Interview with Shayna Bearfoot Gypsy Soap Company
How did you arrive at the name of your business?
Creating my business name was easy for me because I just used my childhood nickname. To me, it reminds me of some of the best times in my life. When life was easy and I could dream and imagine all day.
How long have you been making soaps?
I have been making soaps for almost 3 years now. I think May is my soap-a-versary. And I have loved every second of it.
Did you have knowledge of soap making before you began?
Somewhat, my mother used to make goat milk soap when I was a child so I was used to the idea of homemade soap. But, I had never made it myself until a few years ago.
What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?
The designs. I have numerous sketch books filled with soap sketches and ideas. I think being able to wake up to a job where I can be creative is so important. Dreaming up new designs and scent collections keeps me going. Honestly if I had to make the same soap all the time, over and over again, I wouldn’t love my job as much as I do.
How did you choose your packaging / labeling for your soaps?
It took me a while and many failed attempts to decide on my final packaging. I wanted something eco-friendly, yet function and clean looking. I use mason jars for my candles and body butters because they are reusable and can be used in so many ways. I use paper boxes that are compost able and eco-friendly as well.
How do you come up with your color designs?
Almost anything can inspire a design for me. It could be a paper print, a pattern on a dress, a beautiful view, an elegant cake or even someone I know. I think that is one of the best things about soap making, the design possibilities are endless.
Where do you find your inspiration for your soaps?
I try pull inspiration from nature mostly, the earth is full of beautiful and vivid colors that are just waiting to be put into a soap idea. I also get inspired by everyday items as well. I often find myself looking at an ordinary object thinking “how could I make this into a soap design.”
Are there things in your environment that aid in your creativity?
I make soap from my studio at my house, so it’s hard to find new ideas based on what’s around me. I think that is one of the reasons I daydream all day about new designs. Soap making is a creative escape for me.
What is your favorite part of soap making?
Designing the soaps. I love just sitting and sketching out all the ideas that pop into my head.
What do you do that is not soap related, but aids in your creative thinking?
Well, I am a homeschooling mom of 2 boys and I have a small farm for my goats. Between working full time and homeschooling my kids I don’t have much time for anything else. But when I do get a chance to break away, you’d most likely find me hiking, painting, baking or exploring new shops downtown somewhere.
What soaps have you created that surprised you?
I’ve made quite a few soaps with fragrances that have accelerated when they weren’t supposed to. I think those are the most surprising because I’m not ready for it. Then it becomes an epic battle of soap vs. mad scientist.
What soaps have you made that got a reaction you did not expect?
I think the soap I get the strangest comments on is actually one of my simplest ones, Tea Tree Charcoal. It is designed to work as a facial bar but not everyone loves the smell of Tea Tree essential oil. I’ve heard everything from “Well this smells earthy.” to “Ew, this smells like burning tires!” People will say the darnedest things.
What makes you laugh about making soap?
I think my soap making friends win this category. I’ve met so many wonderful people through soap making. And I’ve found a few good friends that make me laugh.