Places: A Look Inside the Rocky Mountain Soap Workshop

Places: A Look Inside the Rocky Mountain Soap Workshop

Last Friday I had the opportunity to visit the Rocky Mountain Soap Company workshop. It was a beautiful day with bright blue skies and warm breezes. Odd for February, but perfect for the hour long drive to Canmore. It was the general plan for the marketing manager to show me around the office space before learning more about production. Apparently this was a relatively new space for them, and I was impressed with the open floor plan and soft woods and textures that greeted me when i came in the front door.. it was so beautiful in the afternoon light and I really just wanted to make myself a cup of tea and sit down and do some reading in one of those chairs.

The company kitchen. The TV screen to the right constantly features images captioned with the hashtag #rockymountainsoap

The company kitchen. The TV screen to the right constantly features images captioned with the hashtag #rockymountainsoap

Jessica, the marketing manager, told me about how the weekly staff meetings were held here in this kitchen, and walked me through their surrounding office space, library and product testing room. It was beautiful and bright everywhere I looked, and it seemed like everyone I came across had a bounce in their step and a smile on their face. The windows offered majestic views of the rockies. Offices were scarce and minimal, with an open layout and the overall environment seemed very organized and quiet. I’m sure it also doesn’t come as a surprise that the entire building smelled amazing 😉 I was able to find out that the office furniture, fixtures and lighting have been made from materials that were either rescued from the landfill, or made from local and sustainably sourced wood. The flooring is 100% recyclable, the paints are VOC-free, and the ceramic tile cleans itself and the air around it. The living wall oxygenates the air and the open concept floor plan was designed to maximize efficiency of the HVAC and furnace. It was nearly a 2 year journey for them to develop this space, and it clearly was worth the effort.

First note in my book; Rocky Mountain Soap lives and breathes toxin-free… even behind closed doors.

Next, Jessica handed me off to Dale.. their production manager.

Talking to Dale about RMSC was like a breath of fresh air. She was passionate about the products, loved her job and supported the company mission. She took me to a separate building where they make their signature soaps and I was thrilled to see the dozens of scents that I know and love stacked away on shelves. She pulled out drawers of raw ingredients, explaining how the soap was made completely by hand and with the same techniques that were used hundreds of year ago. I was amazed by not only the simplicity of the process, but the purity of it as well.

The curing room where the soaps sits for weeks until ready to be stocked and sold.

The curing room where the soaps sits for weeks until ready to be stocked and sold.

 

She then took me through the various stations including where they made bath bombs and showed me how they press them into perfect spheres using a mould. IN another room she showed me where they mixed their lotions and also pointed out the drums where they stored all their shampoos and conditioners. With each station came a better realization of exactly how natural these products really were and how they have indeed been crafted by human hands and without the presence of harsh chemicals.

It is rare to come across a company these days that lives and breathes the message they put out to the public. Often there is a lot of “green-washing” in the market which makes the average consumer very suspicious of the term ‘organic’.  Nowdays you are allowed to slap organic on a package that may only have one or two organic ingredients. But that aside,  it was clear to me that Rocky Mountain Soap has a greater goal than  profit and a greater goal than joining the latest trend.

They are seeking to improve the way we live.

On their website, Karina Birch (co-founder) is quoted as saying; Shopping for body care should be a purely joyful experience. It’s my personal vision, and the mission of our company to be unwavering in our commitment to toxin-free, so you can shop with the freedom of knowing that everything we make is safe and good for you.

I remember reading recently that the only clear way to success is to offer the public a product or service that will improve their lives and/or the world around them. In my books, success includes the intrinsic goals we all hope to reach such as contentment, self-achievement or self-improvement and not just the desires to turn a profit and live in a nice home.  When a company expresses a desire to do good it makes us feel profoundly connected to it. I felt similarly with companies such as Tentree and Saje Wellness. These types of businesses clearly draw a very loyal following, not only locally, but all over the country… and its due to their message, their goals, and their honesty.

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Pictured here are the Aromatherapy sticks and the giant mixer blending the hand lotions.

Pictured here are the Aromatherapy sticks and the giant mixer blending the hand lotions.

