Soaps and Spas and Scents, Oh My!

Jennifer Strain was all washed out after being in the corporate world for many years. But after a night snuggled up in bed reading a book on soap making, Strain’s cleansing process began with an idea that had the sweet smell of success.

Good Fortune Soap, a manufacturer, retail store, spa and wholesaler in Chattanooga, TN, is Strain’s one-stop destination for washing one’s troubles away. And the process of starting this small business did just that for her, as well.

“I worked in the corporate world, but was ready for a change and longed for a different career, a lifestyle that fed my mind, body and spirit while also providing a way to connect with and help others,” Strain said.

She began her fortuitous journey by studying soap making and the natural products industry, focusing on all natural ingredients. “The fearless mad scientist I knew as a child took over as I experimented by making hundreds of batches of soap, scent combinations, shapes, colors and more,” she said.

Having spent 8 months in a lab perfecting her craft, Strain finally launched Good Fortune Soap as an open house in December of 2006. In just two days, she sold hundreds of bars of soap and gift sets, with two local gift shops placing orders for Good Fortune’s entire collection of scents and gift sets.

After that initial success, Strain’s next-step was a no-brainer: “Without hesitation, I took the plunge – sold my house, quit my stable job and took Good Fortune all the way.”

Jennifer Strain, owner of Good Fortune Soap

Good Fortune has evolved from the soaps and gift sets it started out on to become a full-blown spa destination and retailer. Locals across Tennessee come to Good Fortune’s Spa & Soap Boutique for massages, organic facials and the make-your-own perfume bar, which boasts over 60 oils and fragrances.

Still, it’s Good Fortune’s wholesale soap that continues to be one of their most popular items, along with The Kiss Me Kit, an exfoliation and moisturizing lip kit promising “serious lip therapy never tasted so good.”

But, ask Strain in hindsight whether she foresaw the success of Good Fortune, and she’ll tell you she’s just as surprised as anyone.

“Honestly, it was a complete leap of faith,” she said. “I was a 26-year-old fine arts major with a natural born drive for entrepreneurship. I had no idea about the market drive, but I knew that I wanted to create beautiful skin care products and make a difference in people’s lives. I’m grateful it has turned out so well.”

Moving forward, Strain is looking to bring her good fortune right to people’s front doorsteps.

“We are working on adding home show parties to our local sales events calendar. This would enable us to take Good Fortune Soap into the homes of our customers so they can pamper themselves and shop in the comfort of their own homes.”

With this convenient, customer-minded business model, Good Fortune Soap is banking on a happy clientele that likes to rinse, lather and repeat.

Small Business Profile