Deer Meadow Soaps | MD of Peace Love Local: Northwestern Alberta Makers and Creators
Claudette Stalker, 43, grew up in Grimshaw. She now lives along the Shaftesbury Trail. Claudette is a K-6 Divisional Curriculum Coordinator for the Peace River School Division by day and a soap maker/small business owner by night.
What’s your origin story? How did you get into soap making?
I had always loved artisan soap and enjoyed treating myself to a bar when I visited markets or local businesses. The soaps were always a treat for me because of the cost of a bar. I wanted to make the bars for myself and my family for less cost, so I researched the process a few years.
It seemed like a scary and dangerous process, so I never took the next step until one summer when I decided to be brave. I finally took the plunge to don all the safety gear from head to toe, researching the process repeatedly and watching too many videos to count.
My first batch didn’t fill the mold, but it smelled lovely and looked satisfactory. I was hooked on the process once I shared the bars and received positive feedback.
Along the way, I have grown in technique and style, but the basic recipe I developed on that first day has never been altered. It was a lucky stumble. I worked out the cost per bar and sold the soaps as low as possible while making them worth my time.
Over the years the insurance, materials, and fuel have increased, and I have had to increase the cost per bar. I will always remain cognizant of how it felt as a customer to pay high prices for a treat and strive to maintain the lowest cost possible.
Along the way, I also included bath salts, salves, lip balms, face scrubs, face masks and bath bomb bark in my inventory.
While I love being creative and enjoy developing other products for customers, I truly appreciate the relaxing and creative process of making unique and ever-changing loaves of artisan soap.
Tell us about the care and attention you put into your work.
Soap must cure for 4-6 weeks, so you always have to think ahead to the upcoming season and holiday. I also have certain bars of soap that are must-haves for different customers, so I need to ensure that there is a new batch curing when stock is running low to make sure I don’t disappoint those who have an absolute favourite.
Are there specific items you could suggest as good Christmas gift ideas?
A specially chosen bar of soap tailored to the receiver’s unique personality. My soap is $7 per bar.
A cute basket created with little samples of products, such as a small bag of bath salts paired with a bar of soap, makes the perfect teacher gift. It is relatively inexpensive and a perfect little treat at $13 for both.
Where can people purchase your products?
You can find Deer Meadow Soaps at the following local markets: Grimshaw Christmas Market (Nov. 19), Peace River Special Christmas Markets (Nov. 26 & Dec. 10) and at the Peace River Farmers Market (various dates).
My products can also be found at La Bonita Esthetics & Hair in Peace River, Hollyhocks and Honeysuckle in Peace River, Knead the Knots with Katlyn, RMT in Grimshaw, Riverside Ranch Décor in Grimshaw and on my website.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Stock up if you see a soap that you love and can’t live without. Sometimes I don’t make a particular batch ever again. But don’t fret; I am always creating new ones that might be your new favourite!