Local mompreneur makes Moonshine in Milwaukee kitchen
Last year, Rebecca Carriere's friend made her a soap basket as a gift and she was amazed at their professional quality and beauty. Her friend offered to teach her how to make the simple soaps and before long, Carriere was researching soap-making on the Internet and ready to try a more challenging process.
"As I started to read blogs and watch videos about soap making, I decided to give 'cold process' – soap making from scratch with lye – a shot," says Carriere, who lives in Whitefish Bay, also works in real estate and is the mother of a 10-year-old daughter.
She stumbled upon other recipes and instructions to make related items, like lip balms and bath bombs, and before long her Whitefish Bay kitchen was transformed into a small laboratory.
"After using my friends and family as guinea pigs while I developed my products, I finally decided to start selling as my products and labeling improved," says Carriere.
Hence, Moonshine Bath and Body was officially launched. Moonshine offers soaps, lip balms, bath bombs, shaving soaps, deodorants and body and face scrubs. Currently, Carriere is working on making solid perfumes, too.
She uses primarily organic ingredients that customers can custom order by choosing their favorite scents and colors. Moonshine products are intended for everyday use, as well as for gifts, baby showers and corporate events.
Carriere says she is most proud of her lip balms – some of which are Milwaukee-themed like The Northshore and the vegan bacon called 53211 – and the bath bombs which are challenging to make.
"The bath bombs are just so hard to get the hang of making. When I finally make a nice smelling, huge, fizzy bath bomb it feels like an accomplishment," she says.
Carriere infuses humor in her products, with lip balm names like Lassi Come Home (a mango lassi scented lip balm) and a deodorant called Get the Funk Out. Prices are very affordable, ranging from $3 to $8.
"What's awesome about them is that they usually have three or four ingredients that most people can find in their kitchens," she says. "Because I make products on a smaller scale, I am more able to do custom orders – customers can pick colors and scents for soaps, bath bombs and lip balms – and have them ready within a matter of days."
Carriere prefers to sell locally, but recently launched a website and is considering an Etsy store, too. Her lip balms and shaving soaps are available at The Waxwing, 4415 N. Oakland Ave. Her products are also available via Facebook.
"I prefer working locally and having those face to face relationships with my customers. I hope to start selling my products at other stores in the area. I'm a long way to making this my full time job, but that would be the ultimate goal," she says.
"For now, I'm most proud of the fact that we offer local delivery. I hope people look forward to seeing a car pull up on Sunday mornings with a bag full of bath products."
Finding the time to make the products has been the most difficult part of the venture. Having a somewhat flexible schedule which includes some weekdays off, Carriere has been able to carve out time.
"On my days off you can usually find me in my kitchen – AKA Moonshine Labs – or I stay up late and fill orders after my daughter is in bed," says Carriere.
"I just love being alone in my kitchen and having the quiet time. I think a lot of working moms can relate to being so busy that alone time takes a back seat. This gives me an excuse to experiment in my kitchen on my own with no distractions. Making money at it has just been a bonus, really."
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