Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Some work out of their garage or basement instead of a storefront. Some do it part-time and some do it full-time as their only job. You might be able to find some in online shops, while some can also be found in local boutiques. There’s satisfaction of civic pride that comes with buying local and supporting the work of Fargo-Moorhead’s artisans, creators, makers and handmade masters of all sorts. From pillows and beer to furniture and soap, we’re here to help you discover this city’s handmade talent.
Read related articles about Fargo-Moorhead makers at fargomonthly.com/tag/made-in-fargo.
For Brittany Sinclair, the soap adventure began when she was reading the ingredients on a bottle of soap in the shower and thought to herself, “This stuff is garbage.”
Sinclair started her bath and beauty business, The Honey B Soap Company, in 2012. She was a science teacher at Fargo South High at the time, pregnant with her third child and making her own artisan soaps on the side as a safer alternative for herself and her family.
Her knowledge of chemistry basics, the public’s growing interest in her products and the daunting cost of daycare for three is the mixture that eventually led Sinclair to quit teaching and stay home to pursue her handmade business full-time.
“After that moment in the shower was when I had the idea to start making my own soap. Then women started expressing interest in natural soap and wanted to buy it from me. The business just accidentally happened because I started to realize there’s this huge demand to fill for all-natural stuff,” said Sinclair.
“I’ve seen an increase in the last year of people buying local and handmade, as people become more aware of my business but also more aware of how important it is to support local. It’s not like I’m this huge corporation. When you buy a bar of soap from me, you’re helping me get my kids shoes and piano lessons and stuff.”
Outside of selling to her friends, Sinclair first sold her products at RiverArts in Moorhead, and that’s when she realized making her bubbling craft a full-time gig was possible. She then came in contact with Eco Chic Boutique to have her soaps sold at the local boutique, which was her first experience doing wholesale. Now she’s making her products in larger quantities, and you can find them at events, farmers markets, through Pride of Dakota and at local stores such as The Red Silo, Tochi Products, Unglued, Eco Chic Boutique and all four Herberger’s locations in North Dakota.
“Being a business owner is hard. You have to take criticism and you have to take it well. I try to take the emotion out of it and I’m good at that because it’s science, so I’m really analytical about those things. But I can get emotionally drained sometimes,” said Sinclair. “Parts of this industry are tricky, especially when you produce in such a large quantity. You’re bound to have failures. That’s where tenacity comes in because you just have to power through and figure out what you’re going to do next.”
What started with decadent bars of soap has sprouted into an entire bath and beauty line of creations and changes due to feedback and trends. Soaps, body butters, oils, bath salts, bath bombs, clay masks, lip balms, scrubs–Sinclair makes everything you need in this department, really.
Everything is all-natural with no synthetics or added dyes, and she also uses biodegradable packaging. And, she does it all by hand out of her basement.
“Even the bath bombs are ridiculously natural. My bath bombs don’t color the water, which disappoints people sometimes, but you don’t want to be soaking in that, realistically. I mean, I thought that if my kids are going to be soaking in it, I wouldn’t want that. I don’t do glitter. I don’t do gimmicks, and I try to source locally when I can,” said Sinclair.
As far as the future goes for Sinclair, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. She’s constantly thinking about new products to try, such as creams for maturing skin and even bath bombs for toilets, and the idea of owning a shop of her own always lingers in her mind. But for now, her business will continue to be bright and bubbly.
- Soap bars
- Bath and body oils
- Salt and sugar scrubs
- Clay masks
- Lip balms
- Body butter
- Bath salts
- Bath bombs
- Lotion bars
- Shampoo bars