The Meridian Times
The Meridian Township Farmers’ Market is nearing the end of its season. Vendors were actively engaging with customers Wednesday afternoon, over homegrown fruits, vegetables and handmade crafts. However, one vendor that seemed to be getting most of the attention.
Marjorie Johns, owner of Stone Cloud Gardens, Ltd., had a variety of jams and some wheat grass, but what she is known for around the community is her handmade soaps.
“I started my journey with soap-making in November of 1997. The following year, I started selling them,” said Johns. “My first soap was a lumpy, unappealing thing that smelled like lavender. I told everyone it wouldn’t lather, but it would serve its purpose … and before I knew it, I sold out of my first batch.”
In the mid 1990s, Johns was an herbs and vegetables vendor at the market. One day, she decided she wanted to do something with her leftover herbs so she took to the Internet for advice.
“I wanted to do something different,” said Johns. “When I saw that I could make handmade soaps I figured I had nothing to lose.”
After completely selling out of her first batch of lavender soap, Johns wanted to make the soaps more appealing and wanted them to lather. She experimented with ingredients and formulas until she came up with the one she uses today. Coconut oil, according to Johns, is an essential lathering component. Without coconut oil, there would be no sensation of lathering.
All of Johns’ soaps consist of the same basic formula, which allows the soaps to retain moisture.
“Glycerin, which is known as a humectant, is a substance that promotes the retention of moisture. All of our soaps contain glycerin, and because of this, I haven’t used lotion in years,” said Johns.
When the soap business became a success, Johns’ husband, Bob, joined his wife in her handcrafted business. Stone Cloud Gardens Handmade Herbal Soaps are also known as Bob’s Wife’s Soaps around the community.
“I gave Marjie the idea of selling her soaps online,” said Bob. “She wasn’t very into the idea so I decided to make the website and title it ‘Bob’s Wife’s Soaps.’”
Today, Bob’s Wife’s Soaps sells a collection of 16 scented soaps. Popular scents contain anything that consists of lavender, oatmeal or rosemary. They sell for $4.50 each or three for $12. Marjorie sells her soaps at the Farmers’ Market every Wednesday and Saturday. The soaps can also be purchased online at www.bobswifessoaps.com.