Getting Clean the Natural Way: The Conscious Bath CompanyJul 03, 2013 02:43PM ● By Sheila Julson
After she developed sensitivities to the synthetic scents in commercially produced personal care products, Brenda Greuel, founder of The Conscious Bath Company, became curious about their ingredients. She discovered that fragrance or colorants listed on labels were often code words for chemically created aromas and artificial colors. Frustrated, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I came to realize that products do not have to be made that way,” Greuel says of the unnatural ingredients in most popular brands of toiletries. She explains that the motivation for companies to use ingredients such as preservatives and stabilizing additives is really to help increase their products’ shelf life.
She began making soap and it didn’t take long for her to realize that she had more control over products she made herself. “My husband Craig and I began experimenting with different formulas and quickly fell in love with everything about the soap-making process.” Those experiments led to the founding of The Conscious Bath Company in 2009. Greuel, once a human resources professional, has a business background, and Craig assists with business operations. She also works as an innkeeper at the Washington House Inn, in Cedarburg.
The couple uses food-grade, plantbased ingredients, including coconut, olive, palm and jojoba oils, as well as moisturizing Shea butter. Greuel seeks out ingredients grown organically by farmers around the world that have made a voluntary commitment to organic agriculture and gone through an extensive certification process. Greuel explains how her meticulous research in choosing ingredients makes a difference. “While our end products are not yet certified organic, the ingredients we put into them are, making them as eco-friendly as possible. That’s something we’re very proud of, and is probably what sets us apart from other soap makers—our commitment to the environment and supporting the efforts of organic farmers around the world.”
The products are scented with pure, plant-based essential oils such as lavender, grapefruit and peppermint varieties—18 different scents in all. The company also offers lip balm and lotion bars made from oils that are solid at room temperature. Brenda says this allows for easy travel with no mess. The Conscious Bath Company also offers gift packages, special orders for bridal and baby showers and even a dog shampoo bar. The soap for canine friends contains oils that deter fleas and ticks, such as cedar wood and citronella.
Greuel believes in making the most environmentally safe products possible, not only for humans, but for the Earth. Soap residue eventually goes down the drain and thus right back into the water system. She expresses concerns over the health of Lake Michigan: “We don’t want to create products which needlessly contribute to the bioaccumulation of synthetic chemicals within our own region. Many unintended consequences occur when all of the things we pour down our drains come together; it all ends up as a big soup. Plus, soap is intended to be a clean product, and it’s somewhat challenging, yet very fun, to make it. We go full cycle, from start to finish. Our product is about as pure as you can get,” says Greuel, noting that their label paper is 97 percent post-consumer waste and tree-free, made by EcoPaper, a California company that uses recycled coffee beans from fields in Costa Rica.
The Conscious Bath Company’s artisan products are available online through the company’s website and at eco-friendly fairs and festivals. They are also offered at eco-conscious retailers such as Olive, Fine Organic Living, in Milwaukee, the Colour Bowl Salon and Spa, in Mequon, and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, in Milwaukee.
Greuel operates the business fulltime, and has incrementally stepped up production as sales have increased from year to year. She’s looking forward to creating a soap-making workshop within their home later this year. While she enjoys the freedom of being self-employed, she says the best part is speaking with people and educating the public about natural products, the importance of organic agriculture, and the difference between synthetic additives and plantbased ingredients. “We strive to be the first choice for eco-conscious consumers in the Milwaukee area,” she says.
The Conscious Bath Company is located in Thiensville. For more information, call 262-227-3369, visit ConsciousBath.com or find them on Facebook.