When we put together the preorder campaign for Angela Misri’s upcoming novel, Thrice Burned, we connected with a bunch of different local businesses, from tea breweries to t-shirt designers. But BAD MOUTH SOAP, with their colourfully-named products, was at the top of our wish list. Lucky for us, it worked out, because we wound up with these:
Gorgeous, aren’t they? And they smell nice too–imagine a cinnamon heart with a touch of smoke.
Since we thought you might be curious about how they came to be, we decided to do a Q&A with Sarah Armstrong, the slightly-mad genius behind BAD MOUTH SOAP.
The BAD MOUTH Q&A
How long have you been making soap?
I’ve been making soap for over 10 years. I learned on my own, bought a few books, read a little online and just went for it. I started the “old-fashioned” way where I didn’t have a stick blender or an emulsifier and had to hand stir with a wooden spoon for up to 8 hours. So you can see why I stopped. But just a little over a year ago, I picked it back up again.
I learned a lot doing it all on my own. What ingredients were in the product, why they are present, what they can do to your skin, etc. I wanted to be able to control what I was using, and able to explain to others why handmade soaps are more superior to store bought soaps.
What inspired you to start BAD MOUTH SOAP?
If you were to get to know me, you would say I swear way too often. It’s something that I’m working on. Being from the South Shore is my excuse so the name BAD MOUTH SOAP was an easy name to come up with.
I take it one day at a time. I know that sounds cliché but it’s true. I have zero business background. I have these moments like “What am I doing? Will anyone really care about another soap company? Do I want to have to go to markets and sell soap from now on? How am I going to afford this? Do I have the space, or even the time?”
For about a month, I went to a market on Sundays only until thankfully, I was quickly noticed by a bunch of local retailers that loved my ideas and wanted my soaps in their shop! Word spread about BAD MOUTH SOAP, and all of a sudden, I’m busier than ever and ask myself “How the heck did I get here?”
The names and ideas for my soaps started with my Piper Chapman soap. It was Christmas time, and my top scent combination is orange & clove and the soap was Orange and Black. But then I got to thinking; there are hundreds of soaps called Orange & Clove and I need to make mine stand out. I happened to be watching Orange is the New Black at the time and the name came naturally. From there I realized inspiration is everywhere and in everything – you just need to put a special twist on it.
What’s your favourite product? Why?
It’s hard to have one but the one I’ve used most is Old Dirty Bastard. I love the smell, and the Dead Sea mud in the soap really does wonders for my skin. It leaves it feeling soft and smooth, not tacky at all and the scent is very mild! But the top seller is the East Coast Hangover. I love incorporating local ingredients in my soaps. So this one is Boxing Rock beer and JustUs! coffee with bacon, maple and chocolate scents and is huge with Maritimers.
I’m sensitive to strong and artificial scents so I make sure all my soaps contain a light scent from either essential oils or phthalate free fragrance oils.
I know you do some community work. Can you tell us about that?
I try to help out as much as I can to whomever asks. For example, BCANS asked if I would make soap for them, so I only asked for the cost to make the soap and donated 150 bars.
For Movember I had a gentlemen ask for donations for his awareness group and gladly handed over a half a dozens soaps to auction off.
For the Halifax Jazz Festival – JazzEast Rising Association, I donated 10 bars of soap for a silent auction.
I donated bags filled with soap, lip balm and scrubs to Margaret’s House held right after Christmas.
I’ve been asked to consult with other local soap companies such as All-ways-Us. They have an amazing story and I really think people should get to know them. They are a lovely group and I enjoyed spending my time with them.
Also, I play and coach Badminton as much as I can. I love local helping local, I love hearing success stories from around here–we live in a small city and we should all stick together and help out when we can.
Tell us a bit about the process you used to create Thrice Burned Soap.
The process for the Thrice Burned soap came from early discussion with Sarah. She explained what the novel was about & what the cover looked like. From there, the idea came naturally to me. I knew that the colour scheme should match the book’s cover, I knew the scent couldn’t just be the smell of burnt anything, it had to be pleasant, yet not overpowering. I knew cinnamon, smoke and maple would compliment one another. For the labeling, I like to keep everything nice and neat and most importantly cohesive because less means more.
Into it? Get in on level two of our Thrice Burned preorder campaign.