Maine Island Soap
Small-batch soap for big-time health
Many of Maine Island Soap’s products sound like they could be delicacies: The Hadley Point Lavender Seaweed might be the name of a specialty latte, the Washington County Blueberry Swirl sounds like a homemade scoop of local ice cream, and the Damariscotta Pumpkin Spice calls to mind the image of a warm buttered muffin. The resemblance isn’t a coincidence—as with the aforementioned edible items, you could also eat these bars of handmade vegan soap. Each is made with kitchen staples such as olive, coconut, and soy oil; organic herbs, spices, and seaweeds; and minimal additional ingredients.
Environment-conscious owners Christina and Russ Fye believe in preserving the land and, in their words, “living a natural lifestyle with as little impact to the environment as possible.” Christina, the soapmaker of the pair, practices these fundamental values in the soap’s production.
Maine Island Soap uses a cold process, a combination of scientific steps that allows lye, a chemical necessary for soapmaking, to be removed completely by the time the final product is ready, resulting in a chemical-free soap. The natural soaps, which Christina makes in their garage-turned-soapmaking-room, contain no synthetic fragrances or artificial ingredients.
The soapmaker enjoys educating her customers about the company’s products, the process, and the benefits of choosing natural over chemical. Customers often wonder, for example, why Maine Island’s blueberry soap isn’t blue and doesn’t smell like blueberries.
“There isn’t a natural scent for blueberry, so we just use the natural blueberry fiber, which is usually dried blueberries,” says the couple. For their soaps that do feature a natural scent, such as the Cadillac Mountain Morning Mint, distilled essential oils are used to achieve the signature aromas.
The Fyes weren’t always in the soapmaking business, but their past experiences make them well-balanced business partners. With a background in marketing, Russ manages the company’s website and marketing responsibilities. Christina, on the other hand, has a healthcare background and used to make soap as a hobby.
At a friend’s urging, she brought her soap to a craft fair to sell it for the first time, where she met the then-owner of Maine Island Soap, who started the company back in 1984 in the Deer Isle area. The two kept in touch, and eventually the Fyes were offered to take over as owners of the business.
“I feel drawn to helping others and making them feel better. I guess that is what intrigued me the most about our soap company. I feel good about making a product that I know is not harmful,” Christina says.