By Lisa Capobianco
Between summer squash, tomatoes, peach pies and cupcakes, the local farmers market sells a wide assortment of fresh produce on the town green. But one local vendor sells a “skin-quenching” item: soap.
Anneliese Dadras, a long-time resident of Southington, is the founder of her own soap-making business called “Bradley Mountain Soaps.” Dadras started making soap last year after suffering from the skin condition, psoriasis, for nearly 20 years. She has experienced itchy, bleeding skin, and felt self-conscious in public.
“It can be a little debilitating or even embarrassing, and you’re always fighting an itch,” Dadras said.
Skin conditions are not new to Dadras’s family—her mother has dealt with them, and her 11-year-old son Kiyan has suffered from eczema since he was about five years old. This led Dadras to take a proactive approach to solve her family’s skin problems.
“We wanted to address our own skin conditions, and then what we realized is there’s just some people and children that have issues with their skin, and actually it feels really good to help people,” Dadras said.
The key ingredients that make this soap different from store-made soaps are olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil and goat milk. Dadras said goat milk helps fight an itch, and unlike soaps sold at the local drug store, her soaps do not contain any special additives or alcohol.
Although it took a few months for her skin to improve, Dadras is happy with the results, and she hopes to share her product at Southington’s Farmers Market, which runs through October.
“Over time, it’s a major improvement in my psoriasis, and also my itch. I’m not itching my scalp, not itching my elbows. It’s really changed my quality of life. I don’t always have to be thinking about my skin,” the local soap-maker said.
Between glistening lotion bars, body bars, and guest soap sets, Dandras sells her soaps in a variety of fragrances including apple jack peel, citrus lily and herbal garden. Other fragrances include almond butter, English rose, country kitchen, old-fashioned pine and honey oatmeal. She sells her products not only at farmers markets but also at Karabin Farms and A.S. Labienic, Inc. in Kensington. Dadras said her soaps would soon be sold at Brass City Market in Waterbury.
“We have a growing list of people that that like to buy their stuff locally, and that like hand-made items, so hopefully it will catch on more,” she said.
Dadras said she makes the soaps in the basement of her own home where she has lines of crock-pots stocked up together. The process takes three to four hours to make as Dadras combines lye with oils in a crock-pot. Then she adds essential oils, fragrance oils, or other natural ingredients geared toward certain problems like poison ivy. Dadras said the soap usually dries between two and three weeks.
“We can really control the ingredients which is awesome,” she said.
Handing out a variety of her soap samples to customers at the Farmers Market, Dadras has received positive feedback from the community. She said many customers returned to buy more of her soaps, which improved their own skin problems.
“It’s a different experience when you use a product that has different ingredients in there,” Dadras said.
Dadras plans to sell her product during the local Farmers Market this season in Southington. She said she hopes to continue educating the community about healthy skin through her product.
“I hope they understand that there are options, and that not all the options come from a store. Trust that when somebody makes something by hand, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not as good.”