It was her son’s skin condition that lead her to a new business venture. When Yvonne Oxley’s son was in his 20s he developed eczema and the commercial soaps in the marketplace only worsened his condition. The doctor prescribed a steroidal cream and this bothered Yvonne so she did some research to come up with a more natural way to treat her son. “I learned that regular soaps contain detergent preservatives and lathering agents. Michael needed a moisturizing soap.”
Yvonne ordered a few bars of natural soaps that helped Michael’s condition, but looking at the soaps she had an idea. “I wondered how hard it was to make soap so I started watching videos online and ordered books to teach myself the art of soap making. It took about six months of research and then I made my first bar of oatmeal soap for my family to try.”
Yvonne found that she loved the art of soap making and her family loved her soap. Her son’s skin improved and all without steroids and unnatural ingredients. She saw that other soap makers sold their bars at farmer’s markets and she thought she could do that too. She had found a passion. “I knew I needed to make soap that would set me apart so I created my soap to look like art.” Truth be told, her soaps are so pretty, they look like you can eat them. The higher end crafts fairs and art markets took one look at her photos and begged her to be a part of their venue.
Yvonne had been a seamstress and made pillows under the name Komfort Zone so she kept the name for her soaps, “The domain spelled with a C wasn’t available so I changed it to a K. The idea is that you are in your comfort zone, resting on a beautiful pillow, soaking in a tub, using natural soap that looks like art.” Wow, now I get it.
Her first farmer’s market was a success and Yvonne started making soaps with natural ingredients that have been know to treat all kinds of conditions, everything from eczema to acne to itchy and oily skin. She has a designated work area in her finished basement where the soaps are made and stored. Because nothing is consumed, she doesn’t need a special permit. Some of Yvonne’s soaps are named after family members and things that are conversation starters, “I want people to enjoy her products.”
She’s been in business for 8 years and is ready to scale. Yvonne has quite a following, at one market a young woman came up with tears in her eyes telling Yvonne how she has been an inspiration to her. Yvonne is quick to share her techniques and business ideas, “I won’t share my recipes though.” Looking at her videos of making the soap is mesmerizing. Yes, she posts videos related to soap making.
Yvonne has mastered the social media scene and with the help of her niece Chloe, she has over 12,000 Instagram followers. At the markets her booths are legendary, she creates a “Komfort Zone” that draws customers in. “I have carpets and curtains and signs and soaps.” Yvonne even has a client that has created a shrine with her soaps, they are so unique.
Yvonne does numerous vending events throughout CT and NY and her biggest wholesaler to date is in Barbados, “I sent a bar of soap to my dad who lives there and he took it to a local shop. They loved it and now order in bulk. They plan to expand to other islands too.” Yvonne has tapped in to the all-natural trend right now that sees no end in sight. She’s even added , beard oils, body butters, soy candles & sugar scrubs to her line.
Komfort Zone made contact with Burnell Cotlon in New Orleans who has opened the only grocery store in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans with his life savings. Yvonne sends her soaps to him at no charge. “I feel good being able to help these victims of Katrina who are still struggling”
Yvonne is a full time executive assistant and runs her soap empire on the weekends and makes soaps at night. But the passion is there, “It’s something I truly love as much today as I did the first day I made my first bar of soap.”
Do what you love.