Think all soap is the same? Think again.
Soap. It might be the most utilitarian thing around—you can’t escape using it, and doing so isn’t usually a thrilling experience. Unless, of course, you’re using soap made by Phillip and Mary Peelish, the husband-wife duo behind the Wild Mountain Soap Company, based in Fayetteville. Wild Mountain soaps are different. They come in a wide variety of pleasing colors and textures and more than 30 scents—and that’s before we even talk about the custom-scent option.
For the company’s latest innovative project, they teamed up with the 3D printing lab at the Robert C. Byrd Institute to make a mold in the shape of West Virginia. That means you can now purchase soap in the shape of your favorite state. “We’re really creative with it,” Phillip says. “We make a few simple bars, but a lot of our stuff is really colorful and creative. We like to play with making different combinations and shapes and products.”
The couple’s soap-making started out as a weekend hobby. At first only Mary was interested in the project, but when the first batch didn’t work out—she didn’t realize that you needed to wait a few weeks to let the soap cure before using it—she started reading up about soap-making online and Phillip got involved. The second batch was perfect. “We were just blown away by how well it worked,” Mary says. They’d never used old-fashioned, cold-pressed glycerin soap before, so using it for the first time was shocking in the best possible way. It was softer, somehow, and more moisturizing. “Instead of getting that dry, itchy feeling you get with normal bars of soap, that glycerin draws moisture into your body,” Philip says. “We’ve had customers tell us they were able to stop using lotion after they started using our soap.”
Phillip and Mary started giving soap to friends as gifts, and eventually moved on to selling soap at fairs, festivals, and craft shows. Before long they started experimenting with ways to expand their selection, and now you can buy Wild Mountain lotion, lip balm, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, beard balm, and muscle rub—just to name a few of their many products. They also developed that custom-scent option. Customers can choose from an extensive palette of scents, and Phillip and Mary will turn it into soaps for them. “We have a little bit of everything,” Phillip says. These days, Wild Mountain Soaps are still sold at fairs and festivals around the state, at Tamarack, in the couple’s recently opened storefront in Fayetteville, and on their website.
Wild Mountain Soap Company
523 Hinkle Road, Fayetteville, 304.574.1800, wildmountainsoaps.com
written by Shay Maunz