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About the Soap Shed

About The Blue Ridge Soap Shed

The Blue Ridge Soap Shed is a handcrafted soap business started in 1998, in a backyard shed located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina - and thus the name: The Blue Ridge Soap Shed.  Now making more than 130 varieties, The Soap Shed offers one of the largest varieties of handcrafted soap available in the United States.

We created ‘The Soap Shed’ 15 years ago when our careers as consultants were lost after US textile and furniture industries moved overseas.  We reinvented ourselves, became small business owners, and are among the millions of Americans who are now working their ‘retirement’ years.

Tim Tyndall is a former science professor put back to work by his wife, Karen, a business and training consultant.  Fortunately, soapmaking came naturally to Tim!  

After graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in botany and biology, and later with graduate degrees from North Carolina State University, 'Dr. T.' taught chemistry for many years at the high school and community college levels. His last academic position before relocating to the mountains was Director of Engineering and Science Programs at UNC-Charlotte.  We are proud to have such built-in quality assurance and creativity resident at the Soap Shed.  

Dr. Tyndall is a faculty member at the John C. Campbell Folk School, teaching handmade soapmaking there since 2002, and is a frequently requested demonstrator of handmade soapmaking at regional and state events.

After many years as a corporate training and development consultant, Dr. Wylie learned firsthand the very different needs of entrepreneurs, micro-businesses and rural businesses by managing production & marketing at The Soap Shed, and now writes about small business topics and coaches small business owners.

At The Soap Shed, we make our soap completely from scratch using the cold process method, with raw ingredients and recipes we created.  Every one of our soap bars are hand made, hand poured and hand cut. 

The range of products we make trace the history of soap as a functional craft, including the Appalachian mountain heritage craft known as 'Grandma's Ole Lye Soap' and 'Pine Tar Soap' which were once the only source of hygiene in the region.  But not surprisingly, the majority of Soap Shed soaps reflect more current times, with vegetable oil 'bath and shower' soaps made using the imported tropical oils which became available to soapmakers in the last half of the 20th Century.  We make 40 vegetable oil soaps, 65 scents of goat milk soap, 30 scents of shea butter soap, four types of 100% Olive Oil 'Castile' Soap, and unscented versions of every moisture level we make.

A very special selection of soaps reflect the mountains of the Blue Ridge where we live, and are created and named with our geographic region in mind, such as 'Blue Ridge Mint', 'Fresh Mountain Air,' 'Carolina Kudzu' or 'Southern Belle'. The Soap Shed's 'Mountain Scents' handmade soaps are unusual aromatic souvenirs of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and can be found at many retail and tourist locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Visitors to The Soap Shed can view the entire 'process' of soap making, from mixing of oils and lye, to the molds used to make each batch, and the cutters used to prepare each bar they take home. Everyone is welcome to view whatever aspect of the handmade soapmaking operation is being conducted at the time of their visit. Soapmaking demonstrations are scheduled throughout the summer season, weather permitting, at 2:00 pm daily.   See soapmaking demonstration schedule.

Our  shop features a fun and interactive 'country market' atmosphere with soap varieties displayed in handmade baskets on twig racks.  More than 10,000 bars are available daily from logs fresh from our drying racks, with individual bars cut on the premises and placed in the baskets for sale. Photos, antique soap-making equipment and sample raw materials to see, smell and touch are on display to entertain and educate customers. All these materials help visitors achieve a fuller understanding of the heritage craft of handmade soap making.

The Soap Shed has been recognized by Handmade in America for inclusion in their publications, The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina and Farms, Gardens, and Countryside Trails, as well as other regional travel and tourism guides and magazines like Our State, Southern Living, and Blue Ridge Country.  Craft trade magazines like Watercolor, Artist, Vogue Knitting and Quilts have featured our hand repair soaps for artists and crafters, and our soap for men even made it to the pages of Penthouse Magazine!  

Who knows where our soap will show up next? :-) 





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