From cherry almond, orange hibiscus, to triple chocolate sundae and ocean breeze, Naples Soap Co.’s customers can indulge their senses.
Using a dab of wild jasmine sea salt scrub, employee Kiely Bernhardt performed a hand scrub on Steve Deneen and his wife, Patty, at the well-lighted, cashmere gray and mystic green wall store in Tin City.
Smiling, Patty Deneen tells her husband that it isn’t only for women.
The scrub, which is preformed free, removed dead skin cells and left their hands soft.
The couple, of Louisville, Ky., are frequent customers of the Naples store when they’re in town.
“I like everything about it,” Patty Deneen, 51, said. “We like to support locals.”
Native Floridian Deanna Kelly opened the Naples Soap Co. after having searched with no luck for a solution to her daughter’s eczema. Kelly, who also suffers from eczema, created products formulated to alleviate chronic dry skin, including eczema, psoriasis and acne. All of the products are natural and organic skin care products.
“I don’t give medical advice, all I can do is share my stories, which are the successes of using these products,” Kelly, a former nurse, said.
Kelly strives to make skin care affordable.
Made from a shea-butter base, the sea salt soap, $8, is the top seller.
Sea salt soap has become very popular with many local customers, including those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis. The sea salt soap is also used by local radiation oncologists for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Kelly said.
The fine-grain found in the sea salt soaps exfoliates skin without irritating maladies.
Customer are reporting amazing results after a couple uses, Kelly said.
The unscented, color-less bar is also great for men. Men can use the soap as a luxurious lather instead of shaving creams with propylene glycol, which is the same as anti-freeze, Kelly said.
Naples Soap Co. started in November 2009 with a 300-square-foot store in Tin City, and has grown to three retail stores, with two additional shops in Fort Myers’ River District and Fishermen’s Village, Punta Gorda.
In addition, the store has a wholesale division office where all the products come in, on Taylor Road.
Kelly said she credits her endurance and creative marketing ideas for the success of her business, even during the recession.
“Honestly, the business has a mind of its own and the business is growing,” Kelly said.
Kelly adds that the company listened to customers and responded to the demand very quickly.
Naples Soap Co. is at the $1 million mark in sells, up 40 percent from last year, she said.
Kelly has a radio show, “The Soap Dish,” and attends several local green markets to guide shoppers to her store. The radio show, formally on WGUF-FM 98.9, recently moved to FOX-FM 92.5. The program, which addresses toxic chemicals in everyday personal care products, airs every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Recently, the Collier County Economic Development Council’s Excellence in Industry Awards honored the Naples Soap Co. with the Entrepreneurship Award. The EDC’s Entrepreneurship Award is given to a company less than five years old that sets the standard for entrepreneurship and creativity.
Kelly plans to increase whole sale distribution nationally.
Currently, Naples Soap Co. is putting together a franchise model for retail. In addition, the company is working with an agent to syndicate the radio show to take air nationally, she said.
Shoppers can browse through dozens of products made with natural and organic ingredients, including shea and cocoa butters, aloe vera and olive oil. Products are neatly arranged on white shelves and counters, or in vases, steel buckets and tins throughout the store.
Product prices range from $5 to $180. Naples Soap Co.’s can also print any logo or names on its soaps.
Judy Lyle, a Naples first-time customer, purchased bath bombs since she is having company and liked the idea of round soap balls fizzing and dissolving Alka-Seltzer-like in a tub.
Lyle’s husband, John, said they would return to the store for Christmas gifts.
The couple bought three bath bombs: lemon sugar, French lime blossom and jasmine grapefruit, all for $12.
Several minutes later, the Deneens bought an apricot peach sea salt scrub for $22, Florida sunrise/sunset sea salt soap and peppermint sea salt soap for $14, a promotion of two for $14, regular price is $8.50.
Their daughters, ages 22 and 18, also like the store products. The Deneens recently ordered products, which were gift-wrapped in cardboard and raffia, online for their daughter’s bridesmaids gifts.
While walking out the door, Deneen couldn’t resist to sniff the colorful loofa bars.
She carefully placed it near her nose to smell.
For more information, visit www.naplessoap.com.
Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/