DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The Kalliste soap shop in Dobbs Ferry specializes in gourmet, handmade, organic and vegan soaps, which store owner Marie Labropoulos said is quite different from the usual bar found in other stores.
“Typically soap is made with animal fat, but it’s not necessary to be made with animal fat but it’s definitely a cheaper medium,” she said. “We use a generations old process, which uses natural vegetable oils like olive oil, canola oil or avocado oil and we make the soap in that old time way.”
The shop opened up on Cedar Street a little over a month ago and Labropoulos said there are more than just vegan benefits to using the organic soap.
“It’s a lot easier for people who have skin problems, blemishes, rashes or allergies,” she said. “It’s a lot easier for them to use a vegetable based soap. Animal fat tends to aggravate things like eczema, psoriasis and just ‘rashy’ skin.”
The idea for a store like this originated from Labropoulos’ spare time as she said soap making was a hobby and something she learned from her grandmother.
“It was really a hobby at first, my background is in engineering and there is a lot of science involved in the manufacturing process, but before that it was just something I did part-time for myself, family, friends,” she said. “Then it kind of grew organically through an online shop and a few years after having the online shop and having steady customers coming to it, I decided to leave the engineering field and just jump right in and open up a shop.”
Her first shop was in Scarsdale, but it was eventually closed down when Labropoulos decided to make the jump to Dobbs Ferry this year.
While Kalliste currently does plenty of work in wholesale and provides soaps to 35 stores throughout the country and in Europe, Labropoulos said any future expansion would likely be online. With small stores continuously opening and closing, including the Village Soccer Shop most recently, Labropoulos said times are tough but she’s excited for the future.
“I think in general being a small business these days is scary,” she said. “There’s a lot working against small business, but I think we’re going to make it through and being able to look at the big picture is going to help us.”