Owner store

Houston County soap maker to open store in Macon

Joshua Hess is a familiar face at the Perry Farmers Market and the International City Farmer’s Market at Warner Robins.

It’s also known to those who frequent the indoor kiosks near the Base Exchange food court at Robins Air Force Base.

Hess, 41, is the owner of The Sassy Alpaca, which specializes in homemade natural skincare and bath and shower products.

In 2019, he launched his business with the vision of selling his wares in person at farmers markets and online through his website.

Now, Hess is opening a storefront Feb. 4 in the Village of Ingleside at 2731 Ingleside Ave., Suite A, Macon. With some of the fixtures still to be shipped, he plans to hold a grand opening when things go well, hopefully for Mother’s Day.

SOAP MAKING

Hess has been making soaps since he was 9 years old – a skill he first learned on his father’s farm in Spokane, Washington.

He moved to Warner Robins when he was a teenager to live with his mother. Over the years, he has perfected his art.

“We use natural ingredients – certified organic, RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified – and we don’t use any kind of additives, so there are no preservatives. no binders. There are no additional colors,” he said. “All scents are essential oils, or they’re derived directly from herbs.

“Some of them actually contain raw herbs. In a few months we will have more fruit soaps. They ran out this year. They will contain things like blueberries, strawberries, which will give them flavor as well as antioxidants for the skin.

Its fruit soaps are the most popular.

Hess also handcrafts a host of other products such as bath bombs, hand lotions and shower sprays.

Shower vapors create scents that have useful properties, Hess said. For example, he recommends his peppermint spray for headaches and his lavender spray for sleep and calm.

EXPERIMENT

Hess also likes to experiment.

With the popularity of Boba tea, he worked on a soap using the cassava plant from which tapioca starch was extracted to make the Boba pearls at the bottom of the drink.

Hess uses the roots dried and ground into a flour-like consistency and wants the soap to produce a good lather, perfect for shaving and bathing, he said.

“That’s just one of the things I experience,” Hess said. “I experiment a lot with soaps. I try soap formulas from all over the world.

“For example, we have a Nabulsi. This is based on Middle Eastern soap which uses olive oil, goat’s milk, and honey, as well as Dead Sea salt, and it looks a lot like a Castile soap. But it is softer and has a lower pH. And we get a lot of people going through cancer treatments using it on their skin because it’s gentler and easier.

SHOWCASE

When he opens his storefront, Hess plans to continue selling his wares to Marker and BX farmers. He expects to alternate between these places and his shop window. His wife, Sherry, will tend the store on Saturday mornings when the storefront is open.

In the store, Hess plans to manufacture all of its products except its soaps, which require controlled environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. He will continue to make them at their home in Macon.

The showcase gives her the opportunity to work on her products while customers are in the store, maximizing time while showcasing her craft.

He was originally looking for a space intended solely for production and storage. But he and his wife came across the storefront in the village of Ingleside which had more space at a lower cost than other spaces they had considered purely for storage and production.

And that led to the decision to open a storefront, Hess said.

Down the stairs between the Benjamin Moore paint store buildings in Ingleside Village, the storefront is also great for storing his wares as it’s a renovated cellar that’s cold and dry, Hess said.

Hess also plans to offer consignment items such as homemade candles and may open the shop to other craft vendors to use parts of its space from time to time.

The store is located near The West Collective, “a wellness boutique specializing in massage therapy, CBD and hemp products, aromatherapy supplies, apothecary items, and glassware art. high quality,” according to the shop’s Facebook page.

The car park is behind the store and is accessible via avenue Corbin. Hess also plans to continue to offer its products through The Sassy Alpaca website.

“AUTISM BELONGS AND RUNS”

Both on his website and on a chalkboard outside his stall at the city’s International Farmers’ Market, Hess describes his business as “autism owned and operated.”

“There are a lot of autistic people who think they are limited and there are a lot of parents who have autistic children who think there are limits to how they can live their lives; that there’s a ceiling on their potential,” Hess said. “They just don’t know that there are things that can be done beyond just getting by on a day-to-day basis.”

Hess chose entrepreneurship.

NAME INSPIRATION

There is a story behind how Hess came up with his company name.

He and his wife had a heated debate about where the business should go. It turns out that she was in the middle of a bath at the time.

At one point she went underwater and popped bubbles on her hair.

“I told him, ‘You look like a sassy alpaca.’ ”

Later it occurred to Hess that The Sassy Alpaca would make a big name for the company.

Sharing the name story, Hess said, “My wife is probably going to kill me.”

Hours of operation, which may vary, should be posted on Facebook and in store.

Next month, the store is expected to be open Feb. 4-9 and Feb. 18-23 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The store can also be open by appointment.