Summer Kitchen Soaps is a woman owned and operated business. My name is Michelle Harps and I live on a small farm in a rural part of the Pocono Mountains of Pa. with my husband Paul.
In November of 2008, while discussing ways to earn extra income from the farm, we started hashing around the idea of raising goats. Knowing I'd have an abundance of goat's milk, I tried to think of ways that I could use up that surplus. I thought, "Well, there's goat cheese, ...yogurt, ...I had a fudge recipe in a drawer somewhere that used goat's milk, ...and soap". I figured I'd better see if I could actually DO any of these, so I did some research and found recipes. I tried soap first, and after the first batch, I was hooked! I started experimenting with different scents and ingredients. I used my children, family, and enthusiastic co-workers as guinea pigs. Everyone loved them so much, that soon I was making them for Christmas gifts and people would buy them because they wanted to give them as gifts too.
By March of 2009, I was having a website made. It just took off! I did craft fairs for a few years, and that really got the word out there. Now we have 40 plus retailers that carry our products, and over 60 different kinds of soap. Over the years we've expanded the line to skin care, pet products, and home air fresheners.
In 2013, My daughter Tara joined me here in the soap shop, and she's taken over the majority of production. In November, 2018, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary in business. We're constantly working to create new products that inspire you to use handcrafted soaps and skin care.
Now....back to the soap shop!
Tara Handelong has been making soap since 2012, and became our full time soap maker in May of 2013.
Born and raised in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, Tara comes from a long line of crafty, pioneer women. Cooking, canning, gardening, sewing, and quilting are just a few of the handcrafts that she was brought up with. So, it comes as no surprise that when owner/operator (and mother), Michelle Harps approached her to join the production team at Summer Kitchen Soaps she was eager to dive in!
Now, Tara has taken the cold process soap making to an all new level! With her own natural tact for creativity, and new innovative soap making techniques, there's no telling what she'll come up with next.
Here at Summer Kitchen Soaps we create handcrafted, artisan soap the old fashioned way. Our soap is made by the cold process method, retaining all the naturally occurring glycerin in our products. Commercial bars have the glycerin stripped away and sold back to you in another form such as body lotions or toothpaste. Their bars are filled with detergents, many being the same ones you find in your bottle of laundry detergent. These ingredients are meant to be “degreasers” and they dry out and sometimes irritate the skin. Our bars have every drop of skin loving glycerin still inside.
This video produced by Public Television for PBS In Focus Series, gives a wonderful look inside what we do here at Summer Kitchen Soaps, as well as the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics guild, an organization that we have proudly been a member of for 10 years!