Niles businesswoman launches online soap shop

NILES — A new business is making suds locally.

Kaley Williams, of Niles, started her bubbling business a little over a month ago. As she worked to perfect the craft in the months leading up to launching, the hard work has resulted in the creation of Clay and Cactus Soapery.

Williams creates artisan, handmade soaps out of natural ingredients she sources locally. Her soaps are adorned with ingredients represented in the soaps themselves, like a dried orange slice, a star anise, lavender sprigs and cinnamon sticks.

“A lot of my ingredients come out of my own garden — the eucalyptus and lavender,” Williams said. “If I don’t have it, my friends are also big into gardening and have it.”
She said she makes a point to source many of the ingredients in her unique soaps locally.

“I use natural colorants in my products. I don’t use mica powders or dyes,” Williams said. “I use paprika in my milk and honey bar; it adds a little golden tone. With my Halloween bar that I’m about to launch, I’m using charcoal to dye it black.”

She also uses red clays in her soaps. Williams said these ingredients add an exfoliating element to the soaps.

The base of the soaps is a goat milk base.
“I try to choose products that naturally help heal and make people feel better,” Williams said. “Goat milk naturally has a lot of fatty acids that help with natural exfoliation and cleansing. It has a lot of healing properties because of the vitamins. It helps with collagen boosting and helps prevent acne.”

Williams has noted many are in the market look for a vegan product, and in the future, she may explore other recipes.

The new business came out of two needs: income, and the need to be creative.

“I have been out of work because of COVID,” Williams said.

Not having any luck with applications for work, she decided to strike out on her own.

“I have to do something. I can’t provide with nothing,” Williams said. “[With this shop], I get to do things that I enjoy doing. I enjoy decorating and interior design. To be able to bring it to the market and bring it to people who really like it. It’s been fun.”

Williams spent time months before launching her shop working with her goat milk formula and different combinations of ingredients to get the scents just right. She sent samples to friends and took note of their feedback as she continued experimenting.

Williams said she was not sure if people would support a custom soap shop right now.

“I figured people would think of it as an ‘I want’ product and not an ‘I need.’ I’m pleasantly surprised,” Williams said.

Just a month into business, she is already planning to launch new products in the next week.

In addition to her staple and fall soaps listed on her Etsy page, she will be launching a Halloween themed soap and bath salts to match her soaps.

In addition to Williams’ Etsy page for Clay and Cactus Soapery, she has an Instagram and Facebook page updated with product information and photographs.

“[Customers] want a personalized feel to their gifts,” Williams said. “They don’t want just some generic product they can pull off the shelf, most of the time.”

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