Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Old Fort Soap Company

Old Fort SoapIt’s early September and most of us have fared the summer well.  We have a bronze in our skin, sun bleached hair and battered bare feet.  That’s why this week’s Barr Street Vendor post comes at the perfect time.  Old Fort Soap Company is just what our summer-laden bodies need.

Take away all of the chemicals and dyes, instead think all natural, rich and pure ingredients.  That’s what you’re getting when you purchase from Gary Birch and Hagan Amburgey, owners of Old Fort Soap Company.  They want their customers to know they stand behind their product.  Their business began in 2005 when they were dealing with their own skin issues.  They searched for a product that would not irritate their skin, but keep it healthy.  Their search came up dry though, and Old Fort Soap Company came to be.

We both love scent.  Absolutely love fragrances.  This is why we have so many choices,” says Birch.

They also carry unscented and medicinal soaps.  With nearly 80 varieties of soap on their website alone, they also have four featured summer soaps including one called ‘Jewelweed’ to help soothe skin from poison ivy, oak and sumac.  Another summer feature is their Coconut and Shea soap, consisting of (you guessed it) 100% coconut oil and a touch of shea…according to Hagan Amburgey, it’s been a “huge huge hit!”  They plan on having a supply of Coconut and Shea at this weekend’s market. 

I asked Birch, what is it that makes their soap SO great for everyone?

olive oil


“Our Natural Soaps are great for the skin for the following reasons…

1) We use natural vegetable oils that are rich in skin-loving nutrients such as:

Olive Oil– rich in antioxidants, keeps skin looking young and restores elasticity.  Also, scientific reports show that use of olive oil on skin has repaired sun damage and protects your skin from cancer.  It’s also very mild to sensitive skin or people with skin allergies.

Coconut Oil– this oil produces a fluffy, bubbly lather that people love in handmade soap.  The oil strengthens the layers of skin and removes the dry, dead skin cells for a smooth feel.

Palm Oil–  high in vitamins A, E, D, and K which are valuable for healthy, radiant skin.  Helps to produce the rich fluffy lather.

Sunflower Oil–  high in elastin and collagen that has proven to keep skin feeling and looking young.  Rich in antioxidants to heal or help prevent sun damage.  A rich emollient.  Brings moisture back into the skin.

Shea Butter–  Rich in vitamin A and E.  Penetrates deep within the skin to help keep it soft and healthy.

They also use a variety of 100% natural essential oils for fragrance.  These oils are paraben and phthalate free.  Parabens and phthalates are used in most store-bought soaps and have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues.

Old Fort Soap Company isn’t just making soaps!  They have recently started a laundry detergent line and also sell items like bubble baths (aka bath bombs), deodorant and lip balm.  All, of course, are all natural and safe for all skin types. On top of all this, they donate hundreds of bars of soap to The Old Fort and other local community groups each year.

Related  'Tis the season in Fort Wayne

About two years ago I switched to an all natural (and very expensive) brand of soaps.  It has become my one splurge.  As an avid bath-taker and admitted skin fanatic, the difference in using these all natural ingredients was real.  I can’t go back.  But, after learning about all that goes into Gary and Hagan’s beloved brand, I may be ready to make the switch to a local, homemade (and much less expensive) glorious luxury that will only make my skin healthier.

Old Fort Soap Company is at the Barr Street Market every week through September 27th.  The weeks are getting limited, so get there soon!  If you can’t, visit their website for the many locations their products are sold.  There are six locations in Fort Wayne and others spanning from Angola to Indianapolis.  You can also order online.

Wendy Englehart

Author: Wendy Englehart

I'm a pretty easy person to get to know. Some suggested ice breakers include: IU Hoosiers, the elusive Shi Tzu, restaurants for foodies, cooking for foodies, wine and pretty much any kind of music. Oh, and Harry Potter.

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