Saturday, April 20, 2024

Community Business: Perfectly Natural Soap

Perfectly Natural Soap has three locations in the Hampton Roads area. (Perfectly Natural Soap)

WILLIAMSBURG — A passion for soap making led Shaen Goetsch towards a new business opportunity — a hobby that led her to leave her IT career behind and restart her life.

While working towards her MBA, Goetsch had always created her homework assignments around a soap-making company, so a business plan was already written.

“When you go through those classes, usually your homework assignment is ‘if you were to start a business, what would you start?’ and I would write about my soap-making hobby. It was a relatively new hobby at the time, so it was still really exciting. A lot of the groundwork had already been laid and I said ‘there’s no time like the present,'” Goetsch explains.

When one of her children had allergic reactions to most baby soap found in stores, Goetsch and her husband Rich embarked on a journey to educate themselves on healthier options for their child.

Some of Perfectly Natural Soaps products. (Perfectly Natural Soap)

Opening a Smithfield location first, Goetsch has since expanded to two locations in Williamsburg. The primary location, located at 2021 Richmond Road, is her flagship store. The second Williamsburg location is at 423 Prince George St., part of the greater Merchant’s Square area.

Perfectly Natural Soap’s products are made of high-quality, raw materials. The company does not use dyes, parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic colorants or fragrances. Instead, it focuses on plant-based oils, essential oils, natural fragrances and botanical extracts in all of its products.

All Perfectly Natural Soaps products are made at the business’s warehouse in Williamsburg. The brand is much more than just soap, it’s all-encompassing — anything someone would use to clean.

“We’re not just a one-trick pony. People think because our name is Perfectly Natural Soap, to this day people will walk in and say ‘oh, you sell much more than soap.’ We have lotions, bar soap, liquid soap, laundry detergent, candles, sugar scrubs, body butter, bath bombs. We even have a full skincare line,” Goetsch said.

When customers arrive at Perfectly Natural Soap, Goetsch wants to make sure they get to sample a product. Every customer who comes into the store is greeted with a complimentary hand scrub. While that is part of her customer service mission, Goetsch also feels it’s important to let people try her product before they buy.

“I want people to be happy when they come to our stores. We have a website and we do great business on our website but it’s that feeling when you come into our store and you feel relaxed. We want them to really come in, relax, give our products a try, and if you buy something, great, if you don’t, now you know about us,” Goetsch said.

A big part of Goetsch’s job is educating her customers about the ingredients in commercial soaps. Not one to use chemicals as a scare tactic, she truly wants her customers to understand the differences between commercial soaps and her products.

“We find that most of our customer base is moms who are looking for something healthier but not over the top. There seems to be a line in the natural soap world where some soap makers just take it a little too far that makes it very hard to sustain. Our product is something where you can eliminate a lot of the bad stuff, keep it natural, but still have some fun scents to work with and you can feel good about what you are doing for your family,” Goetsch said.

In 2016, Perfectly Natural Soap became a certified soap maker with the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild. The guild is the only international nonprofit trade association within the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. In order to achieve certification, tests are done on chemistry, regulations, processing, and practicality.

Bath bombs are a popular product at Perfectly Natural Soap. (Perfectly Natural Soap)

All in all, Goetsch has no regrets about leaving the corporate world behind. Now 11 years into owning her own business, she truly has a passion for what she is doing, but it’s ultimately her customers that make the days go by fast.

“We’re constantly meeting people from all walks of life that it really makes for such a pleasant workday,” Goetsch said.

Perfectly Natural Soap on Richmond Road is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The Merchants Square location is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit perfectlynaturalsoap.com.

Community Business is a feature series that showcases locally-owned business establishments in the Historic Triangle. If you would like to submit a business to be featured, please send an email to info@wydaily.com.

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