Claire Carny and her two robot bath time pals
Butterfly-shaped soaps are so passé.
Or so that’s what Claire Carny, 25, thought when she came up with the idea for South Side Soaps, her NDG home-based bath and beauty business.
Now she’s a one-woman machine (with some help from her four-year-old son), pumping out tattoo balms, aftershave kits, lube and, of course, adorable little soaps shaped like guns and brains (and owls and robots, for the record).
“If you go and find [conventional] bath products, they’re all cutesy kinda things, and i’m not a cutesy kinda girl,” Carny says.
Completely self-taught in the fine art of promoting cleanliness, she began her company in June 2011 by producing a tattoo aftercare soap that’s dye- and fragrance-free. Like all her products, it’s certified cruelty-free, and also contains Moroccan argan oil and super-concentrated levels of vitamins A and E to help with healing, scarring, inflammation and even pain to a certain extent.
“Usually my tattoos take two weeks to heal. They take three or four days now,” Carny says.
The Concordia women’s studies student has always been attracted to the underground, and finds a lot of inspiration in tattoo culture, musical subcultures, sci-fi and more. She’s been experimenting with putting designs in glycerin soap, like Sailor Jerry tattoo flash and Frankenstein and his bride, all of which she sells through her Etsy shop and at craft fairs.
Many of her products are made from coconut and vegetable oils, beeswax (the lip balm) and, uh, booze. The men’s aftershave kit is made of vodka and Sailor Jerry rum and steeped with vanilla, bay leaves, orange peel and cloves.
“You think you’d smell like a boozehound, covered in rum, but it’s actually a very masculine smell. I sold out of it at the tattoo convention,” she says.
She’s also working on developing new products (bath bombs, shampoo and conditioner) she hopes to be able to sell next year, as well as expanding other areas of her collection, but admits it’s already difficult with the variety she currently offers.
“I already have a lot of products. Keeping up with all of them gets a little challenging because I’m one person doing everything,” she says.
“Pretty much all I do is make soap. And be a mom.” ■