It all began with a bar of soap

Kathrine Howard, owner of Howard Soap Company, is pictured with some of her homemade products that she sells. (photo by Mavis Gonshorowski)

Kathrine Howard, owner of Howard Soap Company, is pictured with some of her homemade products that she sells. (photo by Mavis Gonshorowski)

It was 2009 when Kathrine Howard of rural Greenbush decided to make homemade bar soap for herself and as gifts.

Having a concerned interest about increasing warnings of the adverse effects of the commonly used chemicals in soaps, she began researching more and more into her ingredients.  

Kathrine’s bar soap making  adventure began, using handmade artisan products from ingredients and materials supplied from United States distributors only.

“I ended up making for more than myself.  I just had so much; I had to do something with it,” she said.  “The first time I ever sold any was when my cousin, Sam, and Kristine Ingle, held a flea market at Kristine’s barn.  From there I just kept making (soap) and selling.”

And, Howard Soap Company was born.

All soaps are vegan and made with a base of coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, castor oil, canola oil, vitamin e oil, fragrance and/or essential oils and botanicals.

Howard went on to expand her product line to include candles.  The jar candles come in three sizes, 4, 9, and 16 ounces.

She’s thankful for what she termed ‘lucky breaks’.

“I was contacted by a representative of Herberger’s parent company in the Cities.  She said she had seen my products on Etsy.  At first I thought it was a scam – someone wanting free products – but it wasn’t,”  she laughed.  “Herberger’s has seven select stores within their store-chain which offer Minnesota-made products and are now carrying Howard Soap Co. items.”

The stores are Bemidji, Brainerd, Willmar, Blaine, Edina, Roseville, and Duluth, Minn.

Kathrine just sent her first shipment a couple of weeks ago. “I was contacted in September and it wasn’t until October that I got my first order.  It’s been quite a process.  It goes a lot slower than you think, that’s for sure.”

She sells to individuals as well; most local people contact her on Facebook.  Her products are also available at Up North Treasures & Gifts, Greenbush; the Nordisk Hemslojd in Karlstad; and  at a little gift shop of  Kathrine’s mother-in-law, Carrie Jo Howard, in South Dakota.

“I am really backed up with orders right now…it’s going a lot better than expected,” she said with enthusiasm.

To learn more about Howard Soap Company, go to: www.howardsoapcompany.com.

To see the complete story, read the November 30 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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