Russ mixing some handmade soap

When we started Outlaw, why did Russ and I decide to start a handmade soap company?

It's a good question, and one we get asked reasonably frequently, and it's always one I'm happy to answer.

So here it is, the REAL reason we started Outlaw as a handmade soap company as opposed to, say, a cologne company or a body wash company:

We were broke, so we couldn't afford to do any kind of big production, and we didn't know any other way to get scents into our lives on a daily basis.

It's pretty mundane, isn't it?

We didn't even know how to make soap when we first started the company. And as always, I had faith in the instructional powers of YouTube.

We knew we could probably get the ingredients easily and cheaply (which we did, almost entirely at Whole Foods). And I figured that if housewives could make it in their living room, it couldn't be impossible, right?

But it was an interesting idea, and there was nothing else in the world like it. All the soaps advertised as smelling like "bourbon" or "whiskey" smelled more like vanilla or butterscotch. There wasn't anything even resembling Fire in the Hole.

And yet we wanted the scents, so we found a vehicle. And handmade soap was the vehicle.

Is handmade soap better?

When I lived in Oakland, I got a bar of handmade grapefruit-scented soap from a farmer's market where my roommates and I did our weekly shopping. This stuff was good.

I could have sworn it was better than other soap, and I wasn't sure why. Was I imagining it because it cost something like 4x what I usually paid for soap? Mostly, it just didn't smell like the store-bought soap I had been using. It made an impression.

It wasn't the soap that started the company, but it certainly did contribute to my perspective of handmade soap as better.

Many people believe the natural oils are good for your skin, and I guess that'll make a good topic for tomorrow's blog post. Each oil has its own unique properties... coconut oil makes for a harder bar, for example. Avocado oil is known for being more moisturizing... that kind of thing.

Some store-bought soaps are actually made with detergents and aren't true soaps. This is because handmade / natural soap (real "soap") leaves more build-up in the shower and doesn't deposit as much smelliness on people's skin. When companies make synthetic body wash and bar "soaps," they've got to meet the needs of most shoppers... and at this point, most shoppers seem more interested in the benefits of detergents than the benefits of natural soaps.

So when people complain that our soap

You might be interested to know that because our soap is scented, it actually is classified as a cosmetic. Isn't that weird? As far as the FDA is concerned, if a soap isn't purely for functional purposes of cleaning, it's lumped in with cosmetics. And since Outlaw soap is meant to make you feel and smell better, it's technically a cosmetic.

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