Prunella Soaps: Interview

Posted by Penny on January 16, 2012
Interview, Skincare + haircare

Top: L. Blood Orange Ginger Soap // R. Peppermint Vanilla Soap
Bottom: L. Lavender Handmade Soap // R. Pink Grapefruit Oatmeal Soap

I’ve first found out about Prunella Soap when someone posted on twitter ‘awesome photography’ and a link to the store. And definitely, it’s pretty hard to disagree with the fact that Prunella Soap, created by Janell Anderson, is packaged and photographed awesomely. Prunella Soap is all cold-process & handmade in lovely Portland, Oregon. I definitely agree that cold process is the best type of soap – it’s just lovely!

Janell was lovely enough to answer my questions about Prunella – hope you enjoy her answers! And definitely take a peek at her website and online store for beautiful, soapy goodness.

How did Prunella Soap begin? Has the business changed much since you started?

I started Prunella Soap in the fall of 2010 after finishing graduate school and being interested in starting my own business. I had been thinking a lot about handmade processes and techniques that are gradually becoming “lost arts” such as baking from scratch, weaving, quilting and woodworking…and old-fashioned cold process soap making was also something that I found fewer people are doing these days. Not much has changed over the past year except that I make 8 logs of soap at a time now instead of 2.

What is the benefit of cold process soap over other types?

I can’t speak for all versions of cold process soap, but the recipe I use contains only plant-based oils and ingredients, nothing derived from animals. (Traditionally cold process soap was made on farms using beef tallow as the main ingredient, and many contain goat’s milk or honey.) So the main benefit of Prunella soap is that I use primarily certified organic ingredients that are mostly food-grade and no synthetic chemicals, dyes or artificial fragrances in the soap, only essential oils for scent. Cold process soap has a lower pH than most drugstore bar soaps, so it is less detergent-like and many people find that their skin doesn’t get as dry after using handmade soap.

50 Wedding Soap Favors // Vegan & Organic

Standing out from the crowd is so important for an online store, and your photography and packaging, which I LOVE, definitely helps Prunella to do that! How did you develop them?

I knew I didn’t want to use any sort of plastic or shrink wrapping for the packaging, so I started experimenting with materials I had on hand to package the soap. Originally I cut strips from brown paper grocery sacks to wrap the soap, and had a ball of hemp from my jewelry-making days that I used to tie the ends. I just wanted to keep everything very simple. I actually had very elaborate ideas about how I wanted to photograph the soap, but not being a photographer I ended up just putting a dog on top of the bar of soap one day, and it made my nieces laugh, so I went with it.

Cinnamon Coffee Bean Travel Soap // Adventure Sticks // Soap To Go

Can you recommend a scent from your range?

One of the most popular is the Pink Grapefruit + Oatmeal soap, the fragrance is very mild, and you can rarely go wrong with a citrus scent for both males and females. Some people prefer a smooth soap, with no “exfoliants” (oatmeal) included, so I always recommend the Blood Orange + Ginger as a good starter soap.


Thanks so much to Janell for answering my questions!

Check out: Prunella Soap ShopJanell’s blogPrunella Soap twitter

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