Fox in Socks Soapery sources local ingredients

August 31, 2021

By Katie Aldridge

Katie Hall wants to change the world one bar of soap at a time.

Her company, Fox in Socks Soapery, works to source ingredients locally for its artisan bar soaps, sugar scrubs, bath bombs, shampoo bars, and other self-care essentials. She is currently up to 10 local partners.

Katie was a member of the first cohort of the Downtown Dayton Retail Lab, powered by Launch Dayton partner Downtown Dayton Partnership. We caught up with her to learn more about her experience and her entrepreneurial journey.

Launch Dayton: How did your company start?

Katie: I went to school for biotechnology. I got into working in the industry at the blood and tissue center in Kettering. After a few years on that career track, I realized that maybe I made a mistake in my career choice, and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn’t feeding my creative side. I didn’t want to waste the years of college and not use any chemistry. So, I thought, “what can I do that is both artistic and science driven?” And here I am, making soap.

Why this idea?

There are so many great local products from farmers that aren’t being utilized. I feel like it’s my job to take those ingredients and make some awesome products. There is also a mission behind each product – not only am I sourcing these wonderful ingredients that are going unnoticed, but I’m also supporting other small businesses while also giving back to the community. It’s not just a bar of soap, it’s a community within a bar of soap.

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

No. When I was in high school and college, I was very driven. I was going to be a scientist and I was going to do research and I was going to be in the lab doing all of that stuff. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized I could do something that could feed my soul a little bit more and feed my creative side that I completely neglected.

What identities do you bring to entrepreneurship that helped prepare you for this lifestyle?

Being an entrepreneur is a huge learning curve. I feel like a lot of people go into entrepreneurship with rose-colored glasses on. I think I was one of those people, and I very quickly learned that there are a lot of things that go behind the scenes of owning a small business that I didn’t take into account. The main thing I’ve taken is that you can’t let the little things stress you out, you have to roll with it. If you make a mistake, there is always tomorrow, and everything is fixable.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced in entrepreneurship?

The biggest barrier, being a small business, is breaking through. Your first 2-3 years is all obstacles; getting your name out there, building your brand, and getting people to notice who you are and what you’re doing. That was my biggest, personal obstacle. The footwork it took to be someone that is recognized. I take for granted sometimes how much work it took to build my brand to this point.

Why do you love what do you?

The quick and easy answer is I love the community of people I do it with. While I say I’m a solo-preneur, there are a lot of other businesses that I work with and that feeds my soul. I love my products; I stand by them one hundred percent. I love what I do and what I’m able to do through my business. I love my local partners. I love being able to reach out to hospitals and homeless shelters and all the charitable things I’m able to do because of my business.

How was your experience with the Retail Lab?

I took a lot of great things from the Retail Lab. I was in that cohort in the midst of COVID, I didn’t know where my business was going, and I didn’t know if I was going to survive. It gave me a weekly check-in to check myself and check my business. I always left reinvigorated. There is so much potential with the Retail Lab.

How can the Launch Dayton community support you?

The main thing that would help my small business is spreading the mission. Come to me with ideas of how to give back to the community, spread the word of my mission and my business. My biggest obstacle was getting my name out there; word of mouth is so great. The main way I like to be supported is for people to tell everyone!

Connect with Fox in Socks Soapery online, on Facebook, and on Instagram.