Photo taken by my very talented brother-in-law, Levi Cole. Check out Levi's amazing photographs @ Absolute Lee Photography
Hi, my name is Alisa and I am the maker behind UBU Soap n' Bees. I love making handmade anything and am a tinkerer by nature. I know you expect to hear that I have always dreamed of quitting my day job for the world of handmade artisan products, but my passion and heart has always been in science. I feel most grounded when I am slugging through bug infested woods, pushing through wind blown prairies and floating any open water monitoring wildlife. I have been lucky to have spent two decades of my life doing just that.
Have you ever found yourself asking, "Well now what"!!??
I did in 2016 when a job I was working ended. This was a way of life with the type of positions I held and the day came when I was without work for the first time, ever. Did I mention that my husband is also a biologist? Finding one job in our field is hard, two jobs in our field in the same location is very hard! Admittedly, I was lost. Not willing to leave my family for a new job and wanting to support my husband's career, I turned to my creative side.
I always wanted to take up beekeeping but never felt I had the time. I also did not have land and could not keep bees in my backyard due to city ordinance. I was making a whole lot of soap at the time, a lot more than I could ever use (here's where I do not differ from any other maker). Several friends of mine offered their land up as a home for bees. Those same friends and family started requesting soap bars and telling me how much they loved them. Soon I decided to combine what would be my new love of beekeeping and my creative soapmaking into a mini business.
I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my friends in North Dakota for encouraging me to pursue my curiosity of beekeeping and to continue soapmaking. I have since moved on to Billings, MT with my family. I currently have bee hives in my backyard and out at a friend's place. I manage my bees as naturally as I can, using only soft organic treatments to combat the varroa mite. I manage my bees on foundationless frames and when I have extra honey to share (I leave a surplus of honey for the bees first) I offer it in the form of raw cut comb honey and liquid honey (lightly filtered, never pasteurized).
I draw inspiration from the natural world and weave it into my soapmaking. I love creating products that are not just pretty, but are sustainable and good for your skin. I am an obsessor by nature and spend a lot of time thinking about the ingredients that go into each soap bar. I strive to create beyond basics and hope to provide a soap bar that leaves skin feeling better than when you hopped in the shower. I use a lot of essential oils and by creating special blends, I hope to create a little space of calm for you in your hectic day. More and more we do not take time for ourselves. We need to. It's so important for our mental well-being. It makes me happy to think that a soap bar I made might help others get a few moments of calm.
If you've made it this far, I'll tell you more personal things about me that have nothing to do with soap or bees, because that's probably why you found yourself here to begin with! I am an introvert by nature. I love being alone. I get all my energy from quiet places.
I have never been able to say no to a potato chip, and love cheeseburgers and fries. I grew up outside of Chicago and have a special love affair with Portillo's hot dogs and cheesy fries. I think I am 90% carbohydrate and my Italian background keeps me from saying no to homemade breads, and pastas. I am the biggest sucker when it comes to animals. I am stubborn and compassionate. I have way too many pets and probably will for the rest of my days. It goes without saying how much I love my only daughter and family. My daughter is the craziest blend of my husband and I, and at times it is like looking at a mini version of ourselves yelling back at me. I used to be cool.
Thanks for sticking with me!
~Alisa~Soapmaker & Beekeeper