She’s always been creative, but now she’s a creative mad scientist and her talents have manifested into beautiful, aromatic homemade soaps. She started with bath bombs and ventured into soap making in June. You’d never know she’s only been in the business for a few months; she’s a bit of a perfectionist so each bar has gorgeous designs and a smooth exterior.
Taresa Foster started The Astraea Soap Company in June with the help of the training, mentorship and financial aid from the Summer Company Program, funded by the Province of Ontario and Huron County Economic Development Department. When asked, “why soap?” Taresa replied that it’s an outlet for her creative nature: “It’s artistic and functional.” She loves the science behind it as well. She has a lye calculator to ensure she has the right ratio, and loves trying new blends of essential oils. One of her favourite aspects of the business is cutting into the loaf to see the design on each bar after waiting 3 days for it to set. The entire process is a practice that demands patience– it takes about 4 hours to mix the soap, another 3 days to sit, and 3 weeks for the soap to cure. The cleanup itself is a considerable effort. She discovered early on that trying to clean lye with dish soap was not a good idea, as it produced a nasty ammonia smell. It’s been a process of trial and error, but she loves the problem solving involved.
In terms of running her first business, Taresa loves it, and says there’s a lot to keep up with. From regular posting on social media, creating the recipes, making the products, staying on top of the bookkeeping, and selling her products at markets and stores, she’s staying busy. She’s a big fan of to-do lists. Taresa plans to continue the business throughout the school year before she goes off to University to become a vet. She’s grateful for the support the Summer Company Program offered financially (starting a new business is expensive!) and is sure she’ll use the training concepts she learned when she opens her own vet practice down the road.