Lynn Schapp the “Soap Hag”.
You may have seen soaps and lotions by “The Soap Hag” popping up at many of the Little Finger Lake area’s festivals, craft shows, or shops lately. These products have become quite popular and sought-after as they offer a genuine locally-made all-natural alternative to commercial skin care products (plus, the name is quite intriguing!).
It’s a surprise to learn that the owner and soapmaker, Lynn Schapp, of Springwater, has been creating her homemade products for only a few years (and is not really a “hag”, but a lovely, delightful, and resourceful woman!). She and her husband, Wayne, moved to this area from Scottsville only five years ago. Lynn met a neighbor who taught her the basics of soapmaking and she became interested, especially as she was looking for skin care products that could help alleviate her skin problems and allergies. She started researching and experimenting to learn more about it and discovered that each ingredient served a different purpose. She began integrating her findings into recipes she created on her own. “I found that I love it,” she said.
She makes the soaps the old-fashioned cold process way, one batch at a time, using fresh ingredients such as organic herbs, plant-based oils, raw honey, and goats’ milk, mostly from local farms or farmers’ markets. She offers a wide variety of soaps, each with their own special aroma and function - to invigorate, to relax, to soothe dry skin, and so on. They are not only good for your skin, but they smell good and are colorful and pretty to look at as well.
At first Lynn began by making a few good batches of soap for family and friends to try, and as Christmas or birthday presents. Soon people were approaching her wanting to pay for her products, as they loved her products and wanted more. So Lynn set out to start up a bootstrap business, working out of her kitchen.
Two years ago she began selling her soaps at American Made, a newly-opened retail shop in Canandaigua. “That’s when I got my big break,” she said as she described how the Messenger-Post newspaper interviewed and featured her on the front page as part of an article about the new store. Since then the business has taken off and she has started also selling at Gatherings at the Depot in Leicester and the 1812 Country Store in Hemlock, as well as at several annual area fairs such as the Springwater Fiddlers Fair and American Craft Show, and the Letchworth Arts and Crafts Show, amoung others. The business has been steadily growing, which is as Lynn designed it. “I wanted to grow slowly without too much risk,” she explains.
Wayne, himself a wood artist, is a big help to Lynn’s business as he builds the soap molds and assists her at The Soap Hag booth at the fairs. This winter he will tackle a much bigger project as he plans to build Lynn a soap kitchen in the lower level of their home, complete with a stove and drying racks, so she won’t have to work out of the family kitchen anymore.
Lynn plans to continue growing her business and hopes to soon be at a point where she can cut back on her other job of cleaning houses to focus more on just the soapmaking. She is pleased to be earning while doing something she enjoys. “It’s a great creative outlet for me,” she says, “and I am creating something everyone needs.”
Soaps or lotions from The Soap Hag would make a great gift for a party hostess, anyone on your Christmas list, or even yourself. The products can be purchased at the retail shops described above, or online at:
If you need more information, Lynn Schapp can be contacted by email at reached at:
or by phone at: 585-367-9992.
Diane Olson is the Editor & Publisher of The Lake Country Weekender,
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