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Meet Laura Pipitone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Pipitone. 

Hi Laura, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’m Laura Pipitone, the founder, owner, head soapmaker, and sole employee of The Oakley Soap Co., based in Cincinnati. 

I started making soap in 2017 when I decided I needed a new hobby. I decided on soapmaking because I have always loved bath and body products. As a kid, I spent my allowance on a new soap or lotion, and as an adult, I found myself drawn to the soap vendors at farmers’ markets and festivals. After my first batch of a simple lemongrass soap, I was hooked. 

Once I created my recipe, I started selling my soap to friends and family. The word quickly spread, and suddenly my hobby became my profession. I’ve gone from making a few dozen soaps to thousands, and I expanded my product line to include sugar scrubs and shower steamers. My products are 100% vegan. I make every product by hand in small batches to ensure quality. The oils and butter used are sustainably sourced because I don’t want my kids to inherit an environmental mess. I do not use palm oil in my soaps because I don’t want to contribute to the deforestation of orangutans’ habitats. Finally, most of my supplies are purchased from women-owned businesses because I believe if women entrepreneurs stick together, we can make the world a better place. 

If I am not making soap for The Oakley Soap Co, I am chasing around my two clever, wonderful, hilarious, and exhausting kids. Or I am frantically texting my friends about why the aforementioned kids are driving me insane. Or I’m cuddling with my amazing husband, Brett. I can also be found mainlining coffee, dropping the kids off at school in my pajamas, or exploring my adopted home of Cincinnati. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Running The Oakley Soap Co is a joy, but I have had plenty of bumps. I never had dreams of owning my own business, and when I realized I had a sustainable business on my hands I was just as surprised as anyone. Growing out of the maker/creator mindset and into a business owner mindset continues to be a tough transition. 

Much like everyone else, I also struggled during the pandemic’s start. In early 2020, I only recently started working on The Oakley Soap Co full time. As a mom of 2, most of my working hours happened while my kids were at school. Suddenly having my kids home all day was a considerable challenge. My youngest was in kindergarten, and I found myself sitting in on virtual school to help her instead of making products and working on marketing. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I look at my products, especially my soaps, as functional art and affordable luxury. My soaps are colorful with unique designs, but they are made to be used… Many of my customers are busy people who rarely take time for themselves. Often the shower is the closest thing they get to a break during the day. I want my soaps, scrubs, and steamers to be something that helps them escape during that brief rest. 

I am also known for fun, sometimes snarky, soap names and descriptions. I find joy in writing them, and nothing thrills me more than when a custom says, “I never thought I would laugh hysterically while shopping for soap:” 

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I am not currently working with a mentor, but I love to network. I’ve met some fantastic people and made good friends with other small business owners I’ve connected with at events or in online groups. As a naturally shy person, putting myself out there is not my natural disposition. However, I usually try to introduce myself to others to form connections. I also try not to see other businesses as competition. Running a small business is not easy, and there is room for all of us. I’d rather cheer others on than be jealous of their success. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Katie Schneider

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1 Comment

  1. Mary Robinet

    June 6, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Congratulation Laura lovely article.

    Wishing you so much success and enjoyment in your company.

    Mary Robinet

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