Finn Knows Soap, a local crafter of fine artisan soaps, is celebrating the grand opening of their brick-and-mortar store at 30 N. Water, which officially opened last weekend.
Husband and wife owners Rudy Peinhaupt and Jen Fertig say that they didn’t imagine that this would be the trajectory they’d be on for a company that didn’t exist even two years ago, but the desire for hand-crafted skincare and hygiene products is catching on so quickly that they’ve barely been able to keep up.
The company has gained notoriety locally for its consistent presence at the Sapulpa Main Street Route 66 Farmers Market and has grown from there. “What started off with Jen, basically making one bar soap and selling that to family and friends,” Peinhaupt said, “has blossomed into a whole line of things and in four stores in Oklahoma, and a new brick-and-mortar store.”
“I handcraft all of the soaps, lotions, bath bombs, sugar, scrubs, our men’s line, lip balm, shower steamers,” Fertig said. “The list goes on and on, and now we have shampoo bars and conditioner. So with this new location, we’re able to grow.”
Fertig says the idea started on something of a whim while watching a YouTube video on making your own soap. “I thought, ‘I could do this,’” she says. “I just bought like some, you know, small containers of oils and a little bit of lye and just did, two little batches. And then my next batch was like, super fancy. I did a tube and—it was actually a yin-yang symbol, it was half black and half white—and I thought well, I can do this.”
In March of 2020, Peinhaupt and Fertig started Finn Knows Soap, named after Finnegan, a Lab-Shepherd mix rescue dog, with the desire to not only help provide quality hand-crafted soaps and lotions but to assist with aiding animal-based charities, including Sapulpa Furry Friends, which gets a portion of the proceeds from Finn Knows Soap.
“I know myself and my wife, Jen, have always believed in animal charity, and helping animals out,” Peinhaupt says. “We’ve got several dogs and several rescue cats. And they’re often overlooked, they’re stuck in shelters, or they’re stuck at PetSmart in the little cages and things like that. We believe that our furry friends deserve the love and kindness set that they need and want.”
Peinhaupt says that aside from their love for animals, what sets them apart from most soap manufacturers is the level of love and care they put into their products. “We do a lot of research into the oils and what they do for the skin, the hair, the body itself,” he said.
Their desire to partner their soap expertise with other non-profits led to the creation of Avery’s Lemmon Bar, based on Avery’s Lemmonade Stand, founded by a little girl who wanted to help provide for Sapulpa’s K-9 Department.
More new products are coming, the couple says, based on what they’re able to gather from their existing customers, and by keeping an eye on current trends.
“A lot of people are going back to the old-school way of doing things,” Peinhaupt says. “The products that they want are handmade products, whether it’s handmade soaps, the tailor down the street, or whatever. A lot of people are trending more towards supporting local than they were supporting national.”
Part of seeing the changing trends in how people are buying their products happened when Finn Knows Soap began to travel to other markets. “We started doing other events going all around and probably about a 90-mile radius of Sapulpa. And we had people actually follow us to those places,” Fertig said.
“We’re down in Oklahoma City at one of the events down there,” Peinhaupt continued, “and the lady had a boutique, and she’s like, ‘you need to be in my boutique,’ so we’re in one of her boutiques in Moore, and we’re going to be in one of her boutiques in Tuttle.”
The couple says that’s what led to opening their store, and the ability to grow their product line along with it. “Right now, our beard oil [is a big seller.] These guys are loving it and it seems to be different than any that they’re getting anywhere else,” Fertig said. “It’s a lot lighter, shiny, and it doesn’t have a lot of scent in it. It does have a scent, but it is really, really light. So when it’s on your face, you’re not having to smell it all day long.”
Peinhaupt says that the idea behind getting their own store is not only to support themselves but to support the whole community. “When you have a store, you get to meet people that you normally wouldn’t meet in the community—that’s called building lifelong friends. Whether it’s through the parents, and then the kids eventually come back later on is…the key is to treat customers with respect, and kindness, and understanding.”