Experience the benefits of natural soaps and other products the way it should be… with simple ingredients and made by hand. Phillip and Mary Peelish are two Fayetteville, West Virginia artisans who created Wild Mountain Soap Company. They make soap and other natural products and we met them in October during the annual 3-day Art & Craft Show at the WV State Fairgrounds. Their first batch of soap sealed their fate and they will never go back to off-the-shelf mass-produced soap.
What began as a kitchen-table business has grown into a warehouse operation where their products are sold in 50 states. When they first started making soap, they gifted it to friends and family. Due to an increasingly need for more, Phillip and Mary perfected their technique, established the business, and began production to sell in local shops, B&B’s, cabin rentals, and resorts. They also hit the road and sold their soap at festivals, events, and craft shows. Their first bar of soap has developed into more than a dozen all-natural products from sugar and salt scrubs to muscle rub and bug repellent. In the first few months of making soap, they learned other products require the same or similar ingredients. Learn how Phillip and Mary describe their palette and what they do to overcome the obstacles of daily life with our Q&A:
1. How do you describe your palette?
Our palette consists of the sense of smell and the sense of touch. We do not limit ourselves to just the scents that nature provides. We source high quality fragrances that are blended with natural oils when possible that provide our guests with the best possible sensory experience. The fact that we give our customers the ability to produce a scent that is unique to them makes us unique in the bath and body realm. We strive to make our soaps, lotions and other products feel as good as they smell. We do this by using the finest natural ingredients we can buy.
2. What’s your greatest accomplishment?
We really like it when we have someone come to the shop or visit us at a show and have used our products and they absolutely are in love with them. It is a really good feeling.
3. What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
Time. We offer so many products and have a lot more we want to create but keeping up with production and finding time to branch out into new directions is our biggest obstacle.
4. How do you find your inspiration?
We started our journey in soap making as a weekend hobby. We had never used homemade soap before and wanted to try making it. Once we tried it the feeling was so much different than commercial products that we wanted to share our experience with friends and family. They had the same reaction and when they ran out, they told us they would pay us to make more. So we did.
5. What advice do you have for other artists?
Don’t be afraid to experiment and take chances. Don’t be discouraged if something does not come out like you wanted. Some of our batches do not come out like we want and are some of our best sellers.
Phillip and Mary have a store in Fayetteville and they invite you to stop by and see what they are making. They also have products at Tamarack, Otters and Oak in Hinton and Bella’s all Natural in Princeton WV. If you interested in carrying their product line, wholesale opportunities are available. For more information, visit wildmountainsoaps.com
– LBSPY, November 2015
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.