“It is empowering to create a useful commodity appreciated by family, friends and customers.” – Kerri Mixon
By Caprice Harrison, Editorial Assistant for East County Magazine
October 27, 2012 (Lemon Grove) -- Ask Kerri Mixon about making soap. You will be met with a smile and 16th-generation soapmaking expertise. Mixon is the owner, administrator, lead instructor and artisan of Soapmaking Studio in Lemon Grove, an inviting classroom and supply center open to the public.
On October 7, East County Magazine visited the Studio to observe the Soapmaking 101- Beginning Cold Process Soapmaking class. The classroom also serves as a workshop in which students can participate in discussion, hands-on crafting and observational learning. The atmosphere was warm and participative, with Mixon animatedly teaching her lesson on how to calculate the correct oil to lye formula.
With her interactive, friendly style, students were engaged, despite the involved math calculations. Intermittently, Mixon inserted personal anecdotes to relate to her students. She is also a former teacher and college instructor, having served as the head of the Business Department at Fresno Technical College and Valley Vocational College. Her classroom presence was confident and sincere; complementing her passion for upholding her family soapmaking legacy.
In addition to her soapmaking knowledge, Mixon incorporates her business education into her soapmaking curriculum. Soapmaking Studio is the only training organization on the west coast to offer business classes in addition to various aspects of soapmaking craft classes, she said.
Students can take advantage of learning how to make soap, as well as how to establish and operate their own soap business. Classes run in sequence throughout the year, with topics ranging from Soapmaking 101, to Coloring and Scenting Soap, to Forming a Legal Business Entity to Sell Soap. (See schedule of classes here.)
Soapmaking Studio also offers supplies for purchase: base oils, colorants, fragrance oils, essential oils, hydrosols, herbs, soap molds and tools to make crafting ventures complete. Students delight in learning from Mixon, who, in addition to being a wealth of knowledge, is also approachable and careful to speak in terms comprehensible to even the greenest of soapmakers. Speaking of green, the Soapmaking Studio is a green facility powered by solar panels. They reuse, repurpose, recycle and compost (as posted on their website: http://www.soapmakingstudio.com).
Class sizes are intimate (about eight students), allowing each person the opportunity to ask questions, receive input and work hands-on with the materials. During the last hour of class, students received a Certificate of Achievement for the class taken, as well as samples of students’ work. The students left with ample resources and an action plan for the next step in soapmaking, if desired.
Whether or not your interest lies in learning the creative art of soapmaking, take advantage of visiting this inventive small business in support of your local economy. Kerri Mixon and husband David Perez, who oversees the soapmaking supplies, have put their combined efforts into a 21st century soapmaking business and the result is an inspired community of crafters, entrepreneurs and enlightened students for years to come.