When you first walk into Shea Rose Soapery, the first thing you will likely do is take a deep breath. As the intermingled scents of rose, vanilla, fruits, and cucumber settle around you, you will be warmly greeted by the smiling face of Patricia Smith, one of downtown Wheeling’s newest entrepreneurs. Her shop, located at 1207 Market Street, has shelves stocked with everything from bath bombs to candles to soap and more, all of which are handmade by Patricia herself.

Born and raised locally, Patricia got into the art of soapmaking during the height of the pandemic, when the bizarre circumstances gave her the free time she needed to dive into the hobby. She had first been exposed to the idea in 2017 by her children, who had been enamored by DIY videos online about making ‘slime’ and bath bombs at home and found that she loved it. From there, the hobby grew into soap and candle making. She began experimenting with her recipes and formulas, doing research on ingredients, and taking classes to truly learn the science behind what she was creating. From there, she began giving her creations to her friends and family members, having them test her products and give feedback. Eventually, the positive support she received convinced her to begin selling her products online.

Patricia Smith, owner of Shea Rose Soapery.

This year, Patricia made the decision to open a brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Wheeling, right across the street from the McLure Hotel. The storefront has opened up many opportunities, such as being able to host workshops, classes, and parties, and has Patricia looking forward to the bright future of her business. She has already expanded with a stall at Connie’s Creative Collective at the Ohio Valley Mall and hopes to grow her business even more by having booths at vendor events around Wheeling, making custom soaps for local businesses, hosting “Sip and Soap” soap-making events, and debuting gift baskets to be sold in-store and online.

Perhaps the most unique and custom product that Shea Rose currently offers is her mother’s milk soap bars – a great option for moms who want to use a more natural skincare option for their new little ones using their own breastmilk. The process is simple, moms bring their frozen breastmilk to Patricia which she then turns into bars and round discs of creamy soap that are ready to use in 4-6 weeks. Wheeling resident and new mom Cassandra Elliott was thrilled with the soap she had made for her son Harrison. “As a new mother, I had read all about its endless healing powers for skin,” said Cassandra. “Patricia contacted me to review the ingredients before she started her creation and after a few weeks of curing, she texted me that my soap was ready. It was obvious from the final result that Patricia puts a lot of love and care into making her products.”

If you aren’t in the market for mother’s milk soap bars, Patricia offers plenty of other nourishing soaps that are made with natural ingredients that include shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, oatmeal, milk, honey, avocado, and calendula. 

So, the next time you’re looking for the perfect soap, sugar scrub, or bath bomb, head to Shea Rose for ethically-sourced, natural products and support this new local business! Shea Rose Soapery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Learn more and shop online by visiting shearosesoapery.com

• Ellery McGregor is a Wheeling transplant from Los Angeles, California. She works remotely for a marketing team in LA and now moonlights as an author for Weelunk. She earned her undergraduate degree in English from California State University Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Since moving to Wheeling over a year ago, she has spent her time helping her family restore an Italianate Victorian row house in Centre Market, picnicking at Heritage Port, and marveling over having actual seasons.

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