It’s a soap lovers paradise in Falls

Paradise Acres Soap Works open doors at Pine Street location
by Jeff Pederson
Sheboygan Falls News Editor


PARADISE ACRES SOAP WORKS recently opened at 108 Pine Street in Sheboygan Falls. Store owner Lori Knutson (left photo, right) offers handmade soaps, lotions and shampoos made from goat’s milk. In addition, the store features pottery made by Mary Steinhardt (left photo, left). - Falls News photos by Jeff Pederson PARADISE ACRES SOAP WORKS recently opened at 108 Pine Street in Sheboygan Falls. Store owner Lori Knutson (left photo, right) offers handmade soaps, lotions and shampoos made from goat’s milk. In addition, the store features pottery made by Mary Steinhardt (left photo, left). - Falls News photos by Jeff Pederson If you think all soap is created equal, Paradise Acres Soap Works would like to show you a thing or two.

Lori Knutson opened the new specialty store on Nov. 28, at 108 Pine St. in downtown Sheboygan Falls.

The Milwaukee native lives on a hobby farm in the town of Holland, which offers her access to the key ingredient in her featured handmade soaps - goat’s milk.

“Getting into making soap grew out of having goats at our hobby farm,” Knutson said. “Goat’s milk is not something you would necessarily want to drink, because it is really rich. But that makes it really great to use in making soap.”

Knutson says goat’s milk soap bares little resemblance to the mass-produced soaps found on most store shelves.

“The soap in the stores is oil and liquid based,” Knutson said. “During the manufacturing process, they take out all of the good things. When I make my soap, I definitely make sure to keep all of the good things in.

“Goat’s milk soap is very moisturizing, due to its fat content,” she said. “Goat’s milk is full of vitamins, which keeps the skin nourished and leaving a shine. It produces a lot of suds and it is very creamy. It is especially nice in the winter time, because it doesn’t leave you itching.”

Knutson says the popularity of goat’s milk soap has been on the rise in recent years.

“I think in general people have become more attracted to handmade products,” he said. “Nearly everything you find in the stores has been chemically altered in some way. People these days are looking for things that are more natural and pure.

“I use only pure and natural milk, whereas some people that make handmade soap use powered milk,” she said.

Knutson began making her own soap 15 years ago for family and personal use.

It wasn’t until two years ago that she decided to try her hand at selling her soaps.

“I decided to try to sell the soaps two years ago at a farmers market and craft fair in Elkhart Lake and I was pleasantly surprised with the response I received,” Knutson said. “As the farmer’s market and craft sale excursions started to become more successful, I began to think about possibly having my own store to sell the soaps.”

Knutson says the space the store currently occupies provides a perfect fit.

“Last October I was made aware that this space was available for rent and when I came to check it out I immediately fell in love with it and the entire city,” Knutson said. “I had never been to Sheboygan Falls before and I was very pleasantly surprised on my first visit and I’ve come to love it even more as I’ve become more involved in the community.”

After opening the day after Thanksgiving at the height of the holiday shopping season, Knutson hit the ground running.

“Chamber-Main Street has been great to work with and they really encouraged me to open during the holiday season,” Knutson said. “That turned out to be a very good idea. We were able to participate in the Main Street Memories event in early December and the turnout was really strong.

“Business continued to be very strong through December and now we’ve settled down a bit moving into January and the new year,” she said.

In addition to handmade soap, Paradise Soap Works also offers handmade jewelry, pottery, watercolor artwork, scarves and hats.

“Originally, I was just going to do the soaps, shampoo and lotions, but it has evolved into a consignment shop where local artisans bring in handmade items to sell,” Knutson said. “We have a nice variety of jewelry, pottery, artworks, knitted items and soy candles. If it’s handmade, you can probably find it here.

“The nice thing is that I haven’t had to go searching for people to bring items in, they have come to me,” she said. “The word of mouth has spread nicely to artisans and to customers.”

Knutson says since she doesn’t have the equipment or space to make the soap in store, she makes all of her soap, lotion and shampoo at home.

“I make the soap in between my work on the hobby farm,” Knutson said. “The process is really not that time consuming. It involves heating and cooling the oils and the milk to a specific temperature and then combining them into a pudding state to put into the molds. The longest part of it is the curing time, which is three weeks.

“I use different oils for different fragrances and I have dog shampoo available too,” she said.

To fill the slower times in the store, Knutson plans to bring in her sewing machine to produce additional handcrafted items to be featured in the store.

In addition to Knutson’s own handmade items, Paradise Acres also showcases pottery items from Mary Steinhardt of Kewaskum, jewelry from Rosie Curtis of Cascade and knitted and crocheted scarves, hats and watercolor artwork from Marilyn Stone of Adell.

Paradise Acres Soap Works is open from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

“I have only been here a very short time, but I already feel at home,” Knutson said. “The people have been very friendly and the Chamber has been a wonderful help in promoting my business.

“I think this is perfect fit,” she said. “It is great location, it’s quaint and it has an old-fashioned feel that I really appreciate. I am looking to be here for a long time.”

To contact Paradise Acres Soap Works, call 414-640-6387 or visit paradiseacresljk@msn.com


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