Welcome! I'm Claudia Sammer and the owner and founder of Blue Bison Soapery. I'm blessed to be the mother of two wonderful children that I raise in Southern Colorado. This business is my dream come true since I came to the US in 2010 and it's giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my passion of handmade, high-quality bath and body products with this world.
I grew up very simple in the suburbs of Eastern Germany. My family grew their own vegetables, fruits and herbs because back then supplies were limited. Sure, as a child, I didn't think much about it - yet, looking back, I see how that shaped my deep connection and gratitude for nature, my appreciation for the simple things in life and passion for health consciousness.
My products reflect the high quality and high standards that I set on my personal life as well as my professional life. All my recipes are my own formulations, researched and constantly refined, using the best ingredients; which are for our soaps: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Shea Butter, Castor Oil, phthalate free Fragrance Oils, and Micas (dyed silicate minerals that are found in granite, crystals, and other rocks). Our Luxury Soaps, scented with Essential Oil blends, have in addition Mango Seed Butter and Cocoa Butter to achieve an even more moisturizing and creamier bar. All formulations are a wonderful balance of vitamins, minerals and skin-loving properties meant to soothe & nourish your skin and body and make your bathtub & shower time a fun and healthy experience.
For a long time I did deal with outbreaks and eczema that was mainly triggered by my work as a nurse. As much as I loved my job, in-between I had to change jobs to reduce the outbreaks and get some relief. Of course, living in this modern world, I had access to a lot of great quality products. But to what cost? And after how many trials and errors? And even then, most of the ingredients in these products, no one can spell or read without a dictionary. So many products, even at the health food store, were so overpowering in scents - and I'm also talking about the ones scented with Essential Oils - that I run out of options pretty quick.
4 years ago my daughter started with eczema outbreaks and that was the turning point for me to look into options how I can make my own soaps and body products. Products where I can control and choose the ingredients. Simple, natural, good smelling and good looking. Since then, there is no way of going back. If you talk to other soap makers, they'll all tell you the same: once that soap-making fever got you, you can't stop.
For me, like for others, the process of making soaps is more than just business. It is simply art. It is relaxation, satisfaction, creating something with our hands that is so simple for an every day product yet so beneficial for the body and skin. For you skin and for mine!
The short answer is: We care about the earth!
Let us explain a bit more here. Palm Oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of the Palm Oil tree. Palm Oil trees are native to Africa but have been brought to South-East Asia over a 100 years, now making up over 85% of the global supply.
Palm oil is in high demand and widely used for its properties (in soap it helps for a harder, more lathery bar). And because it is cheap. To meet this surge in demand, producers have begun huge efforts to deforest rainforests and plant new crops of African Oil Palm. In wide areas these deforestation efforts have been devastating: species like the Orangutan, Pygmy Elephant and Sumatran Rhino have been driven dangerously close to extinction, the heavy machinery used in the production and the destruction means more and more greenhouse gasses enter the atmosphere, local communities and indigenous populations are being pushed aside, and there also remains some exploitation of workers and child labor.
This is all pretty heavy. Thankfully there is a very strong movement against the destructive practices of palm oil production. Different campaigns and groups like the RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil, founded in 2004) are fighting for a more sustainable practices in order to meet the demand of Palm Oil. Even companies like WholeFoods have pledged to carry only products that are sourced from sustainably harvested Palm Oil.
That being said, ones would be left with the impression that a good bar of soap can't be made without Palm Oil. But in fact, we at Blue Bison Soapery know that great soap can be made without Palm Oil. We didn't have to reinvent the wheel - it has been made like this for thousands of years! Yes, it means that we pay considerably more for great quality vegetable oils and butters than we would pay for palm oil. And still, we want to make a difference. We care about the Earth!
Soap is like a fine wine - it gets better with age.
The process we use to make our soaps is called 'cold process soap making'. Cold Process soap is made by mixing sodium hydroxide (lye) with water, then blending it with oils, then adding essential oils and natural colorants, and finally, pouring it into molds to make it nice and pretty. Of course this is a very simplified tutorial but it gives you an idea. The soaps then sit inside the mold for 24-72 hours to saponify (become soap), are removed from the mold to dry for 24 hours, then cut into single bars and must then "cure" for 4-6 weeks.
So why not use the soap after 1 week? Well, although the main process, saponification (the binding of Sodium Hydroxide/Lye and Oils), is done within 24-48hrs, there is still more chemical processes going on that would require a chemist to explain in detail. To keep it simple: water loss is the major part of the curing process as well as structural change and the drop of the ph. The recipe itself plays a huge role too. Recipes with a high Olive Oil content can take much longer - often 6 months or longer. Soaps with butters will harden quicker and be at their best after 4 weeks.
How can you as a customer know when you purchased a bar that was not fully cured? Watch out for these characteristics: the soap feels slimy when it comes in contact with water, the soap dissolves pretty quickly, the soap does not lather well, the soap is harsh to the skin.
We at Blue Bison Soapery want our customers safe and happy. We want them to leave our store with a bar of soap (or two ;)) that is not only SAFE but at its BEST. A bar that is hardened, mild to the skin, lathery, and long lasting in the shower/tub.