In September 2016, Callee vacationed in New Orleans, where she bought a homemade bar of soap from a Wiccan store in the French Quarter. After a decade of struggling with acne, this simple bar of soap finally calmed Callee’s skin, unlike the dozens of drugstore skincare products she’d tried. Ever a DIYer, Callee looked at the minimal ingredient list and thought she could make it herself using ingredients she already had in her pantry. Thus began Callee’s hobby of soapmaking!
After giving everyone soap for Christmas, Callee’s friends encouraged her to try selling her soap. The zero waste movement was just beginning to go mainstream, and Callee knew that if she wanted to purchase products that were ethically-made, vegan, cruelty-free AND plastic-free; others would too. So she opened an Etsy shop on January 9th, 2017, and her dear grandma was her first sale. Etsy sales quickly increased as our brand became known in the zero waste Instagram community. In June, we got our first wholesale order – 650 Cucumber + Spearmint Soaps for a wellness subscription box. Callee was making soap in her apartment kitchen, storing them in a hall closet, and packing orders from her bedroom, all in her free time outside of serving in the US Navy.
After leaving the military at the end of 2017, Callee bought a campervan and hit the open road, bringing her tiny business along with her. She traveled to more than 20 states, while making & shipping soap out of her van. Callee visited every zero waste store she came across, creating many stockist relationships that continue to this day!
By August, the demand for our products was more than Callee could keep up with, because of the very limited storage & production space in her van, so she rented a 100 sq ft storage unit in Alpharetta, Georgia while volunteering for the Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign. After the devastating 2018 midterm election results, Callee packed up her van and moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, a city & state she’d never even been to before.
In Rapid City, Callee rented a 500 sq ft office to make & ship products, as well as sleeping on the floor during the winter when her van was unbearably cold. Our first employees – an Operations Manager & a Shipping Specialist – joined the company. In April, we were recognized as a top 100 Small Business by FedEx. In November, Callee opened a zero waste store in downtown Rapid, and we relocated our growing operations to their back room.
2020 brought an endless series of challenges. Many of our stockists shut down due to the pandemic, several of our employees got COVID, our entire supply chain was disrupted, and prices went through the roof, but thanks to the help of Stacy’s Rise Project & The Spanx Foundation, we bounced back stronger than ever. We hired a soapmaker to make up to 500 lbs of soap per week, as well as hiring a part-time product assembler in partnership with Black Hills Works. We then outgrew the back room at our sister company, so in November 2020 we moved yet again, this time to a 1800 sq ft warehouse in NW Rapid City.
In 2021, we settled into our new warehouse and navigated the challenges that accompany a growing team & company, all whilst still living in a global pandemic. Business puberty is hard! But in good news, we celebrated our 1,000th wholesale order on Faire, thanks to our 250+ stockists around the US & Canada. With so many store partners, we created a Stockist Coordinator position. We also developed relationships with local businesses to reduce our carbon footprint – making our Coffee Soap with used coffee grounds from a local cafe, reusing packing paper from a local plant shop, and reusing shipping boxes from other local businesses.
We’re excited for the new year and all the new opportunities it brings! In 2022, our big goal is to get our products into a chain retailer. We’re also bringing back our own online shop, due to popular demand from individual consumers.
Shipping address (not open to public)
2340 Deadwood Ave, Unit J
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702