Rosner Soap Crafts Soothing, Sudsy Bars in Chester

With over 25 years in business, the story of Rosner Soap’s handcrafted, all-natural body products spans generations in Sugar Loaf.

In 1998, Kiki and Yaron Rosner opened their traditional handcrafted soap business in the heart of the artisan village of Sugar Loaf. The all-natural, small-batch soap shop became a staple in the Chester hamlet over the course of its thriving existence, so when the Rosners decided to retire 22 years later in the wake of the pandemic, their neighbor, friend, and fellow shop owner Kat Parrella knew she had to step in.

Parrella opened her next-door stationery and gift shop Merrily in 2015 with the intention of creating a unique boutique for tourists and locals alike to browse a carefully curated selection of products designed for thoughtful giving. Parrella sells home goods, jewelry, books, and her own in-house line of greeting cards and paper goods called Merrily Paper, which is also sold in stores nationwide. As a shop owner herself and loyal customer, Parrella firmly believed that Rosner Soap needed to continue.

 

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Despite it being the bleakest point in the pandemic for small businesses, Parrella and her husband Brian approached the Rosners with a proposal to purchase their soap shop in 2020. The couple enthusiastically agreed and worked closely with Parrella to teach her their honed soapmaking skills as the business transferred owners. After learning the processes, Parrella brought Rosner Soap into her existing store Merrily and has been happy to invest in products about which she felt so passionate.

As for how the transition has been, Kat affirms that “juggling two businesses is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure! In addition to being retailers, we are also makers, responsible for the production of both the Rosner and Merrily lines of products. There’s a lot of moving parts, Brian says, and it can be quite a balancing act on any given day. But we both have a very strong work ethic and bring different strengths to the operation of running multiple businesses.”

 

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With backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business, the Parrellas have plenty of experience in project management, creativity, and multitasking. While Brian takes care of all the organization, soap production, and backend business tasks, Kat lends her skills to creating and running the day-to-day aspects of their operations.

Even though it can be overwhelming at times, Kat states that learning the old-school methods of soap-making from Yaron Rosner was a joyful process. “It was bittersweet when the time came for the Rosners to leave for France and for us to take over, but we will always look back with fond memories on that time we spent working and learning together,” she says.

 

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The product itself is just as special as the people who make it. All of Rosner Soap items are made with simplicity and purity of ingredients, using only all-natural, organic, vegan elements in the production process. Pure oils, organic herbs and botanicals, and essential oils are at the core of the small-batch soaps because both the Rosners and the Parrellas care about what you put on your skin.

In addition to soaps, Rosner Soap also crafts bodycare products like oils, scrubs, and salts with the introduction of some exciting new products this year. In 2023, the shop debuted its new Sugar Loaf Mountain bar, which is inspired by the hamlet’s namesake mountain.

“Proceeds from the debut of this bar were donated to the successful Orange County Land Trust campaign, and we were honored to help in the effort to preserve our iconic mountain for the future,” Kat notes, pointing out that shopping small affected the town in a big way.

 

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Even through the ownership change and new home for Rosner Soap, the business continues to thrive well past its quarter-century career. Not only do customers love coming into the shop to see new soaps curing on the racks and experience the scents in person, but many loyal supporters that have moved away from the area continue to purchase products from the online store.

Parrella says, “It’s all these wonderful people – new customers, faraway supporters, and our local clients – who believe in what we do and trust us to take care of their skin, this is what makes what we do so worthwhile. They make my heart sing, every day.”

Rosner Soap is located within the Merrily shop at 1375 Kings Highway, Chester.

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