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Napa Sonoma Magazine
Summer / Fall 2006

 
A Squeaky Clean Calling

Lynette Smith turns a love of bees and the natural world into a buzzing beauty business

By Carole Dixon

The owner of Napa Valley Soap Company can be found most days sitting in her store making soap. Although she’s had her shop for more than six years, Lynette Smith still takes pride in developing and making all of her own products. Smith grew up in the Napa Valley, learning agricultural techniques from her grandfather. She started beekeeping to pollinate her garden and ease her allergies. “One year I took 150 pounds of honey out of the hives,” she says. “I’ve been stung at least 150 times, and I can’t wait to get to 200. That is how many stings it takes to become immune.”

Smith started hand-making soaps with the honey and beeswax, eventually opening her store in Napa. Stop in any day, and Smith will be more than happy to describe her work. She’s got foaming bath and body gels, skin creams, leg and foot lotions, and linen sprays. A soap made with Cabernet is called Vintage Harvest, but “Sparkling Champagne is by far the best-seller,” she says. Products in her new Patina Napa Valley line are made of local, organic ingredients. Smith’s adopted rescue dog, Soaphia, inspired her “squeaky clean” pet products, whose secret weapon—pine tar from Sweden—Smith says leaves dogs smelling “fresh as a daisy.” If you’ve visited the soap company and none of this sounds familiar, it’s possible you’ve been to the Napa Soap Company, just down the road in St. Helena. Sheila Rockwell, owner of this store, also sells handmade soaps, but with different ingredients. Residents and visitors can rest assured that there is no shortage of sweet-smelling suds in this valley.

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