HELLO & WELCOME, SOAP & CRAFT SEEKER!
...to Old World handmade artisan soaps and potions! I’m inspired by the endless possibilities of my craft mediums – working with them makes me feel deeply hands-on connected to the past, a feeling of timelessness. It's this and my passion to create beautiful, useful things that enhance daily living & personal care that inspires me everyday, makes me want to keep these crafts alive and offered to YOU!
It all started (officially) with soap. Ancient Alchemy® FIRST began as Simply Soap® in 1994, at the dawn of internet shopping! A simple idea, in a simple kitchen, by a simple gal frustrated with my own sensitive skin. I'm sure many of you are wondering why we'd change our company name after using it for 23 years. Quite simply, our never-ending battles with infringers of our legally trademarked name became insurmountable and by 2017 it became in our opinion, a better choice (for use of our time) to change our name. Hence, Ancient Alchemy!
With a background in nursing, art, & herbal gardening, being a throwback to vintage ways & methods, plus a do-it-yourselfer in most things.....I happened upon a book back in the early '90's (Soap: Making It, Enjoying It, by Ann Bramson) about soapmaking. Around the same time, I stumbled across a very old hand-written recipe-notebook of antiquarian recipes from the Victorian era on one of my journeys to a favorite used book store. Parting with a hefty sum for it, the notebook was totally worth it...a firsthand glimpse into ways-past on skincare preparations penned by an avid gardener! Sometimes you wonder if things are put in your path for a reason.....
I read both books cover-to-cover, became infatuated with resurrecting this ancient craft hoping it might be *a fix* for my own sensitive skin issues. I realized in the process, how modern day soaps are really detergents! My newfound knowledge inspired me to step BACK in time, revive simpler methods, strip away confusing modern day mumbo-jumbo chemical ingredients, and instead use nature's bounty, some of it from my own garden. What did I have to lose? I'd already tried EVERYTHING else.
The result? I found what I'd been missing all all my life, the most wonderful-feeling soap & skin ever! Voila! My skin issues solved! In that *ta-DA!* moment, I realized it was the gunk in modern detergent bars that caused my own skin issues, ...NOT my skin or faulty DNA, as I'd presumed all along! It was stuff like parabens, synthetic colors, fragrance containing phthalates, triclosan, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), formaldehyde, toluene. Check your own commercial soap labels and see if any of these ring a bell. I was now instantly an avid devotee to "handmade soap" and control over what went into my soap! Sometimes you have to step backwards to ultimately end up stepping forwards, or such is my logic. I've found that to be true with many things.....
It started as a personal mission for my own skin needs, but in all my trial soap-batch-making & tinkering to perfect recipes, I gave away soap to family & friends that was more than my family could use. They all came back, ...asking to BUY more! Paired with the advent of this then-new thing, the internet, the biz started that simply!
It wasn't long before the need for more production space made us move the soapmaking operation out of the kitchen, to the garage, ....to then later buying a different house altogether just up the street with it's own custom workshop on the property. We've always been an internet-based business only, shipping all orders out. (Sorry, we are unable to conduct tours, or offer classes. We're not zoned or insured for it.) Gradually, I found myself wrapping all of my interests into soapmaking! Including herbal studies, use of botanicals from my garden, my art on labels for select soap lines, and the continued pursuit of unearthing antiquarian recipes and putting my own updated twists on them for purity, quality and ethics' sake. (i.e. I do not test on animals, nor use animal fats)
Clearly this concept and product ethos caught on with many of you, too! Since 1994 and I'm still making soap for you!
We specialize in custom soapmaking & private labeling and have dozens of shop-owners we work with across the USA, making them beautiful and unique signature soaps that reflect their shop theme or special ingredient requests!
We are in this business for the long haul (as evidenced by our already being in business since 1994), prices for our craft reflect our being an experienced business owner/crafter who self-values our craft, the amount of handcrafted work we put into it, our committed use to only the very best quality ingredients and quality supply-vendors, and so we won't sell YOU or ourselves short with ridiculously under-priced product as often occurs in this craft genre, unfortunately. Many who do that are only around a very short time, or aren't using best quality ingredients. We plan to continue making the premium craft we and you love, ...well, ...forever!
And as you've likely noticed, I love crafting many things and have done so all my life! I come from a long line of artisan crafters, builders, sew-ers, embroiderers, knitters, crocheters, and DIYers. I invite you to check out all that I make in addition to our soaps & potions! Art, candles, handspun fiber crafts, etc.!
A peek into The Soap Workshop, ten steps out my backdoor, surrounded by enchanted gardens!
Dozens of soap varieties including our *magical* "Wylde" soap lines! And specializing in sensitive skincare, signature soaps, retail & wholesale,
by-the-bar, and bulk soap options!
Rich, luxuriant lather!
My art studio: ......
My mythic fantasy art - fairies, mermaids, witches and other enchanted art can be found at this additional site where there are links to venues to purchase my art on a multitude of products including gifts, household products, greeting cards, t-shirts, mugs, aprons and so much more! Carol Ochs Art My art is also featured at La Bodega Gallery, and Comic Con every summer in the Art Show. If you're in town, stop by and visit!
My handspun fiber crafts can be found here at this Etsy Shoppe:
And I am also a writer. One of my short stories was recently included in the published anthology - Paradigm Shifts - Typewritten Tales of Digital Collapse. You can find it HERE.
And I would be completely remiss not mention the other half of the Ancient Alchemy team, my husband David, who despite having his own plumbing contracting company to run, manages to help me with my business, shlepping 50 lb. bags & boxes of raw ingredients, making last minute Post Office runs when needed, bantering new ideas back and forth, giving his great business advice, and generally being a delightful & hilarious distraction when needed (FUNNIEST person I know!), plus my own personal minstrel! David is also a gifted guitarist/composer; you can find some of his music here: David Ochs Music
Our three kids are grown and on their own now.
Christopher lives in WA and works for Microsoft as a paralegal. He loves to travel and recently published a book about his travels to India and Nepal - "Into The East"....it can be found HERE. Nicholas lives in San Diego and owns his own business as a handyman, he is also a musician. Stephanie recently retired from playing professional soccer with the NWSL. She is working on getting her masters degree in Psychology to become a practicing therapist.
Our cherished pets have always been a very big part of our lives. Two black kitties, one 24 the other 10, and our two amazing Newfies (Newfoundlands), Gryffin and Zoey!
Mocha & Sophie
Codie & Baylie
Mocha & Sophie
Mocha & Sophie
You're always welcome to drop us a line or ask questions! CONTACT
Follow us for updates at our site BLOG or other social media links listed at the bottom of this page.
Thanks for your interest in our entrepreneurial adventure!