Our Story

The Folks Behind the Suds

Ron and Mary Ernst - Earth Maiden Soap & Sundries

We're not ones to take ourselves too seriously. We're not about claiming to be entrepreneurs. We're simply life partners who enjoy collaborating and crafting some seriously amazing artisan soaps and sundries.

A Quick Bio:

Earth Maiden Soap & Sundries is a cozy little soapworks in Charleston, South Carolina. Since '01, Ron and I (Mary) have been whipping up our own handmade, artisanal soaps. Our original recipes are hand stirred, wire cut and made in small batches to assure quality.  We encourage you to explore our extensive collection of herbal soaps, salves, creams, and deodorants and don't miss our handcrafted pottery soap dishes! We don’t disappoint.

Mary: The Backstory

Mary is most in her element working with her hands and experimenting with a range of shapes and forms. As a child she dug her own clay from the creek bed forming and molding the pieces into birds, fish and other creatures. To this day she forms and molds handcrafted soap dishes for customers.

Mary has always had a fondness for soap. Mary's Grandfather, a woodworker, inspired her to whittle creations out of firm bars of commercial soap. Mary would often take the trimmings and mix them with dried red clover and herbs from her Grandmother’s garden. These simple beginnings formed the basis for all Mary's creative processes.

Mary's original recipes produce soaps that are smooth and creamy, feel wonderful on the skin, offer rich, luxurious lather and delight customers. Customers often rave on how exceptionally soft and clean their skin feels after using our products.

Mary is crazy about herbs. She grows them, she cooks with them and cleans with them and pops them into almost all her products.  As a Registered Nurse, she recognizes the healing power of botanicals and likes to incorporate them in her recipes. Herbs (flower petals, roots, stems and leaves) are also the muse behind many of Mary's clay creations.

Ron: The Backstory

After several decades as an Attorney, Ron often found soapmaking more satisfying than the practice of law. Though not the mastermind behind our soaps, Ron brings practicality and a touch of grunt labor to the table. He expertly crafts the soaps with meticulous attention to detail. He's responsible for wire cutting, stacking, and curing the soaps. Using a closed, double boiler system, he gently warms the saponified oils and butters over a low heat source, methodically stirring until the soap thickens and all traces of sodium hydroxide (the catalyst) are gone. At this point the soap is very thick and doughlike. It is after the soap cools to room temperature botanicals and essential oils are kneaded in. Compressed into molds, the soap mellows for several days. After it is cut it is air cured for several weeks. We find this affords us an even harder, milder soap.

Charleston Farmer's Markets

We participated in several fairs, festivals, and venues but eventually made our way to the Charleston Farmer’s Market, as juried artists. We held a booth at the Charleston Farmer’s Market in beautiful Marion Square every Saturday from Spring 2003 to 2020.  We also held a booth at Sunday Brunch Farmer’s Market on James Island for a number of years. The Covid epidemic ended our market going days and as of the present we have not returned to these venues. During our time with these incredibly successful markets, we obtained a loyal customer base and many valued friendships.

Though we have kept our company small, our standards are high and we pride ourselves with each and every product we create. We hope to continue our craft for years to come. We invite you to Feel the Difference with Earth Maiden!