Wine Country / About Wine, Food, and Wine Country
Summer / Fall 2006
A Squeaky Clean Calling
Lynette Smith turns a love of bees and the natural world into
a buzzing beauty business
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.