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Our Story

Founder's Bio

Brooke Stant was breaking the rules long before she began making soap. While a convergence of factors - sensitive skin, a legacy of strong enabling women, and a homeschool kid's ingenuity - helped push her towards indie skincare, she is grateful for the opportunity to make her mark in this demanding, challenging, deeply fulfilling field.

"In December of 2000 I was between colleges and between jobs. I'd just turned down an academic scholarship to a charming state school (that felt like a step backwards after seven intensely liberating years of homeschooling). A single semester off turned into four, and I began to question the nature of my extended hiatus and my jobless, school-less existence. Had I done the unthinkable and become a college dropout? As it turns out, I had, but it would take me 3 more years to fully embrace the notion.

In the meantime, I toyed with the idea of freelance journalism, I distributed 3 small self-published booklets, immersed myself in web-publishing mediums, cultivated a range of duct-tape based handcrafts, and studied a lot of existentialism (because even dropouts need Philosophy 101). When I first stumbled upon "The Soapmaker's Companion" on the family bookshelf, the idea of soapmaking was just another science experiment.

I fell hard for soapmaking. Binders full of scribbled notes, every possible related title from the library, nonstop talking about soap, trips to the thrift store for sturdy equipment, and early batches made with paprika, every oil in the household pantry, and even a few melted Crayolas TM (never again). I'd spent my adolescence trawling health food stores for gentle skincare, desperate for an answer to eczema, razor burn, and the winter itch of dry, overwashed skin. I'd spent a few too many hours soaking in oatmeal baths, and the idea that I could craft my own cleansers - humectant, gentle, and luxurious - swept me off my feet.

The creative aspects were just as appealing. Soapmaking gives me the opportunity to craft an experience: tactile, visual, olfactory. There are endless combinations of plant materials to create silken textures, scrubby bars, slimy lather, and smooth soaps. Botanical colourants and clays lend vivid colours, and fragrance? I would be hard-pressed to describe myself as a perfumer, but crafting evocative scents to make the end user smile or grin or brighten with inspiration is the best part of my work. The products I'd found in my teen years had been effective enough, but unsatisfying. The scent profiles were very limited, and very similar from brand to brand. When I began drafting formulas, contributing to an oversaturated market was the last thing on my mind.

The business part came later. First, I needed to pay for the hobby. And then I realised there was a niche for the eclectic products I wanted to make. By August 14, 2003 I'd launched Villainess at the domain I'd been using for web-development. By April 2004 I'd taken a job cleaning hotel rooms in order to bootstrap more capital into the endeavour. I've been making soap for twelve years now, and selling it for nearly ten. Along the way, I have been blessed with endless support from my mom (whose patience started by allowing me to monopolise her kitchen, laundry room, and basement, and extended all the way to soap-wrapping and heart-felt customer service), sincere enthusiasm from a fanbase that shares my love for soap and unconventional fragrances, and ongoing collaborations with inspired, creative minds. "

Love, Brooke