Portrait of Cat On The Moon Soap Co.'s Callye, with cat, Charlie.
Wilmington, Delaware local Callye Morrissey officially launched her social media for a vegan, all-natural ingredient (no palm-oil), specialized soap company, Cat On The Moon Soap Co., this past year, but her journey in soap making and skilled soap recipe creation really began closer to 2017. When Callye launched her Instagram and started talking about selling her soap on her newly created Etsy page, I jumped at the chance to try them out!
The fragrances that she's using for her soaps are very well-matched together, so not only do they smell delicious, but the soaps look rugged (little nooks and crannies for scrubbing and exfoliation) and cool (like you could buy them at a specialty shop, one which, of course, she now owns!). Of the three that I received, I went for simple scents: the Triple Butter (that Callye sent as an awesome bonus), Lemon Poppy Seed Soap, and a Lavender Silk Soap--all have been gentle on skin, smell great, and have been super soft and moisturizing to use in place of body wash!* Callye has also been using some surprising pairings in her soap, such as her Dogfish Head beer and hops-themed "Beer Soap," which "contains bits of hops that provide smooth exfoliation... lavender, rosemary, and for needle; essential oils give it a refreshing scent," and her latest: a 'black licorice' fragrant-themed bar with a 'Black Sea Salt' topping!
Callye and her partner Mike have long been a part of the vibrant local Wilmington and Newark, Delaware arts and music scene(s), and so we have run into them both often at music and arts-related events in either city and at some concerts and events outside of Delaware, as well (we had the chance to meet up with them at Bikini Kill in NYC this past year)! Her partner Mike also films and produces videos from their home and has most notably produced a few for Wilmington artist/band and musician Grace Vonderkuhn (shop for Grace's album and watch the video, here).
Photo by Callye Morrissey (Cat On The Moon Soap Co.)
When we asked Callye to do a collaboration soap with us a few weeks ago, she happily obliged and our Modern Soul Records x Cat On The Moon Soap Co. collab was born! The soap itself is a mixture of one of her best selling soaps ( which includes activated charcoal + clay) but has a designedly unique wider, and wild, black and white (vinyl-esque) swirl (Callye's idea).
ABOUT THIS AWESOME BAR: Vegan. No artificial colors or fragrances. Coconut oil, avocado oil, shea butter, castor oil, activated charcoal, white clay, essential oils (peppermint & lemongrass), water, sodium hydroxide
You can order this limited-edition handmade vegan and natural ingredient soap bar collab through us (click here to order), and listen to Callye's Spotify playlist, linked below:
Here's our conversation with Callye, from Cat On The Moon Soap Co.:
Carly: You started creating your own soaps in 2017, and in 2019 launched your social media for your brand and business. Were your intentions to create a soap business? Please share your origin story for your company with us.
Callye: I took a couple of soap-making classes and realized I could totally do it myself. My main motivations were that I would know exactly what the ingredients were, and I would never have to buy it from the store again! But you can’t just make a bar at a time, so I started giving it out as gifts to friends and family, and they kept asking me to make more, so it started out as just word of mouth for a while and grew from that.
Is it fun working with soap and are you a tactile person? I love that your soap's ingredients are vegan (all natural) and that they have texture to them (great for a scrubby soap)!
I would not call myself a tactile person, but I do enjoy working with natural ingredients to create different textures in my soap.
There seem to be endless possibilities with soap ingredients. Does your soap tend to dictate personal taste (cravings) or are you inspired by other things?
I’m mainly inspired by using natural ingredients to create different colors, textures, and fragrances. But I’m also inspired to create soap for people that ask for specific things. A friend told me her mom had bad eczema, and I had read about using pine tar soap to treat dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, so I gave it a shot. It’s one of my best selling soaps, I can barely keep it in stock!
What has been your favorite soap combination to create so far and why?
I was a vendor for the Feminist Flea Market and Craft Fair in December last year, and I decided to make a soap just for the event so that I could donate all the sales from that soap to WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape), the non-profit organization that the Feminist Flea Market was benefitting. WOAR is Philadelphia’s only rape crisis center, and they do amazing work. I created a soap called “Rebel Girl” and sold out of it that day. I was ecstatic to be able to donate that money to them.
Why is it important to you to create a vegan/all-natural soap for your customers?
Traditionally, a lot of soap was made out of animal fats (lard and tallow), and the thought of scrubbing animal fat on my body to get clean grosses me out. Using oils and butters that are beneficial for skin is a better alternative for me, and for many vegans and vegetarians. I also don’t use palm oil in my soap, due to the massive deforestation issues associated with it.
Let's play a game: three custom soaps for three bands--which soap combinations would you create for the following artists: Bikini Kill, The Breeders, Le Butcherettes. Go!
For Bikini Kill, I actually made a soap called “Rebel Girl” that used pink rose clay and had poppy seeds for texture. My inspiration was to be able to donate all the sales to WOAR, a non-profit in Philadelphia that deals with sexual violence.
For the Breeders, my favorite album is Pod, so I would see how I could use cardamom pods in the soap. I could grind it up to create some good texture. But it seems fitting to call it “Last Splash Soap.”
For Le Butcherettes, I would definitely do a red and white swirl color pattern, since the band plays in this color combo a lot. I would probably call it “Your Weakness Gives Me Life,” since that is one of my favorite songs of theirs. Soap can give you life, right? ☺
What is the process for creating your soaps like (how long does it take)?
It only takes about an hour to make a batch of soap and get it in a mold, but it takes approximately 4 weeks to cure, so it’s mainly a waiting game to get to use it. Basically, you mix oils and butters with sodium hydroxide (lye), and that process is called “saponification,” which produces soap. Then you mix in other ingredients and pour it into a mold.
Let's talk about the soap that you created for us here! Tell us about it and why you chose this combination for us!
Sure! Well, I chose a black and white color combo because it’s very vinyl-esque to me. The white in the soap is natural clay and the black is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a natural ingredient that acts as an absorbing agent on your skin and works really well to absorb excess oil. I really wish I would’ve known about this stuff when I was a teenager! I also used peppermint essential oil with just a small touch of lemongrass, so it’s got a super minty, clean smell.
What inspires you to create (and keep on creating) right now?
As someone who lives for live music, it’s been really hard in the time of COVID-19 without it, but bands have still been releasing music, so that’s one thing. I’ve also been reading a lot and volunteering with organizations that are near and dear to my heart.
What are you listening to (bands)?
See my Spotify playlist, these songs are literally in my current top rotation.
Who are some of your favorite creators (or artists) right now?
A few artists that I’ve bought from recently and highly recommended checking out:
Thanks so much to Callye for sharing and creating our awesome new soap!
*Soap fans! Please note: I have super sensitive skin, and a sensitive nose (I can smell EVERYTHING), am prone to occasional migraines so I am super choosy with scented things ....and these worked out well and were super moisturizing (read: awesome to use), but, in saying this: a scent that works for me may not work for someone else, so, please bear that in mind when ordering, ask lots of questions if you need to, and, of course, when in doubt: drop Callye a line via her store link in Etsy!
I love the vinyl looking idea custom soaps , and your creative fun ideas Callye . I enjoyed the interview! I will try your soaps.