Soaptopia was born in 2001 as a vision in Jolie Chitwood’s Venice kitchen.
“I was allergic to most bath products like so many people. Pure and natural essentials were difficult to find, so I decided to create them for myself,” Jolie explains.
Her bungalow quickly transformed into a soap shop filled with flowers and natural oils. The buzz generated by friends and family who fell in love with her creations helped Soaptopia grow into the store we know today.
by Leaping Bunny and PETA, the products can now be found in Whole Foods
Markets as well as retailers in Colorado, Hawaii, and even Japan. But,
we will always remember where Soaptopia’s roots are: The Westside.
To showcase businesses we know and love in town, Pardee Properties features a local business every month in our Pardee Spotlight. Founder Jolie Chitwood gave us an inside look at her store as well as her thoughts on being part of the Westside community.
Pardee Properties: What is the concept/story behind your shop?
Jolie Chitwood: I’ve been an allergy sufferer since I can remember. Fabric softeners, artificial scents; it was like my body was a barometer for synthetics. I would start to feel like my skin was crawling. When you don’t feel good, you look for things to make you feel better. Every turn was like, “where can I find something that won’t make me sneeze and break out?” My desire to feel better started my business. I was working in production in Hollywood at the time, and I just started making my own little tinctures, little formulations and herbal remedies to make myself feel better, and that just naturally led to making soap.
PP: What initially drew you to Mar Vista?
JC: I started making soap out of my kitchen in my Venice bungalow and when it was time to open a shop, I knew I wanted to keep it local. When I saw the “for rent” sign in the shop, everything about it felt like a perfect fit.
PP: How do you stay connected to the community?
JC: By being available for classrooms, events, local businesses, and realtors that need to give the perfect gift when closing a big deal (wink wink, nudge nudge), by offering junk free soaps made fresh in our kitchen every day. We create cool and cut bars of soap less than 10 feet from the shelves where they’re sold. It’s also keeping it at a good price, and giving people yummy skin and body care products that nourish the body and awaken the senses while being eco-minded.
We also stay connected by tapping into the creativity and community that this area fosters. Every spring, we invite anyone and everyone to participate in a Build-A-Bar contest where they can submit their own ideas for soap flavors and become an honorary member of the soapmaking tribe. We also partner with local brands, foundations, and non-profits such as CicLAVia, Whole Foods, Gelson’s, and Bristol Farms.
Soaptopia12228 ½ Venice BlvdMar Vista, CA 90066