With Obeck Naturals, Lonni Schmeckenbecher uses “real ingredients to make real soap for real people.”
“I’ve always been interested in more natural-based products,” Schmeckenbecher said. “I have been researching how to do soap for a couple years, actually. But then I finally just jumped in and did it. I got over my fear, and it was addicting right away.”
With her homemade soaps, she knew she wanted to incorporate natural fragrances and eliminate unnecessary ingredients often found in soaps.
In mid-October, Schmeckenbecher launched Obeck Naturals with four soap varieties: Anthracite, Weekend Warrior, Afternoon Siesta and Hippie Mint.
“Obeck” combines the first letters of each of her five children’s names, who have been “guinea pigs” for her products.
“All of the soaps that I do make are scented with essential oils. The colorants are natural, things like rose clay, kale and clay, spinach powder,” she explained. “Also, the oil choices that I have made are palm oil free and coconut oil free.”
Schmeckenbecher has a friend who is allergic to coconut oil, and through research, she found that not many companies offer coconut oil free soap, though some offer palm oil free soap.
“After making some tester batches and going through that process, trying to see what works well, I had really great reviews,” she said. “People enjoyed it. They said it felt great on their skin, it wasn’t too much. So I rolled with it.”
To create her soaps, she begins by combining and melting her oils, which can include natural shea and cocoa butters, as well as rice bran oil. After this comes creating her lye solution.
“You mix them together and then you actually have to emulsify them until they come together,” she said. “Then you pour it into the mold. It’s just a beautiful process.”
At the molding stage, she manipulates designs like swirls and stripes into the soap.
“This whole artistic side of it just comes together between the science and the beauty of it,” she said.
After letting the mixture cure in the mold, it hardens up.
Her research into starting Obeck Naturals showed that not a lot of natural soap companies gear their products towards men. While she aims for her target market to be male-based, anyone can purchase her soaps.
Her Anthracite soap is an activated charcoal bar completely black in color, which also pays homage to the area’s coal mining past.
“They all have a lot of humor in them also, like Weekend Warrior, which smells like lemongrass, is supposed to rev you up for the weekend to take on all of the challenges,” she said. “Everybody is trying to get everything done for the weekend.”
Afternoon Siesta combines lavender with a hint of cedarwood, while Hippie Mints mixes patchouli and spearmint. For the holiday season, she plans to launch a soap featuring fir and peppermint to smell like a Christmas tree.
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to name it Griswold Family Tree,” she said.
Customers will likely see Obeck Naturals at upcoming craft shows, where Schmeckenbecher offers sample packs of all four scents called Commitment Issues.
“I hope No. 1 that they enjoy it and that they appreciate the thought that’s put into it as far as keeping it with my slogan: real ingredients used to make real soap for real people,” she said.
Obeck Naturals soaps are available online and at Monzie’s Floral Design in Tunkhannock. For
more information, visit obecknaturals.com.