Welcome Deanna Wallin!
Founder & CEO, Naples Soap Company
How lucky we are to have Naples Soap Company right here in our Community!
Deanna had been dealing with eczema and psoriasis all her life, and her daughter also developed eczema as an infant. Deanna set out to find a solution to treat this long-term condition affecting their family. Read her story.
|Q: What brought you to Naples?||I was born in Hollywood, Florida, when I was 10 years old my family moved to Naples, my father had a roofing business.|
|Q: How did you go about starting your business, The Naples Soap Company?||A: I was working in medical sales, and I wanted to do something different with my life, I decided that I wanted to help other people with their skin care issues.|
|Q: What was your motivation?||A: I struggled with eczema and psoriasis and then my daughter developed eczema as an infant. As a nurse, I started looking around at products that were on the market and I found some resources for products that were natural and organic.I took a space in Tin City, which is about 300 square feet. Customers started coming in and I would talk with them and share my skin care issues, and they would talk to me about theirs, and before I knew it, I had repeat customers coming back because of the natural products, that was really working for them. That was 10 years ago before natural and organic was a really a huge trend. I had repeat customers coming from Boca, Sarasota, and St.Pete. That’s how I ended up expanding and adding one more store, and one more store, and expanding the footprint.|
|Q: Was your plan to start a natural and organic soap store?||A: I had no intention of doing that.|
|Q: Are you a chemist?||A: Not at that time, I wasn’t. But now I have a ton of formulation experience. Everything I learned is self-taught. So I did a tremendous amount of research. I spoke with manufacturers. I worked with chemists in manufacturing facilities and researched their fragrances, percentages, and formulation techniques. We used to manufacture, I had a manufacturing kind of “Willy Wonka” lab that I could mess around with, but our volume got too large to continue to manufacture for ourselves. We went to outsourcing, so now, I have hands-on with every formula that we put out there on the market.|
|Q: When I called you last week for an interview, you were on your way to New York. Do you have a store there too?||A: No, I don’t. All my stores are in Florida at this time. I do have a house in New York about an hour North of the city. That’s where my significant other lives in the summer, so I try to spend some time in New York when I can. Buzz: Here is an honest plug from me. I love the store(s), and the fact that all the products, (anything from head to toe), are all natural, and organic, and all in one store, one-stop shopping. Makes it so easy. Also, I was told that the eczema cream was one of the most popular items in all of the stores.|
|Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant in Naples that you like that you go to?||A: I like True Food Kitchen. They do a really good job with clean food. I have a lot of food allergies and sensitivities so I like how they are very clean with their ingredients. The Local, is an excellent restaurant as well, using all local produce, you know grass fed beef and things like that that come from within the local area, it’s not a chain it’s locally owned.|
|Q: Who is the most interesting person you have met?||A: I think honestly when you ask me who’s the most interesting person I know, that’s my daughter. She’s in her fourth year of medical school at UCLA, and she scored in the 99% percentile on her medical board exams. She’s going into reconstructive plastic surgery. She’s active in Doctors Without Borders. She’s just a phenomenal human being. She’s also run a student led homeless clinic now for four years, and she speaks at different symposiums for the homeless clinics all over the United States. Medical students run these homeless clinics. She has been either working in one or running one for the four years that she’s been in medical school, she does that on top of all of her studies. She loves to travel too. She’s been to Iceland, and New Zealand and in the middle of all of this, She’s doing some surgical rotations at Cornell and Duke this summer. So if you ask me, she is the most interesting person I know.|
|Yes, you’re right, she’s pretty inspirational. Q: How old is she? A: Twenty five.||And, right up there would be my son as well. My son worked in Congress for four years for a couple of different congressmen. He worked on the Hill. He always wanted to work on the Hill, and not that he’s any less interesting than his sister, but he’s back in college right now getting his MBA a really incredibly bright young man. For Christmas he gave me a gift, He’s taking me on a trip to Antarctica in January. He’s traveled all over the world, he’s been to almost every continent except in Antarctic. So he’s a pretty interesting person as well. We are going on a National Geographic Explorer vessel on the ice-breaker to Antarctica. Just the two of us. Those are my most interesting people.|
|Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? other than Antartica.||A: I love Colorado in the summer. I’m actually heading out tomorrow to go to Wyoming, to Yellowstone and motorcycle around. My boyfriend has a motorcycle. I like to be a passenger so I can look around.|
|Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?||A: I do a lot of public speaking and one of the things that I tell people a lot is, “never be afraid to make a change in your circumstance, or in your life”. If you’re unhappy with what you’re doing, and you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve got. So, don’t ever be afraid to reinvent yourself, or to make a change in your life. I think sometimes fear paralyzes us, and it keeps us from moving forward, if people are afraid of failure or they’re afraid of ridicule, or whatever, I think fear paralyzes them, and you know, maybe you just check the fear and take a brave step out if there’s something that you want to do in life|
|Q: What is on your bucket list?||A: Work-wise on my bucket list; we just launched Dillard’s nationally! We’re very very honored and flattered that they chose us. They could have chosen hundreds of companies and they’ve given us that real estate. So my immediate bucket list for work would be to launch one more national next year. And my personal list next year, I’d like to get back to Italy.|
|Q: What is your favorite thing about Naples?||A: I love our healthy lifestyle here in Naples. That’s what I try to embody in my product, we’re a lifestyle, health and wellness company. And I get those values from our hometown. It’s our outdoor lifestyle. You know everyone’s physically active, and social, and doing things outdoors, and they eat healthy. I think that’s really my absolute favorite thing about Naples.|