Handcrafted at 6,237 feet in South Lake Tahoe, these small-batch soaps and lotions can take your holiday gift-giving to a whole new level.
By Kathleen Vivaldi
Photography by Charlene Lane
In 1995, locals Dave and Jan Carpenter purchased some homemade soap while vacationing. They loved it so much they decided to try making soap themselves. “We tried a few recipes,” says Dave. “Some turned out better than others, (so we) made some adjustments and came up with our own (recipe), which we still use today.”
After perfecting their method, the Carpenters used the soaps personally and gave them as gifts to family and friends. When their family and friends came back asking for more, however, they suspected they might be on to something—and soon launched their business: Tahoe Mountain Soap Company.
The Carpenters began selling their all-natural, handcrafted soaps and lotions at their local South Lake Tahoe Farmers’ Market. Twenty-two years later, they still don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, but have a loyal following at an expanded list of area farmers’ markets, festivals and events they participate in throughout the year. Their products are also available at several retailers—Lakeside Landing, Top Drawer and Mountain Aloha Massage & Bodywork in South Lake, as well as Tramway Market in Stateline, Nevada—or you can shop online (tahoemountainsoap.com).
Dave runs all the manufacturing, sales and marketing, while his wife Jan helps with recipe development and product packaging. The company’s motto is “natural ingredients good for the body and the environment,” and Tahoe Mountain currently produces 10 soaps. The most popular are Honey Citrus Scrub (which uses locally procured honey), Lavender, Peppermint and Apricot Vanilla.
“Our soap is handcrafted in small batches of 85 bars using only natural ingredients,” says Dave. “We do not use artificial colors or preservatives and our soaps are scented only with the finest essential oils available.”
The Carpenters also produce two lotions made with pure organic shea butter that are ultra moisturizing, healing and protective year-round (choose Lavender or Tangerine). Both lotions are extremely mild, even for sensitive skin, and are exclusive blends.
Finally, the company carries high quality accessories, such as natural sea wool sponges, natural wood soap dishes and boar bristle shaving brushes.
Tahoe Mountain Soap Company offers custom gift sets and baskets online, as well as personalized gifts upon request. The standard gift set is $25 and includes a natural soap, beech wood ladder soap dish, and a small Florida Rock Island sponge, all wrapped in tulle. Most individual items range from $6–$15.
TAHOE MOUNTAIN SOAP COMPANY
P.O. Box 13239
South Lake Tahoe, CA