What happens when you cross a time-honored traditional Greek product with savvy American business sense? You get the Grecian Soap Company. Here’s the story of the next best beauty secret in the US, but one that dates back generations to your great grandmother’s goats in the chorgio: goat milk soap.
Our editor, (a lush for all things that smell heavenly associated with “spa” or “bath”), was drawn instinctively into a bath boutique on a stroll through the main avenue at Laguna Beach. It was she who made the first discovery, luckily and happily, of a display for soap made from genuine goat milk. A mental ding-ding went off, “Goat milk? Soap? It’s gotta be Greek.” And sure enough a quick glance at the sophisticated packaging of the creamy bars donning the pastel green and blues of Hellas verified her hunch—“Of course it’s Greek. It’s from the Grecian Soap Company.”
How come our editor-in-chief a life-long worshipper of all things creamy, lathery, and balmy from all the major retailers had not heard of it? For one, it is a company less than a year and a half old. (Not that you could tell that from its classy packaging and sophisticated design). And two, it is a brand more visible on the West Coast as it calls California home. But after using the soaps for less than two weeks, our editor is hooked. Grecian Soap Company’s line of goat milk soaps gets our Editor’s Choice Award for this summer’s beauty product.
The Benefits of Goat’s Milk
It is no secret that bathing your skin in milk makes it smoother and softer. But there is something about goat’s milk in particular. In fact, goat’s milk has anti-inflammatory properties that combat bacterial infections and has proven effective in treating eczema and acne. Here are 5 good reasons to chuck your mass-produced soap for natural goat’s milk (courtesy of naturalnews.com)
Delays signs of skin aging:
Goat’s milk soap delays signs of skin again due to its high content of alpha-hydroxy acids such as lactic acid. Alpha-hydroxy acids break down dead skin cell bonds, removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and leaving behind new cells on the surface that appear smoother and more youthful.
Not a chemical counterfeit:
Water-based soaps on mainstream supermarket shelves use harsh chemical acids to break down dead skin cells. The lasting effect of chemical acids on the skin is more similar to a chemical “burn.” Alpha hydroxyl acids found in goat’s milk, work with skin instead of breaking it down and aging it further.
Goat’s milk reduces skin inflammation due to its fat molecule content. The cream present in goat’s milk is a moisturizer, soothing dry and damaged skin, possessing an anti-inflammatory effect.
Loaded with essentials:
Goat’s milk is packed full of essential nutrients and vitamins like vitamin D, C, B1, B6, B12, and E, that feed the skin and are absorbed into the body.
Studies now show that goat’s milk is effective for treating acne and skin conditions. This is primarily because goat’s milk has anti-bacterial properties that delay the growth of microbial organisms that spur the spread of acne.
The Beginning of a Great Greek-Inspired Company
Grecian Soap Company came into being after Steve and Carla Stamatis’ frequent trips to Tarpon Springs, Florida. As an executive with a firm that sells semi-conductors, Steve made quarterly trips out to the Tampa area. It was there, in the Greek mom-and-pop establishments that he was introduced to the idea of traditional Greek soap with olive oil and goat’s milk in it. Every time he went to Tarpon Springs, he would bring back this unassuming soap in plastic bags as gifts for co-workers and family. The gifting of the soap got more demanding with each visit to the town as the list to get a bar to this one and that one grew longer and longer. Clearly, by word of mouth and experience, more and more natives were becoming converted.
“Why don’t we start our own company to sell the soap instead of lugging it back and forth from Florida to California?” Steve’s wife made the suggestion. And so it was. Grecian Soap Company was born. At first the couple bought directly from different sources from the Florida area. But they quickly realized they would do a better job and keep more of the profit if they invested in making a better premium product by themselves.
Working from literally inside their kitchen sink, the Stamatis’ got to work in developing just the right natural ingredients for their soap, testing it for purity and health, as well as developing the nifty packaging along with their marketing strategy. In less than a year, their sales skyrocketed. It has netted $100K so far this year, doubling its profit from last year.
“I think we hit the nail on the head in terms of product and presentation,” Stamatis admits. “We found a niche, and we hadn’t realized how much of a niche it was because of how fast it was selling.”
A good part of the company’s success is due to the quality of its ingredients. It is made with EVOO imported from Greece and local goat milk; pH balanced to match skin’s natural chemistry, no additives or chemicals, pure to be used on baby’s skin. From the anecdotes and customer testimonials, it has never caused any issues with allergic reactions or rashes. On the contrary, people who have suffered from eczema swear that their cases have been relieved ever since using the soap. One older lady Steve met at a Greek festival noted that her skin was the smoothest and softest in her life and commanded her daughter to order an extra $150 worth to have enough to last her the year.
When it came time to baptize the company, the “Grecian Soap made sense as a trademark because I am very proud of my heritage,” Stamatis claims, “and it is a unique product from that heritage.”
While managing a robust on-line store, Grecian Soap Company has expanded from 40 stores in the California area to 100 stores around the country. It is a brand frequently present at Greek Church festivals. But it is on the cusp of going national as the owners have approached chains and wholesalers including Whole Foods, Sprouts and other regional ‘health conscience’ grocery chains about the possibility of putting it on their shelves.
A particularly unique bestseller features the soap embedded in a natural sea sponge.
There you have it. The Grecian Soap Company story is a Greek-American story that speaks to easy success when combining a home-grown, traditionally tried-and-true Greek product with the next-generation of American entrepreneurial know-how.
To order on-line, please take a look at their online shop: www.greciansoap.com