap fails, there’s always a lesson in it. And usually a way to get use out of it so it’s not a waste.