Gladys Solar, owner of Solar Hideaway, gets calls from all over the U.S. – from people inquiring about solar panels. It’s the occupational downside of her last name. Fact is, the New Iberia resident is known for her goat milk soaps and other items in a line of feel good, smell good products.
“It started when I began making my own washing powder to avoid chemicals that are in many detergents,” says Gladys. “Then I decided to make soaps in 2015 and have been making them ever since.”
Gladys, who has been a regular vendor at the Delcambre market for three years, claims her soaps are “luxurious” – and rightly so, given the number of smoothing, soothing, moisturizing ingredients. Made from scratch with a cold process method, the soaps include six oils, goat milk, heavy cream, ground oatmeal, kaolin clay, Tussah silk and other creamy elements.
For Gladys, the best part of making soaps is when she cuts them. “The bars have colored swirls and they never come out with the same design. When I cut them, it’s like opening a present,” she says.
At the market, you’ll find Solar Hideaway’s booth offering 30 to 33 different soaps scented with blended essentials oil. Among the best sellers are: Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Pachouli; straight Pachouli; Pachouli and Victorian Rose; Eucalyptus and Spearmint; Cool Water and Lavender. Plain Jane is one with no coloring or fragrance.
Mild enough for children six months and older, the soaps have been reported to relieve certain skin conditions. “Some have told me it’s relieved their dry skin,” confirms Gladys. “Other customers with children who have eczema have said that the oatmeal soap (with milk, honey and twice as much oatmeal as the other bars) has helped. I can’t make any medical claims, but the soaps have helped me with my own dry skin problems.”
Gladys has made a soap exclusively for gardeners and mechanics. “One man buys two to three of my mechanic soap at a time,” she says.
Three years ago, Gladys extended her line to lip balms, offered in the fall and winter. Then came her lotion bars – a top selling moisturizer for the hands, elbows and other dry parts of the body. The most recent product to come from Solar Hideaway is the wickless candle with a scented wax in a small round tin that is placed directly onto a wax warmer. “It makes the whole house smell good,” professes Gladys, whose personal favorite is the smell of Peace and Love.
Quite industrious, Gladys has been busy finishing the inside of a small shell of a metal building she’s purchased to use as her workshop. She’s outgrown the space in a bedroom where’s she made her soaps for the markets she attends in Berwick, Stephensville, New Iberia and Delcambre.
“I like the Delcambre market, because it’s a well-known event,” adds Gladys. “A lot of people come to it, and I’ve gotten regular customers who buy from me – and it’s under a roof! Also, I’ve gotten to know the vendors, and they’ve become like one big family.”