Matt Bramlette bathes in the wordplay of it all. His new venture in Kansas City’s quirky Westport entertainment district — known for its shops, restaurants and bars — floats a clean business prop: bars of soap with a low carbon footprint.
Hence, “Soap Bar.”
Just a few feet away from his popular retail storefront Mid Coast Modern, the space expands on Bramlette’s “Bear Soap Co.” — his first product, which began as a hobby — and is dedicated to natural and environmentally conscious bath and body wares.
Click here to explore Soap Bar.
“It is all about being healthy — less fake ingredients, all natural, being mindful about what you are putting in your body,” Bramlette said.
The consumer-supported shift to such a mindset also includes sustainable practices related to packaging at Soap Bar, said Maggie Weir, an associate at the store.
“Our bath bombs and shower steamers are wrapped in a material that’s based from an algae. So it’s not wrapped in plastic; instead, it degrades over time,” she said. “One of our best sellers is our shampoo bar. People love that because it reduces a single use plastic. So sustainability has entered into the ethos here.”
Soap-making workshops also allow customers to learn more about the health and eco-friendly benefits of Soap Bar, Bramlette said. The first bath bomb-making class is coming Saturday, he added, noting his excitement for the group and one-on-one interactions.
“Part of the plan with the workspace we designed is to be a little more spacious for events like that,” he said.
Initially, Bramlette just intended to find a production facility to craft soaps for sale in Mid Coast Modern, which specializes in modern homemade and small brand goods, he said. But when a nearby space opened up, he recognized the serendipity and potential for a standalone Soap Bar in Westport.
“We have a built-in customer base with Mid Coast Modern, and with Bear Soap. So we are sending those customers here,” Bramlette said.
“We have a lot of return customers,” added Weir. “Because it’s consumable product, people will need to replenish it.”
And that helps establish an ongoing relationship between the maker and the customer, Bramlette and Weir emphasized.
“You see yourself being a part of the community,’ said Weir.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.