The Science of Bliss has evolved over the last two decades from an experimental class project to a well-loved artisan soapery. The whole story is a long story, but every step of the way includes women creating beautiful soaps and other bath & body products with only the very best ingredients. If you want to learn more, keep reading.
Pam Smith was a teacher. An educator in every sense of the word. While teaching a unit about pioneer days, she started wondering about mundane things like cleanliness. With long days and such hard work, how did her ancestors even come by things like soap? She started researching how her grandmother made that "good ol' lye soap." And then she decided to make some for herself.
It wasn't long before Pam realized that while her grandmother should be
commended for making soap with what she had available, she herself could maybe use elements that were a little fancier to make a bar that was gentle instead of harsh, conditioning instead of irritating, and still very cleansing.
There's a lot of science that goes on here when formulating the perfect recipe, and maybe I'll tell you more about that another time, but for now, you just need to know that Pam did perfect her recipe and in short order the soap began to pile up. Naturally, she started giving it to her family. And then to her friends. And then to perfect strangers, because really, there's only so much soap a family of five can go through in a year. A funny thing happened next - those people came back for more, and this time they started offering money in return. Pam had accidentally started a business. In honor of her homesteading grandmother and those that came before her, she called it "Mountain Homestead Soaps."
Now I mention there was a family. Bob, her husband, has always been supportive of strong women. And good thing too because they had three young girls that were an awful lot like their mother: Shannon, Ashley, and Cheylin.
Just as Pam was settling into a groove with this very busy, too busy, life she had, something crashed right into her. To be precise, it was a car, driven by a woman who had started her day with several bottles before getting behind the wheel. Ashley and Cheylin, in the car with Pam, escaped with minor wounds, but Pam was flown to the big city by helicopter. Doctors were amazed she survived at all, but cautioned the family that with all the damage, she'd have to relearn how to walk, and the recovery process would take a very, very long time.
Mountain Homestead Soaps all but boarded up the windows.
Years later, when Shannon came home after some college with a daughter of her own (and another girl just around the corner), she found Pam's soapmaking equipment. It filled an entire room of the house. Shannon went to her mother and challenged her: "Either sell all these tools, or get back to making soap." Turns out Pam had rather missed the craft. This time though, there would be no accidental business - they'd be intentional from the start. From a fresh start. New business, new name, same amazing recipes.
Naming the business this time around was a whole family affair. Everyone sat around the dining room table brainstorming words and images and ideas. Pam, with a new outlook on a life she nearly lost, had but one requirement: It must include "bliss." Others said it should focus on nature and natural things - being as they lived in a high mountain valley in Colorado. An aspen leaf was added. And "What about all the chemistry that goes into making everything?" someone else mention. It really is a blending of science, creativity, art and nature. Thus was born, Blissology, The Science of Bliss.
I wish I could tell you that from then on it was all sunshine and rainbow soap bubbles, but life has a tendency to have both ups and downs and the next turn was a real steep decent. Two things happened near the same time: Shannon, who had by now become an integral part in the business, returned to college and Ashley, only 23, was diagnosed with cancer.
For a little while, Pam and Shannon were able to carry on even though they lived hours apart and both of them up to their eyeballs in school papers - one as a student and the other still as a teacher. But once Ashley's diagnosis became clear, Pam's priority number one became taking care of her and her young son.
There were a lot of tests, treatments, and special diets, but Ashley was up for almost all of them. She was determined to go on living her life, raising her boy as a single parent, and supporting everyone else around her as best she could. No one every fought as hard as Ashley Smith. When she finally did have to leave this plane of existence and go on to the next, her mother and sisters were with her, going with her as far as they could and even a little bit further than that. When she took her last breath, the room filled with ethereal sparkles, like invisible flickers of glitter. Now she's everywhere and you'll sometimes see bits of her inspiration in soapy creations today.
Ashley had always said that you have to go on doing the things that bring you joy and happiness. With her words of encouragement echoing even after she was gone, eventually Shannon did return to the things that brought her little bits of bliss and began creating again.
That just about brings us to today. Pam is still teaching, for probably just a little bit longer. Never able to do just one thing, she runs a coffee shop with her husband: He'd also been nudged by Ashley to pursue dreams. Cheylin is all grown up now and makes time now and then to help out with cappuccinos in between teaching yoga classes, which was yet another nudge from her sister.
Shannon carries on building The Science of Bliss with many of the same recipes her mother created so long ago. Her husband is very supportive of strong women. And good thing too, for they have two young girls of their own that are an awful lot like their mother....