They say necessity is the mother of invention. A frustrated parent and partner, Barbara Mansfield couldn’t find skincare products that were both pleasant to use and gentle enough for her family’s sensitive skin. “I’ve nurtured a wide range of skin issues, from my daughter’s allergies and eczema to my son’s skin, damaged by cancer treatments,” she says. “I couldn’t find a soap that both smelled great and was gentle enough for my family—so I made it.”
Mansfield founded Phoenicia Soap Co. to provide everyone with gentle soaps, not just her family. Her soap is created with essential oils made from locally foraged and sustainably farmed botanicals from several area growers, including Windfall Farms in Sullivan County and Newton Farm Collective in Greene County. Phoenicia Soap Co. offers other wildcrafted skincare products like facial toner, muscle and anti-aging serums, hair oil, beard balm, moisturizer, deodorant, and even a botanical anti-tick spray, all with low-waste, minimal packaging.
Up until now, Phoenicia Soap Co.’s plant-based products could only be found at farmer’s markets or select storefronts. But starting May 7, those looking for sustainable and clean beauty products can visit her new brick and mortar shop on Route 28 across from Emerson Resort.
Besides Mansfied’s small-batch body products, the store will also carry laundry, kitchen, pet, and baby goods. There will also be local wares from Overlook Mt. Herbs and CBD products from Head & Heal. Other sustainable homegoods for sale will be provided by Chamarrel, Three Bluebirds, and Me Mother Earth. These brands offer essentials like soap holders, sponges, colorful dish cloths, and bamboo toothbrushes.
Working with local interior designer Jennifer Salvemini, who also runs the Hinterland showroom and artisan cooperative, Mansfield was able to design a space that embodies the fresh-from-nature, aromatherapeutic qualities of her own products. The space’s focal poitn is a living wall of aromatics that offer a pop of green as well as a fresh source of herbs for customers to personalize the scents and properties of their skincare products. Alongside the raw materials, Mansfield will also be selling beautiful copper alembic stills for distilling essential oils.
If you are interested in embarking on your own DIY body care journey, Mansfield will be teaching several upcoming classes on aromatherapy and distillation at Emerson Resort across the way, and at Ulster BOCES.
But you don’t have to leave the Phoenicia Soap Co. store to learn something. The shop will double as a makers space, where groups can book classes. Teachers besides Mansfield will include Jennifer Juniper of Juniper Grove’s herbal skincare, and Meg H. Brenner of Humble Heart Candles. More info on the content of classes will be available at the launch on May 7, from 11-5. “I’ve learned so much from teaching soapmaking and plant distillation,” Mansfield says, “so creating a space where I can showcase and learn from candle makers, perfumers, and other soap handcrafters is a dream.”
Phoenicia Soap Co.’s retail shop and makers’ space will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, May 7.
Phoenicia Soap Co.
5371 Route 28, Mt. Tremper