Some people can make lemonade out of lemons. Tressa Troiano found a way to take the weak economy and make soap – and a new career.
When the former retail man-ager’s employer downsized, Troiano needed a job. Like many people in that situation, she decided to try to make a living doing something she enjoys.
At first, she thought her new career would be sewing, but as it turned out, her talent for making all-natural soap would be the spark for becoming an entrepreneur.
Troiano had been making soap at home for her children, who couldn’t use commercial products because of the chemicals they contain.
“I learned from some friends who made their own soap and I learned some things by going on the Internet. Then I started developing my own formulas,” she said.
The soaps, lotions and scrubs are made with natural oils like olive, coconut and palm. Some of the products contain seaweed and even coffee. The fragrances and colors are also from natural ingredients, said Troiano.
“My lotions are really creams. They don’t contain water, so there’s no need for preservatives. The ingredients listed on the labels are easy to read. You know what’s in my products,” she said.
The business started with a booth at festivals and weekend markets. Last year, a few weeks before Florida-Georgia weekend, Troiano started setting up her portable boutique every Friday at the Landing’s market.
Her products and displays impressed the management, so they offered her the opportunity to go into business in a more conventional way.
About a year to the day from the first time she ever sold a bar of soap Downtown, Troiano opened Ocean Water Bath & Gifts at the Landing in a space near the Visit Jacksonville Welcome Center.
“Now I’m back to having a job every day, but it’s different. It’s a whole different ball game when you’re the one who’s in charge,” Troiano said.
Ocean Water Bath & Gifts is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Call 891-2642 for information about custom-blended products and gift baskets.
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