Metro-East Living

By day, she’s a research scientist. By night, she makes soap.

Neurotic Soaps and "the soap dungeon"

Maggie Wilson, of Neurotic Soaps, used to make the all-natural soaps in her kitchen. That got too messy, so the Wilson sisters were banished to the basement where they mix, mold and dry their soaps.
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Maggie Wilson, of Neurotic Soaps, used to make the all-natural soaps in her kitchen. That got too messy, so the Wilson sisters were banished to the basement where they mix, mold and dry their soaps.

The second annual E’Ville Indie Makers Market will call the Wildey Theatre home Friday and Saturday, with 35 vendors out to share their homemade wares.

Organizer Micah Wall said the focus is on a laid-back atmosphere with food and drink booths, including some that serve alcohol.

“It’s more hang out and talk to the artist,” he said. “A lot of people hang out longer than (they would at) a regular craft fair.”

Soapy sisters Maggie and Sara Wilson will be there selling soap.

Their “soap lab” is in the basement of Maggie’s Collinsville home. Maggie, 32, has a doctorate from Washington University. Her day job is a research scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. She’s long used those research skills and focus in their product, Neurotic Soaps.

The Wilsons not only research what types of oils and clays are best for which skin conditions and outcomes, but they also stand behind the origin of all the ingredients. It’s all-natural, which means some scents will not be on their shelves anytime soon.

“If we want to stand behind our product ... we need to make sure that’s actually true,” Maggie said. All the coloring is from either natural botanicals or clays; and most of the soaps are vegan. A goat’s milk bar is an exception .

Each bar is $7.50, and the sisters are not sure their year-old business is breaking even, given the cost of the raw ingredients.

“But it’s such a rewarding feeling when you test it,” Maggie said, and find the recipe that has the desired balance of long-lasting lather and creamy feel.

Scents for the Makers Market include GeoCentric, Chai Latte, and a neem-oil bar that Sara swears by for eczema and psoriasis. They also will offer a shampoo bar, which they’ve each been using for months.

“We really try to focus on useable everyday objects that are also art in their own sense,” Micah said, citing homemade soaps, clothing, jewelry and furniture. All of the items are homemade and most vendors are from the greater St. Louis area; the farthest is from Kentucky.

“We try to walk that line that works both arts and crafts. Some (vendors) do limited editions and some don’t fall quite into fine art, but not quite craft,” he said.

The Makers Market is “definitely” family-friendly, Micah said.

MakerGirl, which introduces girls to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is putting on a 3D printing workshop for girls ages 7 to 10. They will be able to design a piece, and then pick up the printed piece later, Micah said.

Jessie and Chad Pierron, of Edwardsville, will bring more than 100 of the couple’s travel scarves as well as other travel-inspired homemade wares.

“It’ll be great to be with the other makers, just to make more of those connections,” she said. Jessie grew up in the Collinsville area, but moved to Kansas for a job after college. Now back in the area, she and Chad are eager for their fledgling business to expand into helping other people catch the travel bug.

“One of his sweet spots is trying to help people learn to travel for cheap,” she said.

The infinity travel scarf with a hidden zippered pocket is their top seller, Jessie said. The design, inspired by something she had seen elsewhere, sells for about $40.

“I ended up designing my own pattern for it,” she said. “I wanted to make it not just for travelers.”

Her sister-in-law uses one when she takes her three kids to the park. Keys, phone and whatever else she needs goes into the scarf’s zippered pocket.

And, of course, the passport when necessary.

“I need something to put my passport in when I’m traveling,” said Jessie, “because I’m that person who leaves it in the bathroom.”

At a glance

Here’s the details on the E’Ville Indie Makers Market:

  • When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Wildey Theater, 252 N. Main Street, Edwardsville