The Happy Beaver Company features cold processed soaps and other body products handmade by Dierdre Barrett from her home in Markdale, Ontario. Her experience and creativity help produce these truly one of a kind goods that smell and feel just as good as they look.
What inspired you to start making soap?
Soapmaking from scratch has always interested and intrigued me, and when I started making my natural body products I knew that would be something I wanted to add in as well. I just had to get over my apprehension of dealing with the lye to make the soap. All soap is made using sodium hydroxide (lye), even melt and pour, but as long as you utilize your safety gear and are careful then it is not an issue. The act of saponification which is when oils and lye meet and then change into actual soap is so interesting as once your soap has finished its cure time then there is no lye left at all.
How has your process changed since you began?
My process has changed with certain formulas I have created and now I know which ones I love. Soap making is all about chemistry and creating the formula with various oils and butter to achieve the desired result. I enjoy sitting down and looking at the different fatty acid profiles of certain oils and those combined will tell you how bubbly or hard your soap will be or even how long it will last with use. I also decided to change my formula to be more geared for sensitive skins. I saw a great need for that through my interactions with customers.
When I got your soap for the first time, the smell filled my bathroom for a week! Do you have any secret techniques?
I love to hear from people after using my soaps and am so happy you enjoyed it! I don’t actually think I have any secret techniques. I do read and study all about essential oils and have learned which ones can last and which ones are very fleeting. Citrus is so popular and unfortunately it is the hardest scent to keep around. Lemon essential oil is a very beautiful, clean scent but will fade so quickly before the bars are usually fully cured. I do like to use Litsea Cubeba as it has a lemon scent even though it is not from the citrus family and it does stick around.
What flavour is your favourite right now?
Lavender will always be a personal favourite as I find it so relaxing and calming. To my surprise though, this past year patchouli has started to inch forward as a fav as well! It works so well in a blend as it is a great base note that helps other oils to keep their scent and it seems to add a depth to other essential oils too.
Where can people find your soaps locally?
You can find me at several markets throughout the year, and right now for the summer I am at The Rocklands Market by The Market Shoppe in Berkeley each Sunday from 9-4. My products are also carried at Home Hardware and The Market Shoppe in Markdale and the Desboro General Store. I love meeting new people and hope to see some readers come on out to the market!
Contact: DM on Instagram
Location: Markdale. ON