About Gracie Pie Apothecary
It all started after my then 10-year-old daughter watched a DIY vlog. “Mommy, can we make soap?”
I thought it would be a fun project for her, so I headed to Hobby Lobby where they sell big bricks of “melt-and-pour” soap bases. It was expensive, messy, difficult to mold, and had a long list of ingredients I didn’t understand. So I did an Internet search for handmade soap and started trial and error. I was hooked the first time I popped a small white loaf out of a crude handmade mold and ran a piece between my wet hands. Lather!
Four years later, Gracie Pie Apothecary, named after my daughter, has become an obsession, not only for the artistic value I can add to my products — I call it soap art — but for the way natural products change your skin, particularly when you add the goodness of fresh goats milk.
We are located in Kankakee, 40 miles south of Chicago, and hand make all our products from scratch with ingredients you don’t have to Google. We never cut corners, such as using soap or lotion bases. Each of our products contain goats milk, which we believe is the best thing you can put on your skin. It creates the creamiest, loveliest lather, leaving your skin nourished and silky, naturally.
Soaping has also created an unlikely medium for expression. I have always been a creative type. People call me a “mini Martha” because my vast array of hobbies: repurposing old furniture, sewing custom draperies and gourmet cooking, to name a few. So just imagine me surrounded by beautiful scents, a rainbow of natural mica colors and botanicals, and the creativity to turn raw soap batter into something more.
Today, my soapmaking has taken on a much more sophisticated form. I open a bottle of fragrance, close my eyes and inhale. The colors seem to appear. I don’t always believe the colors have to “match” the scent, and the the techniques of pouring are endless.
There are ways of dropping the batter to create deep swells of color. I have mold dividers that allow me to control where I want my colors to go. I can marble, checker, stripe, swirl and ribbon depending on my vision. The delicate tip of a chopstick allows me to turn dribbles of color into sweeping scrolls across the top of a loaf; and a simple spoon is the tool to mold it into valleys and peaks. I’m not just making soap; I’m painting, sculpting and designing.
The next morning, when I slice each piece, I am in awe. Just as an original Picasso can’t be replicated, no two soaps are ever the same. Each has its own characteristics. I'm often mystified by a unique pattern or a delicate tendril of color. "Beautiful," I whisper to myself. Like small abstract paintings.
Gracie Pie Apothecary is now a mother-daughter business. We sell at farmers markets, artisan fairs and festivals, and wholesale to dozens of boutiques across the Midwest.
My assistant, Anne also has a teenage daughter and works with Gracie Pie Apothecary.
We believe hard work goes a long way — particularly when it comes to raising our daughters.
Keep it clean,
Rachael Reynolds-Soucie and Grace Soucie
Co-founders, Gracie Pie Apothecary