ANCHORAGE - Barb Marsh and Janie Taylor were just a couple of stay-at-home moms who wanted to make some extra money. Now, 16 years later, they own their own business – Denali Dreams and their soap products are in almost every gift shop in the state.
“I love being in business because it's like a duck to water,” said co-owner Janie Taylor. “I like the creativity of it. I like the freedom of it. I like developing things. I've loved meeting all the business people in Alaska. They're so fabulous and so helpful.”
The soap company now has four employees and sells up to 100,000 bars a year.
Making soap is an intricate process. “We mix the soap one day and pour it into its molds and cover it and it has to stay warm for two days,” explained Barb Marsh. “We unwrap it and begin to cut it after two days and then it has to dry for about a month after. It takes a month for the whole process, for the chemistry to be complete.”
The ladies aim to put a little Alaska twist on every product so tourists can take a slice of Alaska home with them.
“We have our Forget-Me-Not soap, Tundra Rose soap, Soapy Smith and all the different product lines and people remember that when they take that home,” said Marsh.
Denali Dreams now has more than 30 different kinds of soap, but there are three top sellers that stand out.
“Manly Man soap because people get a kick out of the name and it's a good thing to take to the guys. Forget-Me-Not because it's a lavender soap and it's our state flower. And the third one that's kind of surprise is our dog wash. I think it's because people traveling up here have someone watching their dogs. So they take that home as a gift,” said Taylor.
With business booming the ladies plan to keep making sudsy souvenirs in the Last Frontier for years to come.