Di Chats With Naples Soap Company's Deanna Wallin About Her Incredible New Eczema Kit
Recently, on my way home after a long PR meeting, I popped into Naples Soap Company’s Tin City store. The day before, Dana had texted me a pic of the Florida Fresh purchases she'd made at its new St. Pete outpost, and I wanted to score some beauty loot for myself. I hadn’t visited in quite awhile because parking there during season in Naples is pretty much impossible. It's located in a quaint shopping village nestled by several marinas chock full of yachts screaming OLD SCHOOL FLORIDA, and space is tight tight tight when all the 'birds are in town.
With St. Pete up and running, Naples Soap Company now has 11 Florida stores where you’re surrounded by heavenly fragrances that boost your energy and focus your mind. Products are arranged by treatment category, and I wanted to try everything. First I copied Dana by purchasing a Florida Fresh perfume balm with teasing scents of grapefruit, mango and tangerine, and then I restocked my natural deodorant.
If you’ve read our previous post about how much Naples and Marco Island ladies love their soaps, NSC is one-stop shopping for fragrance layering. In addition to juicy-colored loofah and bar soaps, it offers myriad options for each scent: body and essential oils, bath bombs, sea-salt scrubs, sprays, shampoo and conditioner bars and beyond.
My super-knowledgeable sales associate Trish confessed that on slow days - like when everyone was celebrating the eclipse - she experiments with combining fragrances, resulting in one-of-a-kind essences that define a signature scent. Perhaps you’ve read about the "nose" — a rarified gig whose practitioners create fragrances for the world’s top fashion houses and cosmetics companies. Trish was my personal nose du jour, suggesting innovative combinations resulting in splendidly balanced aromas, nothing overpowering or cloying. With open jars of each product, take a tip from Trish and think about pairing two (or more) for a unique custom blend, perhaps starting with the subtle Black Pepper as a base for something a tad sweeter.
One of the store’s most intriguing displays featured a new total body-care collection of homeopathic FDA-ingredient approved products tackling the chronically painful itching, skin discoloration and texture issues caused by eczema and psoriasis, a big deal Florida Beauty Problem if there ever was one, as our skin is always on display and it’s WAY too hot to wear head-to-toe clothing especially during our melting summer months through October.
The eczema and psoriasis products really piqued my interest, so I reached out to NSC Founder + CEO Deanna Wallin, a native Floridian, who personally suffers from both, as does her daughter. I wanted to learn how she developed a dedicated collection targeting both issues after not finding solace in dermatologist-prescribed problems.
Spoiler Alert: Deanna's a nurse, and her LPN training prior to creating Naples Soap Company provided the necessary expertise on effective natural ingredients and formulations that gently cure skin ailments.
FBP: What were your challenges in creating the eczema and psoriasis line?
WALLIN: Through personal trial, I discovered some natural oils and butters that worked best, but you have to narrow a product formulation’s ingredients so that it can be manufactured while staying stable and effective enough to sit on store shelves. And this wasn’t just one product; it was a complete nine-item regimen for cleansing, treating and soothing.
I met Kevin Harrington at an investment seminar during the summer of 2015. In January 2016, his Shark Finds team contacted me about our products after they had tested them personally. I then met with them to develop an "As Seen on TV" campaign; Summer 2016 I participated in Kevin’s Innovators Think Tank.
Having personally dealt with “alligator skin” and psoriasis on the scalp that was the source of so much discomfort, I know first-hand how life-changing these products can be. People stare at your condition, wondering if it's contagious, almost like a social stigma. Naples Soap Company's goal has always been to provide all-natural, handmade skincare products specifically designed for those with a variety of skin concerns. The beauty of The Eczema Kit is that the products’ benefits aren’t limited to only those with eczema: fragrance-free products benefit people of any age with a variety of skin conditions. Our unscented triple-milled soap is also sold separately because it works well for anyone seeking a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser.
It’s a lifestyle issue too: between cleansing, makeup, tidying up, getting everyone ready for their day, the average woman has touched more than 160 chemicals before walking out her door in the morning. People with sensitive and problematic skin need to rethink what they use on a daily basis, from detergents and fabric-softening sheets to house-cleaning products. Everything you touch or wear can exacerbate tactile sensitivity.
FBP: How does stress affect the skin?
WALLIN: Stress often creates fluctuations in your diet and hydration which directly weakens the skin, the body’s largest organ. Binge eating, junk food, drinking soda - it’s all reflected in your skin.
FBP: Your sales associates must see quite a few skin maladies on any given day. Care to share your thoughts on Florida’s most common beauty problems?
WALLIN: Damaged feet from cracked heels, sandals and general neglect can lead to fungal infections. A monthly pedicure isn’t enough. One of the best natural treatment options is our Tea Tree natural soap and essential oil. We also sell a variety of scrubs and sticks.
FBP: The sticks are pretty genius - the application is easy-peasy especially for those of us using essential oils at night.
WALLIN: Think of it as Chapstick for your feet. In addition to moisturizing sticks, I use our muscle sticks as a deep treatment before bed, then cover my feet with socks. It’s a fuss-free spot application so anyone can use it without having to wash their hands afterward.
Another Florida beauty problem we see quite often in our stores is sunburned skin, mostly from first-day visitors who underestimate just how strong the sun is in Florida. While we don’t offer an SPF collection yet, we stock fashionable UPF Scala hats, a variety of soothing body butters and gently exfoliating sea-salt scrubs for removing dead skin once it starts to peel. Protecting your skin with coverage, including SPF clothing, from further deep damage is key to better skin throughout your life.
A week after chatting with Deanna, so much of her wisdom is stuck in my head. Namely, what does 'clean' smell like? Taking a tip from her, my new goal is to eliminate pollutants in our home for a 'tox-free' lifestyle. While I love when Hubby hits Walmart for our monthly supply of cleaning products so I can avoid that parking lot, I prefer and asked for scent-free detergent. It's a bit of an ongoing mini-battle chez moi. While Hubby believes that something isn't clean if it doesn't smell 'fresh,' I know a lot of those so-called fresh scents are hatched in a lab.
NOTE FROM DANA: I used to have the same dilemma with (my) Hubby too - until we stumbled on Meyer's, which scents its products with insane amounts of impossibly delicious essential oils. Now my kitchen is stocked with Meyer's everything. We still haven't swapped-out our Tide Pods yet, though. Deanna needs to start working on cleaning supplies, stat!
December update: Hurricane Irma forced the permanent closing of NSC's Key West shop while its Tin City location has re-opened. Fifth Avenue South in Naples is the newest shop in NSC's portfolio.