Local Soap Business Moves Downtown

After a short stint at the Parkview Plaza Shopping Center, the Left Hand Soap Co. has found a new home on University Boulevard at its new downtown location.

Launched in 1999 by Soapy Jones and husband Erik Hanson, the couple ran the small business from their home before opting for a brick and mortar location in 2015. For the local entrepreneur, each move was all about space.

“When we moved into the storefront three years ago, the intention was not to have an actual storefront, just to move production to a larger space,” said Jones. “We didn’t put a sign up, we didn’t tell anyone that we were there and after a few days, people started figuring out where we were, knocking on the door…when the opportunity to move into the space downtown presented itself, we jumped on the opportunity because it’s larger space, it allows for a storefront and we can move production there.”

Jones said moving into the downtown space not only allows for more production space, but it gives the small business more visibility.

“The question we get most often is ‘how do you make soap?’,” Jones said. “It’s difficult to explain. It’s also difficult to get anyone in our old shop where we made it safely. Moving to this space means we can make soap in a spot of the back of the retail space where people can see it.”

Jones’ days of soap-making date back to childhood, where she learned the craft from her grandmother. Using leftover fat from the pigs they raised, the Tuscaloosa native acquired a skill that would launch her career. After graduating college, Jones gained notoriety amongst friends from gifting soaps as novelty holiday presents. When the demand grew, Left Hand Soap. Co. was born.

The Left Hand Soap Co. isn’t just a Tuscaloosa staple, it’s a comical nod to the marginalized group that makes up ten percent of our population. Jones said she chose the name to jokingly destigmatize negative associations society has against the left-handed community. That and she is also left-handed.

“Traditionally, the left hand is the dirty hand,” said Jones. “Every language has a word for left. It translates into something negative. In Latin, it’s sinister. In French, its gauche. The idea of having a soap company is something of a staple of human existence and necessity in human civilization. To have it be provided by this left hand is entertaining to me. It made me laugh.”

Left Hand Soap Co. offers a wide selection of soaps, salves, deodorants and skin products that are all made with natural ingredients and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. Products are also available on their website, Amazon and on select store shelves.

“The way that we see it, your skin is your largest organ, it’s there to prevent illness,” Jones explained. “It’s also there to protect your body from injury and all sorts of other things but it’s also your largest partitive organ, your liver, your kidney, your skin so anything we can do to help your skin naturally. That’s our goal.”

Left Hand Soap Co. is located on 620 14th St. Suite A and is open Tuesday- Thursday from 12- 6 p.m. For more information, you can visit their website www. Lefthandsoapcompany.com


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