Chicago's Soap Distillery makes cocktail-inspired soaps and more from scratch

CHICAGO -- How do you unwind after a long day? Some people take a bath, others enjoy a drink. But this Chicagoan is combining both to make her own unique line of booze-themed soaps.

From Beer + Cigarettes, to Whiskey, and Rose, Soap Distillery has an extensive line of products with scents inspired by all your favorite drinks. If you're cringing, don't worry -- they actually smell good.

"The Beer + Cigarettes scent is a complex, but also very simple scent: the scent of tobacco blended with hops, and then we blend that with lavender and oak moss," said founder Danielle Martin. "Its kind of a funny play on ingredients, but it doesn't smell like beer and cigarettes. Like it smells good, I promise."

Martin started making soap in 2011 with hopes, in part, of making a little extra money doing something with her hands. But on a larger scale, Martin opened Soap Distillery "because I wanted to see more, if I'm being honest, Black representation in a small-business world. Coming through Etsy, there just wasn't a whole lot of representation out there."

When Martin began selling her soaps on Etsy, she realized she needed a twist on her brand to stand out in the industry. Then one day when she was unwinding with a hard-earned drink, inspiration struck.

"I was drinking an Old Fashioned and I was just sitting there watching TV, and was like, 'Wait a sec, what if I made the soap smell like this thing?" Martin recalled.

And that simple connection was the match that struck the wick for this entire line of booze-themed candles, body oils, lip balms, and more.

"The very first show, I sold out. People were like, 'I've never seen anything like this. This is amazing, like I want everything,'" Martin recounted.

And those personal connections formed in a small-business setting are integral to the foundation of Soap Distillery. Customers frequently stop Martin on the street to share their scent and product ideas.

"I don't have to figure out what the customers want because they tell me, because they know me," Martin said. "What people really latch onto is the idea that this person that runs this business is right there. And with larger corporations, you just don't get that kind of interconnectivity."

To check out Martins extensive line of booze-themed self-care products, visit SoapDistillery.com for more information.