Editor’s Note: This one of an ongoing series of articles about members of the Arts Guild of the Barrens.
Linda Harlow started making fragrant soaps as a mother, daughter-type project about 12 years ago.
“When my girls and I first started doing it, we just piddled with it a little bit ourselves,” said the Glasgow resident. “We just started making it to use ourselves.”
They then began giving it as gifts to friends and family members. Word began to spread and they were soon invited to participate in an arts and crafts show. Their soap-making endeavor quickly turned into a business called B. Raye Soap Co.
“I’ve shipped it all over the United States,” Harlow said. “I’ve actually shipped it to England twice. I think that’s pretty special to ship it [to England].”
The soaps she makes are made of glycerine and they come in a variety of fragrances. Her most popular scent is Pure Seduction.
To make the soaps, she adds fragrance to a glycerine base, which she pours into a mold. It takes approximately eight hours for the glycerine to set up enough to where it can be cut into slices and wrapped tightly in plastic.
The slices of soap feature a variety of designs from zig zags to curls. They also come in a multitude of colors.
Harlow sells her soaps at a shop in Bardstown and one in Frankfort called Completely Kentucky.
Her soaps can also be found at Four Seasons Country Inn Bed and Breakfast in Glasgow.
Carole Smith, owner of the bed and breakfast, was already selling Harlow’s soaps when she decided to ask her to make guest soaps.
Smith was ordering guest soaps from a company in California and said the shipping was quite expensive.
“I just asked her if she could do those for us and she did,” Smith said. “All of the guests just love them.”
Harlow still participates in arts and crafts shows. She does about eight each year.
Her daughters have grown and moved out on their own, so now she enlists her husband Johnny’s help when making the soaps.
“He doesn’t make [the soaps] very much, but he helps me label them and he’ll go to the shows with me,” she said. “He does a really, really good job. He’s always telling people, ‘I know way too much about this stuff.’”
Harlow was a vendor at the Glasgow Business and Professional Women’s Club arts and crafts fair when a representative of the Arts Guild of the Barrens invited her to join the art guild.
“I was just very pleased when they asked me to join the art guild. I never really considered this art. I just made it for fun,” Harlow said.
Because she is a member of the art guild, her soaps are also found at the art guild’s gallery at 212 on the Main on West Main Street.
“It has worked out really well for me,” she said.
Betty Brogan, president of the art guild, said Harlow was invited to become a member of the art guild because the art guild was hoping her soaps would provide added value to what the art gallery was already offering.
“[Our] gallery would not be complete without her offering,” Brogan said.
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