Shiny apples that smell of fresh pie and tiny Lego's with a Jolly Rancher scent are just a few of the concoctions being thought up at a new Thornwood shop.
Valhalla residents Erin Carbone and Kirsten Nagashima have teamed up to launch Kensico Soap Bar in the Rosehill Shopping Center, which will have its grand opening on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"We hope we have a range that will appeal to everybody," said Carbone, who has been a neighbor and friend of Nagashima for more than a decade.
"I think we both for a long time have been exploring having our own business," said Nagashima, who was laid off from a local pharmaceutical company last fall.
Similarly, Carbone said she was looking for a new venture once her youngest child entered kindergarten.
"We were both, in our minds, unemployable because we need to have schedules that allow us to get home when the kids get off the bus," Carbone explained. "So, I would say to my husband, 'Where am I going to go and what am I going to do?'"
Nagashima's science background and Carbone's interest in retail led them into the soap making industry, where they discovered through classes and a supportive community what it would take to bring their new dream to life.
"It turns out some people are turned off by soap making because of the chemicals involved," said Nagashima. "But really, to me, it wasn't that different than working in the lab and taking precautions and measuring and stuff like that."
So, when the shop's former tenant, , closed its doors, the PTA-moms duo stepped up.
"It was just the right time," said Carbone.
For Nagashima, it was also a great opportunity to continue sharing the fun of science with her kids.
"I had fun working at a lab for 18 years," she said. "My kids got to see mom having fun and what being a scientist is. I still want to be able to do that."
After sampling dozens of fragrance possibilities and developing some natural soaps with an olive oil base, the pair started churning out more products.
"We have scrubs, salts, body lotion, hand cream, shower gel and bar soap," said Carbone. "And then we have other products that we sell that we don't make, but we just kind of fell in love with—like bath bombs."
Kid-friendly scents like Fruit Loops and bubble gum come in smaller sizes for the tub, while the adult-size products range from fresh to floral to seasonal.
The shop also has a line of signature scents, that include the citrus-y Synergy, the scentless In the Buff and the relaxing Take Five, which is made with "eucalyptus, orange, rosemary and peppermint."
"We wanted something that was accessible for people of all ages," explained Nagashima. "And I have two boys, so I wanted it to be accessible for boys, too."
In addition to the packaged items for sale, Kensico Soap Bar has a full do-it-yourself station, perfect for kids' birthday parties or a ladies' night out.
A long work table seats 12 and comes with a soap base visitors can melt down and customize through fragrance, color and shape options.
"You can come in with your friends, make a scrub, bring your wine, hang out and have music playing," said Nagashima. "So, it's a fun way to get together with your friends and get some product at the end."
Shoppers tomorrow will receive free lip balm and samples at the store, where prices start at $4.
The pair is optimistic about the store's future and are "nervous slash excited" about the public's reception to the products.
Said Carbone, "It's a second career for us and it's a way to bring our families into it, have fun with the kids and offer products that we love."
Kensico Soap Bar is located in the Rosehill Shopping Center (660 Columbus Ave. Thornwood). Its hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.