It may be nasty, wet and cold outside, but in Mary D'eAngelis's Concord kitchen, it's springtime in Kyoto.
At least that's the name of her newest soap line, which fills the kitchen with the aroma of flowery lusciousness and scents like mondo grass, cherry and lotus blossom, mandarin black tea, and white tea and ginger. D'eAngelis is founder and owner of the Earthway Soap Co., which she runs out of her colonial-era farmhouse on Hutchins Street that's complete with sheep, chickens and miniature ponies out back.
Four years ago, D'eAngelis said she felt drawn to make soap - an activity she remembers helping her grandmother do as a children on their Salisbury farm in the '70s. The soap her grandmother made was piled high on trays in the barn and used for just about everything, she said, from washing clothes, to floors, to hair.
"For me, making soap is like getting back close to the earth," she said. "It's a lost art. It's an old-world tradition that I wanted to be a part of."
What started as a simple hobby has turned into flourishing, full-time business. D'eAngelis now has a customer base that stretches across the U.S., and even has clients as far away as France and Canada. Much of D'eAngelis's goods are sold on Etsy, the online site that focuses on handmade goods and arts and craft supplies, though local specialties shops, like KAZA and the Concord Cooperative Market, also sell the products.
D'eAngelis's scents aren't limited to Japanese seasons, either. She has other lines, including Summer in France and Paris Market, which features our personal favorite soap, creme brulee (it literally smells like burnt cream and caramel. Yum!).
She makes more than soaps, too. A walk into her soap storage room, with an enormous clawed bathtub right in the middle, reveals oils, scrubs, body butters, candles, perfumes, laundry detergent, mineral soaks and more. All the products are made using natural ingredients, all of which she said that she tries to order from American companies. This summer, she hopes to introduce a men's line of colognes and aftershave.
While making the products has kept her on a full-time schedule since the holidays, D'eAngelis said most difficult part of the process is making and putting on the labels.
"I'm a creator," she said. "If I'm not creating, I'm not happy."