Soap Bucket Skincare & Candles opens in Oxford
● By Steven Hoffman
For more than two years, Rudy and Nicki Allen manufactured and marketed their own all-natural candles and skincare products in their home workshop in Cochranville, selling them primarily on their website, www.soapbucketskincare.com. Anyone who tried the Allens’ clean, fragrant candles found them to be a good alternative to other candles on the market. The products of Soap Bucket Skincare & Candles grew in popularity as one satisfied customer after another told friends and family about their find. The Allens were soon shipping their products around the country.
“We’ve had outreach as far as Honolulu,” Rudy Allen said during an interview in late October.
The success of the online business encouraged the Allens to open a storefront on Locust Street in Oxford. The official grand opening took place on Sept. 22.
“We needed somewhere to call home,” said Allen of the decision to open a shop. Because the husband and wife team have years of experience pouring candles and selling their products online, they opened the store with a wide range of products on hand. The store has more than 280 candles in eight different sizes. Is pumpkin or gingerbread your favorite scent? No need to wait all year long for a scent to become available.
“We carry them all year long,” Allen explained. “All our items are thoroughly tested and handmade by one of us. We specialize in all-natural products that are made with the highest-quality ingredients that are good for your body, your home, and the environment.”
Allen explained that many candles are made with petroleum-based waxes and some use metal or lead wicks. Soot from paraffin candles can be difficult to clean from walls, clothing, and furniture, while spills from paraffin candles often require a solvent for cleanup. The Allens’ candles, by contrast, are made with a natural soybean base and do not have additives. They are also manufactured using fragrances that are scented above the industry standard. The candles burn clean, burn longer, and are environmentally friendly.
Peggy Russell, a resident of Oxford, said that she loves the all-natural products that she first discovered about a year and a half ago, when the Allens set up a vendor table at a First Friday event in Oxford.
“I've been burning a candle a day for the last 20 years and these are the cleanest, most efficient candles I've ever had,” she explained. “I really like that the candles are all-natural.”
Russell said that she used to drive more than 90 miles to purchase her favorite candles so that she could give them out as gifts, but this year she has been able to take care of quite a few items on her Christmas list while shopping close to home. In addition to the candles, she also bought a lot of the anti-bacterial hand soaps to give out as gifts.
According to Nicki Allen, they are very careful about the ingredients that they use, and they would never sell anything that they wouldn’t purchase and use on their own children.
“I think people are becoming more aware of the benefits of soy wax,” she said, explaining that paraffin candles release potentially dangerous carcinogens when they burn.
If a person has a favorite scent, or combination of scents, the Allens can make a customized candle to their liking. They can also pour wax in virtually any container that won’t leak.
In addition to the handmade candles, the Allens make their own liquid soaps, body butter, bubble baths, organic hand and body lotion, and sugar scrubs. They make a wide variety of pleasing scents for each product. The sugar scrubs, for instance, come in lavender, sugar, raspberry lemon, warm vanilla, and more.
Because all the items are handmade with care, each one has a unique color and fragrance. Allen said that they have more than 1,000 different variations of their candles and skincare products available online. They are already planning to open the upstairs of their store to expand offerings.
As the holidays approach, the couple is transforming the new store into a country primitive Christmas setting for a heartwarming hometown shopping experience. There will be plenty of Christmas scents, as well as hot chocolate and coffee available. The store has already become an active participant in events that are planned by Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. (OMI) to bring more shoppers to the business district.
Soap Bucket Skincare & Candles is also a family business in the truest since of the word. Stop in at the store and you’re likely to meet the Allens' three children or find Rudy’s dad helping out.
They also want customers to feel right at home when they stop by to shop.
Allen said that the response since the store opened has been heartwarming, and he feels as if the store fits in well with the other businesses in Oxford.
“We really appreciate the support of OMI and the town,” Allen said. “I think we’re a different kind of offering and all the businesses fit well together.”
Soap Bucket Skincare & Candles is located at 209 Locust Street in Oxford. The telephone number is 844-728-2538. The store hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store can also be found on Facebook and Pinterest.