Meet the Soaper.
Hello! My name is Tara and I own Great Scot Soapery. I’m so glad you’re here. With the help of my family and support by amazing humans like you, we have turned my hobby into a small business. This has been such a fun journey that all started with a Youtube tutorial, some Anne-Marie Faiola fangirling, and finally putting my craft room to good use.
My husband, Terry, and I are high school sweethearts and have been married for 20 years. We have three children, Kayley, Taylor and TJ. Kayley, our oldest, is a nurse and has a daughter who just so happens to be one of my favorite people on this planet. Taylor, our middle child, is a dental assistant and youth worship leader. TJ, the baby of the family, is fresh out of high school and has yet to decide what he has to offer this great big world.
Meet Zoey, our GSS namesake!
We currently have four dogs, Zoey, (the namesake of GSS and the adorable little face you see in our logo), Carlos, Lily, and Suzie. Zoey is a Scottish Terrier that rescued me when I swore I’d never have another dog. Carlos is a weiner dog that we rescued from the 24/7 kennel life he’d been living as a breeder pup. Lily is a Cocker Spaniel and our newest foster fail, and Suzie, a mini Schnauzer, is our current foster girl.
This journey began in 2016. My husband and I were granted the task of moving our oldest daughter and grand daughter to California where she would see what the west coast had to offer them. Immediately upon returning home from that trip we would move our youngest daughter to Springfield, MO to attend college. I came home from those 2 trips heartbroken and lost. I had been a mom to these girls since I was a teenager. I didn't know adult life without them with me every day. I needed something and had no idea what would fill that emptiness. It took time and and whole lot of leaning on Jesus. I prayed that I would find something that would fill the time because I knew nothing tangible could ever fill that void. Terry and I began Crossfit together, that filled some time and seemed like a healthy outlet to help with some of my sadness. Little did I know I would meet a community of people that would someday be instrumental in the startup of what is now Great Scot Soapery.
Some fangirling & lots of soap...
In 2019 I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a woman making soap, I was intrigued! I began researching and found there was whole lot to learn but the endless amount of creativity would be what I needed. I ordered a few small bottles of oils and lye (and some really crappy mica powders) from amazon. While I waited for them to arrive, I cleared out some space in the craft room I always wished I used more. With a cleared counter and a simple recipe from Anne-Marie Faiola (who I have since met in person and totally fangirled over), I poured my very first batch of soap. It was Lavender and I even went with a fancy swirl! I thought the next 24 hours was the longest day ever while I waited for it to be ready to cut. The next day I cut it and I must day, for a first timer, it was pretty darn good! From there I would learn about acid profiles and experiment with different oils, butters and began adding goats milk and other additives. Testing wasn't always easy because soap has a cure time, 4 weeks minimum but 6 is preferred. There was no way I'd be waiting for each batch to cure before I made a new formula. So I continued to pour a new batch every couple days for a few weeks. Then I realized I was out of hobby cash and really had no plan for all this soap. What was I doing? And that's when God answered loud and clear...
My husband walked in the door from hanging out with some guys from church and said he was going on a mission trip. To be honest, I didn't think we could swing it. He was self employed and would need to take time off work, plus the trip wasn't going to be cheap, but the mission would be worth it. He would go to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico and use his gifts to help build an orphanage with an organization called HERO Makers (Helping Everyone Remember Orphans).
How it started & how it's going!
That is when I looked around and saw 29 batches of really good, handmade soap. That was 290 bars of soap! In all the research I'd done I was told to never sell your first batches. In fact, I read time and time again that I shouldn't sell my soap until I had years of experience under my belt. I didn't let that stop me, I took a giant basket of soap outside, put it in random flower beds and took pretty pictures of it. I uploaded them to Facebook and told my family and friends what I was trying to do, just make enough money to send Terry on this trip. It worked! I sold all of the soap and funded his entire trip! I must have delivered half of that soap to CrossFit Fig, the place I turned when I needed to fill at least an hour of my day. The support was amazing and soon those that purchased it would ask for more. From that point on I knew that I was going to have to dream bigger than a once a year mission trip to Mexico, and that's exactly what I did. I had my formula nailed down, now I needed to learn how to turn this into a business.
It wasn't long after, a dear friend and small business owner asked if I could do a pop up event to sell my soap. She was dabbling in event coordinating and this would be her first one. I said yes, then spent days on end making sure I'd done everything I needed to be able to sell. Insurance, licensing, proper labeling, tables and displays, I was starting from scratch. That was the shove I needed, it forced a deadline to the progression of Great Scot Soapery. To this day I am still doing events with the company she started, KC Makers Market.
Since then The Soapery has outgrown itself twice! When we started we had a 150 square foot room in the corner of the basement. I dreamed that one day I'd be able to fill a shelf in the closet of that room with curing soap. I would take my soaping dishes to the bathroom sink to wash them, that would be impossible today. Thankfully my husband is a jack of all trades and master of managing them all. One weekend I dragged him along for a trip to the local Habitat for Humanity Resale store in search of a sink, I didn't want any old sink, I wanted a super deep utility sink like what we had in art class in elementary school and we found exactly that! By the end of the weekend I would have an actual sink in The Soapery and that would change the game! At this point my husband AKA The Maintenance Man became hesitant of visiting me in The Soapery, every time he'd walk in I'd throw a new idea at him, more work to do. Next, came this little wall. I thought, what if we just took this little wall out and expanded the room into the utility room? It would give me space for curing more soap since I'd already outgrown that little closet area. By the end of the weekend, he and my son would tear down a wall, move in some new cabinets and countertop, easy-peasy I'd have more room! The next expansion would take a lot more time and a lot more persuasion but it would more than double my production area. We now have roughly 500 square feet of production space. With the new expanded space we were also able to expand the product line as well.
As of today we sell at two weekly Farmers Markets, participate in local Pop-ups including an entire Main Street production at Christmas time with KC Makers Market, and we are in 7 locations around the Kansas City area! Next year we will embark on a new journey that we are calling Market on 7. Market on 7 will be an open air market that is focused on supporting local farmers, growers and small businesses in our city. We look forward to creating a space for our community to come out, bring their dogs for a walk and support local.
Although this soaping journey began as therapy for me when I missed my girls, I am happy to tell you that all of my girls are now home and my heart is overflowing again. Looking back on those years of them being away still makes me sad, but seeing the big picture now I give glory to God for being by my side and leading me through it all. I'm in constant awe of the way He orchestrates every detail, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
- The Soap Lady