BEACON, N.Y. -- What started as a remedy for treating a son's skin allergy back in 1982 has turned into a Beacon-based family business with all members of the clan involved.
At SallyeAnder Soaps Inc. which moved to Beacon from Minetto, N.Y. last October, all four "kids" -- now adults -- work as a team. Beacon resident Samuel Austin the youngest of four siblings, is the soap maker, while Aaron Austin (the one with the sensitive skin oh so long ago) lives in San Francisco but still contributes with various design projects.
Carolyn Austin lives in Denver but also is involved with product research, while part of the business falls on the shoulders of Peekskill resident Sallie Austin Gonzales.
Gonzales said her parents -- her dad started the business, perfecting it over time-- are both actively involved and also live in Beacon.
The company -- which sells nationwide to more than 1,500 stores -- works locally with Common Ground farm for several of its ingredients and tries hard to use items that are locally grown in New York.
"We are dedicated to keeping our process handmade," said Gonzales. "Everything we make is done with as little machine use as possible."
She said the company uses the highest quality hypoallergenic ingredients and relies soley on essential oils, keeping soaps organic and pure.
Among the most popular items: Hogwash soap, made with organic cornmeal and leftover soap pieces, which sells over 150,000 bars a year.
Milk and Mint, created with organic Hudson Valley milk and spearmint essential oils, is a top seller, too, as is No Bite Me, a natural bug repellent that is safe for infants.
Coming up for the holidays: Candy Cane peppermint soap, Sugar Plum soap, and Frankincense, a foot and hand cream that is guaranteed to heal cracked hands and feet.
She said it's great working with family and coming up with creative ideas together. In fact, she said her father was ahead of the curve back in 1991.
That's when Gary Austin, her father, created a coffee and chocolate soap that, back then, people thought was weird. Now, however, is a different story. Turns out coffee is a natural odor remover and this product has increasingly become much more popular due to the effectiveness of the ingredients.
It's also, said Gonzales, a perfect soap for the kitchen.
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