Apothecarie Brand Company Handmade Vegan Soaps and Lotions
How we do it...

It starts with kindness.

Apothecarie Brand Co. soaps and lotions and every other endeavor from client relationships to our families, and in how we relate with everything is done with kindness first. It is the key ingredient in everything that we do. The choices that we make for our products are heavily weighed against that single core value. Is it kind to the earth? Is it kind to animals & humans? Will the impact of making, buying, developing this be kind for our future? Kindness is a part of our recipe that will never be kept secret. We will share it with anyone who will listen.

Truth in Labeling

Ingredients are listed on every single product. We have studied every ingredient and urge you to feel confident to do the same. We have the privilege as well as the responsibility of making your soaps and lotion. We are completely forthcoming in sharing our choices so that you are empowered with the right to decide if the choices are right for you.

We use only the finest, whole ingredients in our hand made soaps. Our team members each have organic gardens filled with vegetables, fruits, beneficial herbs, ornamental grasses, bamboo, flowering annuals and perennials and other beneficial botanicals that are used in our recipes. Our gardens are free from chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

To secure the freshness of the soaps and lotions, there are several seasonal products that are limited to production within the bearing season of a specific fruit, foliage or vegetable.

Be confident that the soaps have a two-year shelf life and 18 months for lotions if for any reason you were keeping stock in your homes or stores. In almost 20 years of making soap, we have yet to hold onto an unopened bar for quite that long. Hildreth's recipe was tested for shelf-life during the Depression when soap was traded for different types of seeds, foods, "hootch" and radio batteries. The Depression caused extreme frugality and people saved the good soap for parties, holidays and gatherings. Little known fact that America stopped making soap and switched to a chemical detergent during that time. It was apparently awful stuff that ruined skin, hair and clothing. Unfortunately, it is still on grocery store shelves today.

Soap and Detergents are naturally different

There is a difference between soap and detergent. Both are used for cleaning because water alone cannot remove oily and organic soils. Soaps clean by acting as an emulsifier which binds oil and water. Soap allows oil and water to mix so that soil and grime can be removed during rinsing while leaving essential oils left untouched. It has an organic mindedness that keeps your skin hydrated and prepared to receive and produce "good" oil. Detergents are primarily surfactants, which are produced easily from petrochemicals. They mindlessly remove all oils without differentiating and leave a surface, including and especially hair and skin from producing, holding or utilizing "good" oil. Detergents were developed in response to the shortage of the animal and vegetable fats that were used to make soap during World Wars I and II. Detergents were deemed a necessity in a very trying time in our human history for mass production. While there will always be a need for frugality, there is never a need to stop thinking about the impact something will have on our people, our planet and the future of both. Detergents are inappropriate for use on our skin and our hair. They are chemicals that are toxic from the moment they are generated to their disposal. They don't go away.

Seasonal Soaps: Freshness is kind.

Towards the beginning of spring we will madly harvest basil, tarragon, and other early crop herbs to have enough for a year's supply.

The summer is wonderfully bountiful with lilacs, tobacco flowers, roses, Lavender, and mojito mint. In the middle of the summer the vegetables go crazy. We boil and peel tomatoes for days to make tomato powder for its beautiful color and for its acne relieving qualities. It's fragrance is pretty incredible too. Summer's end yields scented leaf geraniums, orange blossoms, tea tree foliage, rosemary and other amazing flowers.

In the fall, we go to the neighbor's and harvest figs from her brown turkey fig tree because Lisa has the best figs in the world. She also has handsome Japanese Apple Pears which we use in the Vanilla & Pear soaps. We par-boil the fig and then collect the seeds for grinding into exfoliate. We have the great fortune of having Kurt Bluemel, the King of Ornamental Grass just a few miles away. You may know that he grows over a thousand different Miscanthus and Panicums which we cut and bundle for our Wild Grass soaps. Among the thousands of grasses, he has an equal amount of hardy perennials too. What we especially love is his bamboo. The Moso, a giant bamboo is an edible sweet bamboo that yields fantastic oil. We use bamboo foliage and canes to extract the fragrance for our Sweet Bamboo.

