“Made From Scratch Makes a Difference”
Kari Snodgrass first tried making some body care products when she was in high school, after her sensitive skin reacted to products bought in stores. It wasn’t until several years later when she considered turning it into a business.
“I didn’t even know you could make your own soap,” she said about her high school experiment.
Now, Kari works full time running Studio 11 Soap, a soap and body care business, that primarily sells at the Phoenix Public Market.
She began making soap in earnest in 2000 when a friend found and gave her a stack of books on soapmaking. Kari turned her hobby into a business in 2002. She began selling her line at the Phoenix Public Market only a few months after the market first opened in 2005 and, by the next year, she had left behind her previous graphic design career to run Studio 11.
Since then, Studio 11 has continued to grow, going through one name change (from “Emelmahae Soap Company” to Studio 11), expanding into several area boutiques, and offering a growing variety of products. Kari also recently finished work on a studio space behind her downtown Phoenix home, moving the soap operation out of her house’s kitchen and spare bedroom. This soap is one of the most local products at the market, made only a mile and a half away from Pierce and Central.
It wasn’t what Kari thought her career would become, but now “I don’t know what else I would do,” she said.
Kari has 16 scents in her “classic line” of hand and body soap bars, along with face masks, shaving soap, salt scrubs, lip balms, and other spa products. She also creates “market soaps” in smaller batches that are only available until they sell out.
It’s through the market soaps that “I can play, I can try new things, I can experiment,” Kari said.
Each soap bar takes at least three to four weeks to cure hard, Kari explained. All of her soaps use essential oils rather than synthetic scents. Many people have sensitivities to the synthetic scents used in many bath and body products. All Studio 11 soaps are also vegetable based, including extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or other plant oils.
Kari does it all with Studio 11: designing the packaging, making the products, and assisting customers at her Phoenix Public Market booth. She can answer questions and help visitors find exactly the product they want, or step back and let people take the time to sniff each soap’s scent.
Some people buy Studio 11 soap as gifts or for special occasions, but Kari said her soap is quality product that can handle everyday cleansing.
“It’s really, really good soap,” she said. “I enjoy that people do use this as their everyday soap.”
Written by Marlys Weaver-Stoesz