Hoquiam residents Rochelle Pritchett and Vicki Guerrero hadn't been in their storefront space at 722 Simpson Avenue for long when they spoke with the Herald on a recent Friday afternoon, having just made the leap to opening their own shared specialty shop within the past several weeks.
However, the pair, who are the respective proprietors of Naked Nature Soap Company and Vickster's Pix, have been in business for some time, having met when they both maintained booths at Harbor Square community market.
They said the move to open their own space came out of a desire to gain more customer foot traffic as well as more space to show off their wares. Pritchett, whose focus is on handmade, all-natural soap products, said the impetus for her to go into business about a year ago originally sprang from a recognition that she could create something better for herself and her family than what store-bought brands had to offer.
"Basically it started because I was tired of buying the commercial soap," she recalled. "When I discovered what was in it, the chemicals, the fillers, I decided to try making my own -- all natural, organic, no chemicals, no fillers -- and see what happens. And I did it personally for myself and my husband and my son. I ended up spreading the word and selling, and then it kind of bloomed from there."
"I'd rather sell something that's all natural and good for you," she continued, adding that commercial soaps may dry out skin and contribute to skin conditions.
Pritchett makes all the products she sells at home, which include lip balms, soaps, and bath balms. The raw materials for her products, which include organic shea butter, oils, essential oils, and clays, are sourced from North Carolina.
A true family business, her soaps are poured into molds made by her husband before curing in her garage for six weeks.
After starting with just two types of soap, she now has about 26 distinct varieties, she said, and hopes to be able to add a new one each month until she can offer customers over 100 types from which to choose. She also intends to come out with more types of items, she indicated.
"Eventually the soaps will run that whole entire wall, all the way to the back, so it will be shelves and shelves of soap," she said of her vision.
For those seeking a more eclectic mix of offerings, Guerrero's Vickster Pix has custom jewelry, refinished/repurposed furniture, and original photography on offer.
Much of Guerrero's subject matter is regional, focusing on Westport, Ocean Shores, cars, area events, and flowers.
"I love this environment," she said of her local subject matter.
Guerrero is also a local representative of Magnabilities, a Sumner-based company specializing in interchangeable magnetic jewelry.
As for her furniture, Guerrero said much of it is found at estate sales and garage sales before receiving her special treatment.
"No one refurnishes furniture funky like I do," she said.
"She creates some original pieces, with an original touch," added Guerrero's partner Pritchett.
The pair, who indicated that one of their aims is to keep their prices affordable, stated that while they are consistently open on the weekends, both Saturday and Sunday, their hours on the weekdays are somewhat more varied for the time being as they both also maintain regular jobs. Pritchett is a bookkeeper at a property management firm while Guerrero works for Home Depot.
"When the open sign is blinking, we're here," explained Guerrero.
Both said the community has been good to them so far, with many of their customers from their Harbor Square days following them to their present location. They indicated their customer base is mostly, but certainly not exclusively, women.
"I actually have guys who come in and buy the soap," stated Pritchett. "Once they use it, they come back."
Guerrero and Pritchett said they'd eventually like to name the store "Two Crazy Mommas," both in honor of themselves and to help give some unity to the two distinct businesses contained within one storefront.
"It's kind of a funky, fun little shop," said Pritchett. "We're hoping it's the kind of shop where there's something in here for everyone."
A grand opening will be held all day on Oct. 15. Refreshments will be on offer.
Those seeking more information can find Guerrero and Pritchett online at vicksterpixs.com and nakednaturesoapcompany.com.