At the end of the tour I felt completely and utterly motivated. Not only to live life with a little more awareness, but also to pursue my interests to their fullest capacity.  Jessica generously gave me a few samples to take home and try, so I am currently coveting the Beech Tree Bud Eye Cream (Beech Tree Bud tightens the skin under the eyes while also moisturizing to diminish wrinkles and dark circles), the Bamboo Face Polish and also the Vanilla Coconut face polish (crushed Bamboo and Coconut Shell help to exfoliate and rid the skin of impurities).

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We finished the day off with me picking out a few gift sets to give away to my readers and IG followers. It was wonderful to hear how the beautiful designs on the gift boxes were created by former ACAD students. Each illustration tells a little story both visually and in writing on the back of the box. I was charmed by each and every one of them and encouraged to see local artists being showcased to the public.

However, what really affected me most about this tour was the table of employees gathered around a small table in the packaging area. They were chatting and laughing away as they remixed a batch of serious scrub that had suffered a small error in the mixing process. It didn’t look like an easy job, and they were busy figuring out how to repackage the product in an efficient manner. Despite the challenge, they were cheerful and actively searching for solutions. It’s rare to see people truly happy in their jobs, and I think it came as almost a weird shock to see people enjoying their work to the fullest.

It makes you want to have a piece of it.

 

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Perhaps that sounds selfish! But I think that’s how we all feel when we see happy people. So in that moment, as I left the facility with all sorts of samples and soaps in my arms, I promised myself to invest in my work a little more and find out what is it that I can do for those around me. It’s not an immediate life changer, but it’s certainly a good and honest start.

Happy Monday everyone!

A few of my favourite soaps

A few of my favourite soaps

 

 

 

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Comments ( 8 )

  • Kira Gulley

    First, your site is stunning! Wow. I mean, how could it not be with all your gorgeous photos scattered throughout it! I love following you on IG and seeing your adventures, so reading more here is just wonderful!

    Second, I am always on the look out for natural beauty products. The way you described RMSC sounds like it’s a beautiful company. Being an artist I appreciate companies that still hand make their products. Now I really want to try that bamboo and coconut but scrub! Thanks for sharing!! @antlersandhoney

    • Chloe Hibbert

      Thanks a million Kira! Just recently started following you, you have a beautiful IG page. It means a lot to hear such kind words.

      I think you will really love RMSC. I have been using them since I was in Junior High! I met the co-owner at an event recently and her vitality and passion for bring toxin-free products to the marketplace was quite inspiring. You are still eligible to win the “love your hands gift set that I will be giving away next week so stay tuned!

  • Throughlens4

    Great website. You are such an inspiration for me 🙂

    @throughlens

  • Vivien Francombe

    Wow girl you totally speak my language! I love hearing and supporting companies like this who are all around genuine. I totally vote for simple homemade happiness. sounds like it would be a dream job! totally going to look into this company some more. I’ve recently made a real effort to only buying products that all around invest in our world instead of a market. Sounds like these products are totally for me.
    Your website looks amazing! Very easy to navigate and clean. the only thing constructive to say is: viewing your website on my laptop is great, but when I was using it on my iPhone the left side bar (that has the title of the blog) was pure white and kept interfering/overlapping with the text on the left of the screen. its farther down the page so i don’t know if it really bothers anyone else, but i personally read father down the page and it got in the way a bit. Otherwise it’s great!
    Definitely love the way you write. It’s so descriptive and passionate. And your photography really teleports me to that place and I just think about what I just read and I experience it too. Wonderful!
    IG: francombee

    • Chloe Hibbert

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response Vivien!

      I really appreciate that you took the time to give me some constructive, critical feedback as well. I will definitely take a good look at what is going on with the mobile view as its very important that the page is easy to navigate and read for the viewers benefit.

      Thank you as well for the positive feedback on my writing, its always a bit daunting putting thought and opinions out there so thank you very much for the encouragement. Stay tuned for more giveaways 🙂 I have a big one coming up!

  • Cara N

    Wow!! The inside of this place is so cool!! Im drooling over those slabs of soap. What an awesome place… lucky you to get a private tour!!

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