Interview With Ida of Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft Company

~by D. A. Fox~

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Pumpkin Spice Soap

Deep in the heart of Chagrin Valley, overlooking the Chagrin River in Northeastern Ohio, sits Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft! It is here that the lovely Ida churns out batch after batch of beautiful, natural soap and shampoo bars! I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Ida!

When did Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft Company get started?


Although I have been making soap for over four years, the Company was formed in October 2003.


Shea Rose Soap

What made you interested in making natural soaps and shampoos?

My first vocation was a nurse.  Now I am a science teacher and a soapmaker.  I have always been interested in a more natural holistic approach to life.  I have been making natural cleaning products for my home for years.  My husband had eczema and for many years had been using creams, lotions, etc.  with very little relief.  I started doing some research and decided that an all natural soap would be better for his skin, so I began creating my handmade soaps with all natural ingredients. 

I spent a year reading books and perusing the internet, researching soapmaking, herbs and essential oils.  Much of what I have learned I put on my website.  My first batch of soap was The Goat Milk Oatmeal and Honey.  It cleared up my husband’s eczema in less than a week.   When winter arrived I had no more itchy winter skin.  I was hooked!   As we shared our soap and shampoo bars with friends and family, they began to spread the word and our home business was born. 

Then I began reading about all of the nasty stuff in shampoo.  Commercial shampoos found in grocery store aisles are actually made from various detergents, synthetic materials, processed chemicals and cleansers, and stabilizers that are harsh on your hair and scalp and strip it of its natural protective oils and moisture.  After many hours of research I started making all natural shampoo bars.


Goat Milk Oatmeal and Honey Soap


What type of ingredients do you use?


Most of the ingredients that are used to make Ida's Handcrafted Soap can be found in your garden and kitchen pantryAll of the ingredients in our handcrafted soaps and shampoos are 100% natural.  Our goal is to provide naturally wholesome handmade soaps for all skin types.  Ida's Handcrafted Soaps are made with natural plant oils and botanicals, which are absorbed into the skin naturally, creating healthy skin and scalp the way nature intended.  Since no artificial ingredients are used in any of our soaps, you will actually feel the difference immediately.   Each oil is chosen for the special characteristic it gives to the soap.  Individual soaps are uniquely crafted with the addition of special oils and butters like sweet almond oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, shea butter, and many others.  Some soaps contain other natural ingredients like cucumbers, avocados, carrots, oranges, herbs, flower petals, spices, or grains.



The natural ingredients really create a wonderful scent! I just love the way they smell! I also love the way they look! What makes your soaps the beautiful colors that they are? Some of these look like a work of art!


The colors in Ida’s Handcrafted Soap come from spices, juices, teas, infused oils, and other natural ingredients.  We do not use crayons, dyes, or other synthetic substances.



Chocolate Almond Soap


How long does it take to make your soap?

The actual process of making soap takes about a half a day.  Our recipes represent many days or weeks of research as we strive to make the finest products available.  Recipes are meticulously developed to produce a mild, rich, soothing soap or shampoo that offers a magnificent long-lasting lather, and leaves your skin, scalp and hair clean, soft, silky, and radiantly healthy.  The soap mixture is poured into wooden molds, allowed to set for 24 hours, hand cut, and allowed to cure for 4-6 weeks to create a long-lasting soap with exceptional mildness and lather.  I spend hours mixing essential oils to create blends for their aromatherapeutic and skin and hair conditioning properties, as well as for their lovely fragrance. 


What is your most popular product?


There are some basic soaps that have always been good sellers, but I create new recipes often.  My regular customers have their favorites, but they always look forward to trying new soaps and shampoos.  The shampoo bars took a while to catch on, but now they almost outsell my soaps.


Chamomile and Citrus Shampoo Bar

Do you have long hair? 


I have long, very fine hair.



How does your hair respond to your shampoo bars?


When I first started using my shampoo bars I wasn’t quite convinced.  They made my hair feel different.  A cosmetologist friend told me to be patient.  She said that anytime you change shampoos it takes time for your hair to adjust.  Now I love using the shampoo bars.  They make my hair shiny, manageable and very healthy feeling.   I just love touching my hair—it is so soft.   Because my hair is fine, it would get all tangled up after shampooing and I had to use a lot of conditioner to get rid of the tangles.  Using my shampoo bars, I have no more tangles and no loner use conditioner.


Honey, Beer, and Egg Shampoo bar

Do you find the shampoo bar leaves a soap residue? 


When I first started using shampoo bars I was using a vinegar rinse every other day, because I had always been told that soap leaves residue.   I am not even sure that I needed it, but I just assumed there would be a residue.  Now I use a vinegar rinse two or three times a month.   I don't feel any residue and I wash my hair every day.

People must realize that they cannot use a shampoo bar once or twice and decide they don't like it.  They need to give the shampoo bars about a week to rid the hair of the old residues from commercial shampoo. Because shampoo bar soaps do not strip hair in the same way as detergent based shampoos they may notice their hair feeling different after washing. 

Have you ever tried using your lotion bars as an "oiling" aid for the tips of your hair? If so, what were your results?

I never tried the lotion bars as an "oiling" aid for the tips of my hair until you asked this question?  I have been using them quite a bit now.  The ends of my hair were always dry and crackly feeling—now they feel smooth and soft, and my hair looks better.


Lotion Bars in tins


What is your favorite product? I'm loving the Avocado Shea Soap and the Honey,Beer, and Egg Shampoo bar.

This is like asking a mother which child she likes best.   I use all of my soaps and have a foot long soap dish in my shower—so I can pick the soap that fits my mood!  I guess I do have favorites.  I love herbal scents much more than floral scents.  I also love citrus and mint.  My favorite soap is the Sweet Basil and my favorite shampoo bar is the Nettle. 

Sweet Basil Soap on left, Nettle Shampoo Bar on right


I can see how hard it is to choose a favorite! So far, I've loved everything I've tried, and my sister-in-law is amazed at how wonderful your soaps are!


Do you take any special request orders?


We try to accommodate special requests if possible.  Recently, a customer who dabbles in herbs was doing research on herbs, plant oils, and essentials oils for hair care.  She requested ingredients specifically for a holistic approach to scalp stimulation and potential hair loss retardation.  She gave me a list of herbs and oils and we infused grapeseed, olive, hemp, and avocado oils with nettles, green tea, chamomile, rosemary, parsley, and comfrey; and used an herbal tea made with the same herbs. She also wanted an essential oil blend of rosemary, lavender, cedarwood, sage, thyme, and black pepper to stimulate the scalp.  Thus our Herb Garden shampoo bar was born. 


Herb Garden Shampoo Bar

How long does it take to process an order?


If you are ordering from our website and the items are in stock, the order is shipped within two days.


Do you take International Orders:


I have many international customers. I ship internationally using the USPS Global Priority Envelopes. I can fit 4 bars in the small envelope which costs $5.00 ($4.00 Canada & Mexico) and the large envelope holds eight bars and costs $9.00 ($7.00 Canada & Mexico).


Ida, thanks so much for letting us get to know you better! We've really enjoyed this!


Be sure to visit Ida at: Chagrin Valley Soaps and Crafts!

FAX: 440-247-5753



To read reviews on Ida's Shampoo Bars visit the Shampoo Reviews page and look under C for Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft!

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