How Waterfall Glen Soap began
Partnering with local businesses
In May of 2021, we were invited to introduce our Company to the Illinois Manufacturers Association of Southern Illinois. There we met with Tom Welge, President of St. Nicholas Brewery in DuQuoin, IL. Tom was very interested in our soap products and presented us with an unusual request: Can we make soap from their beer? “OF COURSE,” we said. And then set out to learn the ropes of beer soap production. Needless to say, it was a fun journey.
Beer soap has been around for centuries.
Beer soap has been around for centuries – almost as long as beer and soap. Beer adds some pretty cool attributes to soap and creates a very unusual and rich skin-conditioning lather. Beer soap is great for sensitive skin due to the moisturizing quality of antioxidants and vitamins. Amino acids from the hops in the beer can help soothe irritation and help maintain the pH balance of the skin, while polyphenols can help with redness.
As any beer lover knows, beer is brewed from grain and hops. Hops are flowering plant that provides beer its characteristic bitterness and aroma. What beer lovers may not know is that hops were used for medicinal purposes long before they were ever used to make beer.
The Hops Beer Bar Soap
Hops contain bitter acids, known as alpha-acids, beta-acids, and iso-alpha-acids which have been shown in studies to reduce inflammation. That’s why hops have long been used as a remedy for ear infections. Thanks to these anti-inflammatory properties of hops, beer soap may help soothe inflamed, itchy skin.
The bitter compounds in hops are not just good for inflammation. They are also naturally good at stopping bacterial growth. Yeast in beer has also been found to produce antimicrobial substances that could stop the growth of harmful bacteria. Limiting bacterial growth on the skin can reduce acne and breakouts.
So, we created a hoppy bonanza beer soap with the IPA Peloton beer from St. Nicholas Brewery. Tom added their logo (Krampus pedaling a bicycle with little kid arms sticking out from a basket on the back of Krampus). They also created the soap name: Krampus Wash with the tag line: Guaranteed to turn you from Naughty to Nice. We just had to sell it. And that we did!
We promoted it on every social media platform available. For Youtube, we created a short video illustrating our partnership with St. Nicholas Brewery: https://youtu.be/RLwXMndzkJs. We added the bar soap to our farmers market lineup and included it on our Amazon and Etsy stores and website. The resulting sales were incredible, and Krampus Wash is quickly becoming our #2 best seller.
The lather is so rich and unique that we created Krampus In a Can Shaving Kit with a 3.3oz. round bar soap and shaving brush.
“On a recent 2-hour drive beer run for production, I had a rather interesting experience. I brought with me an empty 5-gallon plastic bucket with a snap on lid. St. Nick’s filled the bucket and secured the lid. I placed the bucket on the front passenger seat, buckled up its seat belt and started my return trip. It was late in the evening on my way back and the car was dark.
After about 20 minutes of driving, I heard several loud POP! SNAP! sounds from my beer bucket passenger. When I turned on the cabin lights, the plastic bucket had morphed into an egg-shaped beer bomb ready to blow at any minute. The thought of pulling over and releasing some of the CO2 crossed my mind many times on the way back. I also wondered how the local police would handle this if I had a beer explosion in my car.
Needless to say, I made it back with not a drop spilled or blasted all over my car. My adventures continue as a soap maker.”— Doug, the Soap Guy
My background is nothing unique. I come from a middle-class family in a middle class town called Belleville in Southern Illinois. I have 5 brothers. We all learned quickly, the value of hard work and how to manage money.
Dad encouraged us to go to college but because there were so many of us we had to finance it ourselves. I worked multiple jobs, as a fry cook, department store clerk and cutting grass. In 1985, after 6 years, I graduated with three degrees from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Fine Arts Painting, Graphic Design and Cinematography). I went straight to Chicago as a graphic artist and struggled in and out of jobs to find my niche.
In 1988, quite by a twist of fate, I bumped into a gentleman who wanted some artwork hand painted in his home. Having done this since I was 15 as a hobby, I took his offer and in one week earned more money than I did as a graphic artist in a month. I moonlighted as a decorative artist for 2 more years until 1990, when I took a big step to go full time. That was a very tough couple of years. But I survived and gained notoriety as a highly qualified muralist and trompe-l’oeil artist. I continued this career for the next 35 years.
In 2004, I competed for the first time in the International Trompe-L’oeil Festival in Italy. I returned and competed the following year. On that trip, I spent two weeks wandering around Northern Italy absorbing local art, culture, food and experiences. I returned home to Chicago and applied as much as I could to my Art Business (Coggeshall Artistry). Many of my private works of art can still be found in a basic Google search.
With the economic collapse in 2008, my art business all but evaporated. Because I was no stranger to hard work, nothing was beneath me. I worked for an Amish Co-Op as a driver, bootlegging raw dairy across State lines in the early morning hours. I also taught basic art in a wine/art party company while taking on ANY mural or art project that came my way. Through this, I was able to maintain my mortgage and buy food. These were lean years from 2008 – 2014.
In the spring of 2013, on a creative binge, in the comfort of my home, I began making soap. I was tired of the skin drying, itchy varieties offered in the local stores. I started by purchasing other people’s hand made soaps and simply thought I could do a better job. So, I bought a book on basic soap making and began.
My first soaps were pretty bad but I was determined. I read and read and kept trying and experimenting while still driving the midnight milk run and teaching art.
By May of 2013, I finally had a nice bar soap formula and earned a spot in a local farmers market. My hard work had only just begun.
Even though I was classically trained as an artist, I re-emerged as a small batch, vegan soap company after the economy collapsed in 2008. Despite the two-careers, producing different products, running a small business is pretty much the same. Selling art is the same as hawking soap in a farmers’ market. If you have an honest and healthy product, the passion of your truth will sell it for you.
Did I learn some hard lessons? Yes.
There is no free lunch and if life gives you hardships – bounce back.
If you struggle and fail, learn the lessons. Get up and keep going.
Anyone can brag when their bills are paid and their future is bright. It’s the struggles and failures that offer the best lessons. Keep Growing!
If you have a dream, you must understand that NO ONE is going to work as hard as you to make it happen.
Life is short and you get one chance at it.
Yes, you can. Yes you will. But you have to WANT IT!