American Made Show: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you arrived where you are today.
Steffanie Housman: Just over four years ago, in 2011, Old Town Suds was founded and it originally set off to be focused on green cleaning products. Our founder, Steffanie, began experimenting with ways she could cut back on chemicals in her condo after finding out she needed brain surgery for her Chiari Malformation. One of the best recommendations from those around her was to be more cautious with the items she was using in her environment. Until that point, Steffanie never really considered how products that were designed to “kill germs” could do more harm than good.
Since Steffanie already had an allergy to the “free & clear” laundry detergents, she started her product development there. Through trial & error she developed the laundry detergent that you can find now. It’s been a staple for Steffanie for years now. (She even jokes that it takes the stinky smell out of her husband’s socks!)
A year or so later, Steffanie went to her first farmers’ market in Alexandria, VA and set up her very first booth. At that point, Old Town Suds was only had one product. Come the next Spring, the line expanded into cleaning products. By that Fall, based on customer demand, Steffanie introduced her cold processed bar soaps. The rest, as they say, is history.
AMS: What does the creative process entail for you?
Steffanie Housman: Lots of taste testing! Beer & wine are the basis for many of our products. Beer acts like oatmeal; it’s very calming for the skin. Wine is antioxidants topically. The sugars from both increase the lather naturally.
AMS: Tell us about the technical processes you employ in your work.
Steffanie Housman: For our soaps, they are made through the cold process method. That means more vibrant colors for the consumer. Since the soap isn’t cooked, i.e. made without adding heat, they cure for 4-6 weeks to allow for the water to evaporate. After they are cured, they are hand packaged to head to our retailers.
AMS: How would you describe your artistic style?
Steffanie Housman: Modern brewery with a touch of elegant labels.
AMS: What type of customers tend to like your work?
Steffanie Housman: Our ideal retail consumer is late 20’s to early 50’s who understands that want to treat their skin with care. They understand that what they put on their body makes a difference.
AMS: What is your most popular product line?
Steffanie Housman: Our beer & wine soaps, closely followed by our facial soaps.
Meet Steffanie Housman at the 2016 American Made Show in Washington DC!
Company Name: Old Town Suds
Studio Location: Warrenton, VA
Booth #: 516
See more handmade bath & spa products by current exhibitors on the American Made Show Pinterest page.