Today’s consumer is far more health conscience as well as far more concerned about where the products come from as well as who is manufacturing. For many Revelstokians, where they spend their money matters to them and if they can source out a local shop or individual who makes a product they desire, they opportunity to keep the dollars local is far more probable and is what keeps the entrepreneurial spirit thriving.
One new product in our community is Revelstoke Soap which is produced locally here with a dash of passion and a dose of love. Shannon Foster is relatively new to the community as her and her partner moved to town roughly six months ago. Foster has a background in Civil Engineering which is what she does as her day job, but at home is where the science happens.
Foster has a degree in Biology where she worked with the BC Cancer Agency, a water quality laboratory for Metro Vancouver as well as Micro-Biology at the University of British Columbia; therefore she is no stranger to a science laboratory which is where she learned how to work with unique elements and exciting potions (for us kids at heart). Like many of us, we are educated in one aspect of a particular job or industry, but if there is a way to infuse the knowledge gained form years of schooling and incorporate it into a passion project, that is what makes it extraordinary.
“I like working in labs, but I had a change in my career and this was a way to apply what I know from working in laboratories to making soap, which was a creative use of my laboratory skills.”
Foster first began making soap at home in North Vancouver where she originally hails from, but it was always a side project in order to give as gifts to friends and family. It wasn’t until moving to Revelstoke where it became a slightly bigger passion project than originally anticipated. With so many hygiene products on the market and with so many concerns about ingredients, how does one create a product that stands out above all the rest? First off, how does one make soap?
“Two components to the soap, oil mixture (Coconut, palm, castor, olive) you melt that to body temperature, all the solid fats turn to a liquid and at the same time you make a life mixture (Sodium Hydroxide and water) when you mix the two together, it creates a chemical reaction that turns the oil into soap (Saponification).”
After the liquid soap has been poured into a mould and solidified, the soap can be cut out of the mould and left for a few weeks to cure allowing moisture to get out as well as the PH softens from the initial reaction.
Sodium Hydroxide is somewhat of a concern for users, however what they may not know is through the saponification process the SH is used up when turning into a soap molecule which means the SH is no longer in the final product.
“Before I let a batch go, I test the PH of it to make sure it is in a safe range to be used on the skin.”
How it is made is unique in and of it, but inspiration is what created this concept to begin with. What makes Revelstoke Soap unique? Each piece of soap has been systematically planned to represent an element of Revelstoke. Foster currently has five scents available for the choosing that are all locally inspired by our majestic surroundings.
“I am inspired by different things in natural surroundings. When I thought about making soap, I thought of a big glacier, it is a big part of Revelstoke and thinking of Illecillewaet Glacier, what essential oils would I associate with that- fresh, clean, brilliant, so I chose eucalyptus and peppermint and decided a bright blue looks like glacier when the light hits it in a certain way.”
Illecillewaet Soap is just one unique scent that Foster has created. With four more to choose from; Meadows in the Sky, which has a light purple hue to touch base on our amazing wildflowers, Ancient Cedars because of our tall, thick and historic forest, Powder Day, which is a cleansing lemon that recognizes those snowy white days and Gold Rush, which is a charcoal based soap recognizing that there was once a gold rush around these parts.
What started as a fun side project and a way to save a few dollars by making her own soap, it soon became a labour of love which was a nice separation from her daily work routines as a Civil Engineer.
“I like the science behind it, I like know what we are using in the shower, and it is a creative outlet. It is something different from my day job which is numbers and sitting in front of a computer, talking on the phone managing projects, this I can listen to music; use my hands to make something that is satisfying and rewarding. ”
Foster did not create Revelstoke Soap with a desire to make money. This is designed for those that do purchase it, to pass it as a gift to not only showcase Revelstoke, but they can also learn something about the area with the locally based soap.
“It has been fun meeting people through this process, I like hearing the feedback; it is very interesting.”
At this point, the soap is not sold in stores or at the Farmers Market, but that is a possibility in the future. For those interested in trying Foster’s soap you can reach her on her social media outlets.
or email firstname.lastname@example.org