Kara Keller began her own handmade soap company in the wake of the sudden death of her mother Sandy Keller three and a half years ago.
“You spend too much time at work to not really love what you are doing,” Keller said. “Life is too short.”
Keller enrolled in a beauty and fragrance program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles while holding down a job working for a local bath and body company and interning for a cosmetic company. Then she took a soap making class in Santa Monica and fell in love with it. She made hot process soap, in which the soap is made in a crock pot.
“My first batch was horrible,” Keller said. “It turned out great, but it looked like mashed potatoes. But I was so proud. I loved it. I was hooked.”
Becoming hooked meant incorporating and starting a business the right way, Keller said. She spoke with friends who own small businesses and last year, she formed Hermosa Beach Soap Company, with about 12 different fragrances of soap, as well as different exfoliates such as ground coffee and oatmeal.
“I can be creative and make any blend I like,” Keller said.
She attends craft shows and hopes to eventually do business with boutique hotels in which she provides the soap and they provide the private label.
Her handmade vegan and cruelty-free soap range in price from $7 to $18 and are available at hermosabeachsoap.com.