KMLF Spotlight: Suds and Stitches

Published 8:56 am Monday, April 9, 2018

It’s common knowledge that most people enjoy a nice, relaxing shower or bath. With this week’s Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival spotlight, Suds and Stitches, KMLF attendees will be able to take home local, handmade products for their bathing needs.

Based in Harlan County, owner and operator of Suds and Stitches, Debra Denise Cornett, has been making soaps for nine years.

Her desire to create her own soaps stemmed from liking to use products that are as natural as possible and finding that average soap products are too harsh for her skin.

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“I love knowing what goes into my soap, and knowing that it pampers my skin. Since skin is the largest organ in our bodies, responsible for a very important task, what I put on it is very important to me, but I guess that’s actually why I continue to be a soap maker,” said Cornett.

Soaps aren’t the only thing that Cornett produces. She “loves all things bath and body” and makes everything ranging from scrubs, lip balm, bath bombs, lotions, lotion bars, bath teas, milk baths and bath salts.

Cornett also spoke on what makes the homemade soap market a draw for consumers.

“People want to be able to read what is on the label, and control what they put on their skin. Homemade soaps are gentle enough to be used by all, while still being a wonderful cleaning agent. Soap is one of those products that you don’t have to use for four weeks before seeing the results — you can feel the difference the first time you use it…For many people it’s all they can use, and it keeps problems like eczema and psoriasis at bay. Even if you don’t suffer from skin conditions, homemade soaps leave your skin happier and more moisturized. That’s the appeal.”

Cornett describes making soap as a very involved process.

“Putting together a batch of soap is like making a cake or some other recipe where you have to gather and weigh your ingredients very carefully. It involves mixing, measuring and experimenting, so it combines a little science with basic cooking skills…It does requires some special equipment, knowledge about the different oils and their properties, and patience because a batch of soap then has to cure for four to six weeks; but it is very rewarding to make something that you can feel good about using, and offering to others,” she said.

While this is not Suds and Stitches’ first appearance at the KMLF, it is their first appearance in a few years.