Winter is a time for quieter gathering. We collect our ideas, put on a pot of tea to commune with our new garden plans, experiment with fragrance, inventory our successes and our failures with different crops and generally enjoy the quiet. We harvest evergreens and mushrooms when gentle weather prevails. It is the time when we work with spices, oils and minerals that we have found through fair-trade. These tea gatherings are where Two Teas and Winter Mint and Ylang Ylang were born. You will notice the softness of them for your winter skin and the quiet they bring to the bath. There are camphor qualities in each of these for cool-weather body behaviors such as sinus issues or achy muscles from raking and shoveling. Ylang Ylang has rose-hip powder to soothe those same muscles but also promote enthusiasm for long winter nights.

We highly recommend using our soaps and lotions within their harvest time. Our recipe is a very small batch recipe that we don't fiddle with. That means that each batch yields only 40 bars at a time. We make seasonal batches constantly but when they are gone and there are no more ingredients to harvest, it will take a whole year to make again. When you find your favorites grab them soon as you can. If you find that your favorite is Basil, Sage and Oakmoss from our spring and summer harvest, we would never fault you for using it all year long. We love that one too and we hope to keep it available through out the year. The generous 5.5 oz bar will last the average family about three months. That seems like a long time and it is in comparison to most commercially available soaps, but when you love it and it's gone it seems like a blink.

Local Farmers and Cooperatives

Whenever necessary, we purchase ingredients from other local farmers or cooperatives who share our product values. For example, Apothecarie Brand Co. gratefully lives in Harford County, Maryland where we grow and harvest apples, wine grapes and large crops of vegetables for both human and animal foodstuff.  Farming is still a way of life here and we support it wholeheartedly.

It is a little known fact that we are a large grower of the native sunflower. It is used for both oil and seed. In the fall, after harvest we make a great effort to purchase that oil locally. When an ingredient is locally unavailable we expand our effort to source the ingredient as close as possible within our area and then throughout the United States. It is kind to our economy and important to support local organic farmers.

Fair Trade Oil, Spices and Minerals

Finally, we also purchase from fair-trade brokers when we are assured that fair-wages, ethical work practices and similar environmental stewardship observances are provided to, for and by the farmer that harvested the ingredient that we need for your soap. We take great delight in both thinking and acting globally. If you would like to support a similar effort please check out Kiva Loans and the Fair Trade links that are provided on our home page and our links page. We have the privilege of supporting some of the world's most interesting indie businesses.

Palm oil, palm kernels and other palm derivatives are common ingredients in soap but NOT in ours. We will never use Palm oil or any derivative of it. There is empirical evidence that it is beneficial to your skin but the cost to our world is severely outweighed by its benefit. There are too many other kind choices to be made. None of the oils or butters that we use are produced through slave-labor, unfair or unethical labor practices or are harmful to the land on which they are grown. Palm oil is and historically has been harvested through slave-labor since the 1840's. Little has changed in the slash and burn methods of harvesting it either. It is a painful part of the history of soap and candle making and we care not to participate in its use. We are serious about sharing its history. It cannot and should not be ignored because it is cruel and extremely unkind to everything Apothecarie Brand Company believes to be good.

Hildreth's Soap and Lotion recipes: Timeless, Tested & Trusted

The recipe for the soap was taught to Heather Wheatley, company founder and owner by her grandmother Hildreth Morton over 20 years ago. The lotion recipe is the evolution of one of Hildreth's recipes. Each of the ingredients is handled with great care to maintain a food-quality status before it is included in the soap recipe. Some herbs and flowers are dried, chopped and/or ground to a fine powder. Others are cut and placed fresh into a stove-top distiller to extract the nutrients and fragrant oils which produces not only essential oils but also sweet or spicy hydrosols.

The process used to make the soap and lotions are secret though the ingredients are available right on the package. Rest assured, the final product is consistent and as rich and luscious as Hildreth intended. The soap, depending on the ingredients is either cold pressed, warm pressed, or made in the Marseille style of French soap making (olive oil and milled) which members of our team learned in Grasse, France. The soap base is made from a variable of vegetable fats and nut butters. Any combination of olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut butter, aloe vera gel extract, cocoa butter, coconut oil, apricot oil, grape seed oil, horsetail butter and shea butter are used for different soaps.


© 2010-11 Apothecarie Brand Company • 20 South Main Street • Port Deposit, Maryland 21904 • 443.731.2522 Site Map