For most people, buying hygiene products such as soap and lotion is as mundane and mindless as buying garbage bags or toilet paper. This banal process is a stark contrast to the bright, colorful transparency Starkville's new Magnolia Soap and Bath Company offers customers. The store welcomed shoppers into their new location on Main Street last Monday for a soft opening.
Patience Mcree is the general manager of the Starkville location and owns the store along with her parents and husband. Mcree explained that, while there are already many products available for sale, the store will continue to add products to its stock.
"We had an abundance of people that wanted us to open pretty fast. Some of our products require a process that takes a little longer. For example, our laundry soap is about a week-long process. So we are definitely still in the process of putting everything out, but the soft opening has been kind of like a sneak peak. We still have shipments coming in, but we are fully open," Mcree said.
Magnolia Soap and Bath Company is a franchise based out of New Albany, Mississippi. The company has stores across Mississippi, including Tupelo, Oxford, Jackson, South Haven and now Starkville. Although the first store opened in New Albany just five years ago, the company has plans to open three more stores in the next few months.
Although Mcree and her family are now involved in the business side of the company, they first became interested as customers.
"My family and I got really interested because we were firm believers in the company. We used all the products because it is good for all skin conditions," Mcree said.
Mcree explained she and her family have been overwhelmed by the response of the Starkville community.
"It has been doing great. We have had an outpour of support from locals and college kids. We have had so many people who are curious about their products and want to see a healthier version of themselves and of their families. We have something for everyone- from zero to 110," Mcree said.
Magnolia Soap and Bath Company was started by Magen Bynum. Along with owning a nail boutique, Bynum was caring for her young daughter who had a skin condition. Frustrated by the failure of commercial products for her daughter's skin, Bynum decided to start making products for her daughter that were free from chemicals and preservatives. Although the company has grown much from that day, the mission to deliver safe, effective skincare has remained foundational to each of the stores.
"Nowadays, people want to know what is in their products because for years we have been lied to and told dangerous products were good for us. We are a company that wants to tell you what's in our products. From opening to close we will make everything in front of you right here in the store. We want you to see us and see that we are not adding anything behind your back," Mcree said.
Summer Hill, a junior majoring in fashion design and merchandising, visited the store for the first time last week after their soft opening. Hill appreciated the transparency of the company in regards to what is in their products and how they are made.
"I'm really excited because I try to be as sustainable as I can, so locally made, natural, plastic-free bath products are right up my alley. Everything is priced really well and smells amazing," Hill said.
Katelyn Mathis, a senior psychology major, also visited the store last week. Mathis has been to other locations of Magnolia Soap and Bath Company but is looking forward to having a location here in Starkville.
"I've shopped with them before in some of their other locations, and I absolutely loved their products. The staff there was super nice, super helpful. I think they're gonna do great in Starkville," Mathis said.
In their effort to accommodate all customers, Mcree explained they are more than willing to personalize any of their products. They also host bath bomb parties, where participants learn how to make their own bath bombs which they take home with them as party favors.
Between bath bombs, soaps, body butters, facial wash, laundry detergent and fifty unique scents, Magnolia Soap and Bath Company offer a wide range of products suitable for any and all Starkville citizens.