Like many makers, Kim Perik’s South Street Soapworks started as a side hustle. For 22 years Perik worked in marketing and graphic design for a local furniture company, but in 2011, the company went out of business. For a few years after that, Perik freelanced for clients. On a fateful April day in 2014, a friend invited her over to try soapmaking.
“I walked away [from that] and said, ‘well this is interesting.’ With my marketing background I started thinking it would be neat to design my own logo and start a company and be creative. And the whole [soapmaking] thing is just using simple, natural ingredients—you can use three ingredients and make amazing soap.”
Perik started making soaps by request for friends and customers and selling at the Oconomwoc Farmers’ Market. Just a few short months later in August of 2014, she pursued South Street Soapworks full-time. The business’s name comes from where Perik lives and works—on South Street—in Oconomowoc.
Perik’s product line is quite extensive and includes soaps, lip balms, shampoo, lotion and shaving bars, bath bombs and deodorant. Her “natural, time-honored” ingredients include culinary-grade coconut, olive and castor oils, fragrance oils, tallow and even charcoal. She also grows some of the herbs she uses in her products, like rosemary and lemon verbena.
“It was a natural evolution to round out my product line for people who were asking me for things with natural, simple ingredients. And I believe in being as natural as possible,” says Perik.
South Street Soapworks can be found at several shops in Wisconsin, including a few in Lake Country, such as Fray Boutique and The Good Stuff in Oconomowoc, and Roost Mercantile in Pewaukee. Also find her at the Oconomowoc Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon (through October 26).
“I love being at the farmers’ market and hearing stories from different people about how much they love the soaps and lip balms and the impact it’s having on their skin and their life,” says Perik.
Next up for the company is crafting private-label soaps, lotions and lip balms for 3 Sweets Bakery in Campbellsport. Scents will include blueberry muffin and lemon pound cake and will be available starting in August. The items will also be sold with 3 Sweets Bakery items at Annie’s Fountain Cafe in Fond du Lac as well.
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