Chelsea Medic ’14 graduated with a bachelor's in communication and a minor in art. She works for DreamWorks Animation, and in her spare time makes and sells soap through The Soap.Bar, a company she founded in Los Angeles. A selection of Chelsea's soap was photographed for the cover of this issue of Wheaton magazine. She took some time between soap-making and her day job to answer a few questions for me about her experiences.
What was your journey to soap-making?
I was working an uninspiring job at the time and really needed a creative outlet. I had watched my neighbor make a batch of soap from scratch a year prior and I really loved the process. I started researching it by reading books and watching tutorials online. It quickly became a business once I discovered how expensive it was as a hobby!
What is most challenging about soap-making?
I'm dealing with a lot of unpredictable variables at once especially when wanting to try a new recipe or fragrance. The ingredients are very expensive so it is challenging to accept that the soap may not turn out very well or maybe even need to be thrown out.
What is most fulfilling about soap-making?
A soap design that turns out exactly how I wanted it is a rare thing, so I like to celebrate those victories. What is most fulfilling though is having a customer tell me that they really like my soap and how it has helped their skin.
Tell me about your favorite soap.
One of my favorite soaps actually came out of a mistake. It's the Ocean Wave soap that has a nice sea breeze scent. The soap batter thickened up too quickly and it turned into a disaster and I was very disappointed in it. But when I went to cut into it, I was surprised to find it wasn't as ugly as I thought it would be. It's a simple design that has now become a best-seller.
Your worst soap-making experience?
Making soap is very dangerous as it requires the use of sodium hydroxide. I was making a beer soap but I hadn't let the carbonation dissipate completely. When combining it with the sodium hydroxide, I sort of made my own extremely poisonous volcano in my kitchen. I was able to clean it up with no burns!
Have you met interesting people along the way?
I like to do craft shows so I've bonded with a lot of other vendors and made friends with them the past year. Also, I’m very excited that a large soap-making company I follow on Instagram has asked me to test out some recipes for them!
Is there anyone who has influenced you in your craft?
I'm influenced by things I see around me like landscapes, art, and food. I also like to follow other soap-makers on Instagram and see how their work can also inspire me. I try my best to make my soap different looking and set apart from others.
What is a day in the life of Chelsea Medic?
My day job is working at an animation company, so I am working with a lot of directors, producers, designers, writers, etc. to get our show made! I work on a really fun show that will be released to Netflix next year. When I get home, I'm usually doing a lot of business-related things like taking pictures, checking inventory, or packaging orders. My husband and I will make dinner and go to any other activity we have planned for the evening whether it's the gym or Bible study. My weekends are usually when I make soap, and any free time I have is daydreaming about new soap ideas!
Are there any ways that your time at Wheaton influenced or prepared you?
Wheaton's community and faith-based education became a huge part of who I am today and how I interact with customers and other vendor friends.
How does soap-making relate to your faith, or does it not?
I'm not sure if my faith directly relates other than praising God when a project goes well (laughs). But I do thank God that I have the ability to have and enjoy a hobby. I'm thankful that God shows me throughout each season of life how my creativity can change and how I can use it differently in each season.