Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The Soap Opera
One of my very favorite shops of all time, The Soap Opera in Madison, Wisconsin. The Soap Opera opened their doors in March of 1972. 3 months before I was born! And they are still going strong with a on-line as well as brick and mortar presence. The best thing about The Soap Opera is the sheer number of brands they sell. They have it all...even Sweet Petula, of course. The owners, Chuck Bauer and Chuck Beckwith (the two Chucks!) began selling soaps and toiletries out of an old, wooden dresser, strapped on to roller skates and covered with a chintz canopy. They have come a long way (baby) in the past 35 years, and have a huge following of dedicated customers.
I love this shop for many reasons, mostly because is reminds me of this soap place I went to when I was growing up called the Soap Box. Everything was slightly handmade looking (in a good way) and you could custom scent a variety of different products. It was my first experience with handmade natural bath and body care. It is also very similar to me as the original C.O.Bigelow Apothecary in New York's Greenwich Village....the happiest place on earth, which opened in 1838.
Approximately one-third of the Soap Opera's inventory is their own line of biodegradable, cruelty-free products, which cover the gamut from custom-blended fragrances and lotions to new products such as a combination witch hazel and aloe vera toner that Beckwith devised himself. Raw ingredients such as French civet parfum oil are imported in heavy metal containers resembling small gasoline cans and mixed in a small, unadorned basement space.
If you aren't in the mood for a quick drive to Wisconsin, check them out on-line. You can find almost anything you could possibly want there. They offer a great discount on multiple items, which pretty much covers your shipping. My favorite new thing? Pretty wrapped soaps by Mor Cosmetics.